Q: What do you remember from Victor Cruz coming out of UMass?
NC: He was a productive player at UMass. He had two real productive seasons. I want to say they were over 1,000 yards or close to 1,000 yards. [He has] good size, good quickness. He played really well last year during the preseason for the Giants and injuries kind of curtailed his season there. He's essentially stepped into the role that they had for Steve Smith last season just as their slot receiver. He's been productive with his opportunities. He's got good size, he's quick, good with the ball in his hands, the quarterback seems to have trust and confidence in him and he's done a nice job for them.
Q: What led to the decision of releasing Leigh Bodden?
NC: Every decision that we make is done on an independent basis. Bill [Belichick] mentioned this - I really don't have too much to add. We just do what we feel is best for the team at that point moving forward and that's what goes into our decision.
Q: Is it fair to say that you made the call to release Bodden before you had the final results from Ras-I Dowling's injury - needing to be placed on Injured Reserve?
NC: Like I've said, every decision is done on an independent basis and we make the decisions that we feel are best for the club and it's as simple as that.
Q: You have some guys in the secondary that are definitely not household names - Antwaun Molden is one and Phillip Adams. Can you talk about some of the other guys who have filled the roles that Leigh Bodden and others had been filling?
NC: There are a lot of guys in our secondary that play depending on the defensive package. Those two players in particular both have good size, good speed, they run well, they have played well in the kicking game or have had some production in the kicking game. All those players, whether if it's Kyle [Arrington], Devin [McCourty], Sergio [Brown], Josh [Barrett] when he's on the field, James [Ihedigbo] and Patrick [Chung], they all have their specific roles. They prepare themselves for the game and whatever role the coaches provide for them. The hope is that the team and the defense really goes out there and is able to execute well. We just need to do a better job collectively as a team and just play better.
Q: Ideally, isn't the defensive backfield something you would like to have a little more continuity? Wouldn't you want to have things a little more settled so you do have that kind of continuity for communication sake?
NC: You guys have seen us play and been around long enough. We play a lot of guys and even going back through the years when Troy Brown was playing on defense, you have a receiver playing on defense. Week-to-week we look at who is available, who is going to be healthy and then we implement the game plan and prepare for that game and players need to go out and execute the game plan. We need to coach better and we need to play it better. The more guys that can play together certainly helps, but in any given week not everybody is going to be available, so you go with what you have. Everybody prepares and goes out on the field and they work together.
Q: When you looked at Taylor Price coming out, given the offense that he was in and the level of competition he was in did you foresee his contribution taking a while? Is he where you would like him to be at this point?
NC: I don't think with any player you really put a time table about when they are going to play or when they are going to be ready. Whether it's the level of competition - you can take a guy like Antonio Brown - basically the same conference, maybe a little different offense [and] it's taken him a couple years to get to where he is and he's been productive for the Steelers to this point. I think you look at the player individually and look at their individual skill set. Maybe there are some circumstances - maybe they did things that are a little bit unconventional, like offensively obviously they played in a run oriented system. You just have to evaluate some things and other opportunities, whether it's a bowl game or a workout or a visit or whatever the case may be and in the end, like you do with any player, you try to put the picture together of what you think the player's strengths are and maybe some areas that he needs to improve on at some point moving forward. When a player gets into your program it's kind of a combination of things - when they get onto the field and what they do with those opportunities. Everybody learns and everybody improves at different stages and different levels. Taylor's done a decent job in practice and has had some opportunities in the game. It's a long season and we'll see where it goes.