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Nick Caserio Interview Transcript

Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio talks with the media before practice on Wednesday, August 3, 2011.

NC:We made a couple of roster moves over the past few days. We signed Matt Light - got him under contract. We signed Chris Morris, a veteran offensive lineman. He's got some experience in a couple different teams. We signed another offensive lineman, Jonathan Compas. He had some experience last year down in Tampa Bay - he actually played for Pete Mangurian. We released Mike Berry and Thomas Clayton off the roster and BenJarvus [Green-Ellis] signed his contract today, so he'll be here and we expect him to start practicing soon. So, that's where we are. It's good to be outside here in the stadium tonight. We'll get through some of the situational aspects of the game - red zone, third down, no huddle, so it's good to be in the stadium and it's good to be outside. So that's kind of where we are right now.

Q:How good is it to have Matt Light back?

NC:Matt's been a good player for us, no question about it. His track record sort for speaks for itself. The reality is, he's going to come in here and he's got a job to do and our expectations are the same for him as they are for any other players. So it's good to have Matt here and we've got a lot of work to do. He's got a lot of work to do, so we're all trying to accomplish the same thing. It's good to have him back.

Q:Because some of these players can't be here because of the CBA, do you get the feeling that they're just itching to get here but they can't?

NC:I think everybody is just ready to play football. So whatever the league tells us we can do, we'll comply with the rules and when they can start practicing, they'll start practicing. I think everyone is excited to be here; everybody is excited to be in the stadium tonight. When we have the whole team here, we'll start practicing, we'll start moving forward and we'll see how it goes.

Q:How important is tomorrow's CBA vote?

NC:We're not really concerned about that. We're focused on trying to get better as a team. We'll let all that take care of itself.

Q:Did BenJarvus Green-Ellis sign his tender?

NC:He's under contract. He'll be here and he'll start practicing when he's ready.

Q:Has this flurry of activity over the last week been about what you expected or even crazier?

NC:You're not really exactly sure how it's going to go. Typically free agency goes in waves. There's always kind of that first week where there're a number of players that do sign. There're still plenty of opportunities to add players to your team. We'll explore them if given the right chance and if there's a player out there that makes sense for us, then we'll look into it. That's not going to change. It's not any different than what we normally do.

Q:Are you comfortable having three quarterbacks on the roster during training camp or are you thinking about adding to that?

NC:We'll add a player to any position that we feel makes sense. The three guys that are here, they're all going to work. They're going to get their reps. I think sometimes you have four quarterbacks and it's hard to allocate the reps, but we'll look at bringing anybody onto the team that we feel can help us.

Q:What's the biggest challenge about making sure guys are getting enough reps in this compressed situation?

NC:There's a delicate balance because you're trying to evaluate all players, but some have more experience than others, so you do the best you can to balance the reps. Maybe it's some of the walkthroughs, there're opportunities to get practice reps or mental reps, whatever the case might be. And then you try to get as many as you can on the practice field. But it's all about managing the team and managing practice and trying to make sure that we optimize and maximize our opportunities so that everybody gets the most out of practice. We've been a little bit banged up on the offensive line, so sometimes you have to balance practice a little bit, but we'll do the best we can and we'll try to get everybody as ready as we can. (On Nate Solder)

NC:When Nate signs, then he'll be here, so whenever he gