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Nick Caserio Conference Call Transcript

New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio addresses the media during his conference call on Tuesday, November 29, 2011.

Q: When you guys were scouting Julian Edelman, you knew he would be a versatile presence but did you ever anticipate he would be able to do what he's done over the last couple of weeks on the defensive side of the football?  

NC: You're really not sure what the player can actually do until you actually have him in your program, in your system. He was a situation, he hadn't even played receiver so just from that perspective just making the move from quarterback to receiver, there's certainly a projection element that is involved. I think with any player, when they get here, you see what they can handle. Some players handle more than others, I'd say those situations, like Julian, like Troy [Brown] and some of those situations are unique and I think you just look at your team and you realize that you only have 'X' amount of players that you're going to have available in a week-to-week basis and you try to do the best you can from a coaching perspective to prepare yourself for a number of different possibilities. You really don't know if and when they may come up but you just try to do the best you can and a lot of that is on the player, spending the time, putting the time in, being diligent with his preparation. The coaches certainly have to invest a lot of time on their end especially when you're taking somebody from the offensive side of the ball and spending time with them on defense. There's a lot of work involved, from a number of different people and really until you have a player in your program, regardless of the position you're really not sure how it's all going to work out. Even Steve Neal, going back to him, he came in here, he was an offensive lineman and then we moved him to defensive line and then we moved him to offensive line. It doesn't happen often, but there's situations where guys switch positions or play multiple positions. Whether it's on their own side of the ball, whether it's a corner playing safety or a linebacker playing some different type roles, whatever the case may be. I think it's a work in progress every week and you just try to do the best you can with the players you have on the roster.  

Q: Is it possible that maybe Julian Edelman could have been or should have been on defense all along or is it something that is just an interesting curiosity at this point?  

NC: No, I think it's more of a situation of looking at our team and figuring out how to best utilize the personnel that we have, however that unfolds. It's week-to-week, that's the reality of it.  

Q: He is playing more defense than he has at receiver other than when Wes Welker was out. Is that something you'd look at long-term?  

NC: I think he played like 20 plays on offense the other day if I remember correct. I mean he's played offensively throughout the course of the year and he plays on special teams and he plays in the kicking game. The more things you can do for your team, the more opportunities you have to get on the field. I mean he certainly has a role offensively and there are situations where he's been used. He's played more on offense than he has on defense the entire year, unless I missed something.  

Q: Looking back to 2009, what were your thoughts on Curtis Painter coming out compared to Brian Hoyer?  

NC: Similar from the standpoint that they were both productive players at their respective schools. Speaking specifically to Painter, he played in a pass oriented offense, strong arm, productive, accurate with the football. Playing against similar types of competition; I mean the offenses that they both played in were a little different. Both smart guys, both good arms, similar level of competition, similar size-wise actually from an overall height perspective. They were experienced players, I think they were both three year starters. There were some similarities between those two players, sure.  

Q: As a guy who studies personnel, do you look at the Colts situation and how they have struggled after losing their starting quarterback and use that as a cautionary tale and how teams have to prepared for anything?  

NC: I think every team at some point goes through situations where they have to deal with a number of players that they don't have at their disposal. You do the best you can. You try to make the best decisions that you feel are best for the team. There are still a number of good players that they have on the team. Really outside of two games, you watch the Carolina game the other day – they tip a pass at the two yard line going in to potentially tie the game. Every team is going to lose players at some point, so I think you have to be prepared every week. The reality is you have to be prepared for the opponent on Sunday. There are still a lot of good players that they have on that football team. I would argue that they're probably as good of players at their respective positions as anybody in the league. With guys like [Reggie] Wayne, [Dallas] Clark, whose been dinged there, but with [Dwight] Freeney, and [Robert] Mathis. Every team has good football players. Every team is going to lose players and you just sort of have to deal with it the best you can.  

Q: With Tiquan Underwood, Tom Brady mentioned that the scouting department has been on him for awhile. Are there a handful of guys that you track no matter what? How does that work? How do you keep up with a bunch of guys who aren't on rosters?  

NC: I think you take a big picture perspective. Every year you go through the draft and you evaluate 'X' amount of players. Some get drafted, some don't get drafted but once the draft is over then everybody is in the league. I would say the majority of those players, whether they're drafted or undrafted, they're going to end up on an 80-man roster at some point during training camp or what have you during the preseason. We go through our normal process and during the preseason you realize there's going to be 25-30 guys per team that are going to be released at some point because they all can't make their team. So our pro personnel department we go through this process in the preseason and once the preseason is over there are 'X' amount of players that are on the street and there are other players that hadn't been with rosters. It's a constant process you go through. Some players you may know a little bit better than others because you scouted them heavily in college, maybe there are some players in college, maybe they didn't play as much and come into the league so it's a process you go through on a year-to-year, week-to-week, [and] day-to-day basis. Every team has their short list or emergency type list that they create so that when you get into a situation where you have to bring a player onto the roster there is a pool of players at each position, I would say probably roughly five or six deep that you sort of keep available. It will be different type of players that you researched during the year, whether it's phone calls, viewing the tape from the preseason, potentially bringing them in for workouts. That kind of all sort of fits together. The reality is that number could get pretty staggering if you allow it to, so you just try to be judicious with that process. We talk to our scouts, our college scouts and spend time with our pro scouts and try to keep a ready list available like every other team in the league does. If a situation warrants bringing a player in, then you pursue it.  

Q: The Colts just made an announcement that they relieved defensive coordinator Larry Coyer of his job and assigned linebackers coach Mike Murphy the interim defensive coordinator.  Do you know anything or do you guys know any history of Mike Murphy and how do you go about studying a team that just changed coordinators right before you play them?  

NC: I think you look at their body of work here through 11 games and what they've done defensively. Coach Coyer's been there for a few years now, so systematically they've had some things in place. Whether or not there are going to be any drastic changes, I'm really not sure of that. I think you sort of have to prepare based on the information that you have to this point and once you get into the game, if there is something that comes up, which inevitably there always is. We'll go into a game and prepare and say, 'Okay, they're going to play us a certain way.' Your expectation is that they're going to play a certain way and maybe they come in with a new coverage. It's not drastic, but I think every week teams will make some changes. We'll prepare this week with the information that we have and what they've done on tape and then when we get into the game we'll kind of see how it unfolds and then go from there.  

Q: You guys are pretty deep at wide receiver. Would it be safe to say that with what you have there is no interest in veteran receivers out there at this time? It's more of the idea of sticking with the depth you have?  

NC: I think we'll look at everything like we do every week. We'll go through the week and go through practice and if there's a player that warrants us considering, then we'll look at it. This week is really no different than any other week and that's how we'll go about it.  

Q: When Rob Gronkowski was coming out of Arizona, do you remember what you guys thought about him and were you surprised that he was there when he was in the second round?  

NC: We had a similar question come up last week kind of along those lines.  He was a productive player at Arizona when he was on the field – his sophomore year, I can't remember exactly the number of balls that he caught, but he was a productive player in their offense – big target, good hands. Some of the things that you see now showed up that year as well. You know [when] you don't play a full season, you have to take the information at your disposal about where you think the player is ultimately going to be. In the end, we took all the information and we felt confident that he was going to be able to play at a certain level or at least the level he showed his sophomore year. With the draft, you guys follow it as much as anybody – really, in the end you're really not sure how it's going to unfold. You go through your process. He was a good football player – no question about it. We had the opportunity to select him and that's what we did.  

Q: Will it be a quiet Tuesday or will you have us working with transactions?  

NC: You know there is always a possibility. We don't have anything to announce at this point. There could be something later on today or tomorrow. We're still kind of sorting through a number of things here today. Sorry to disappoint you on that front.

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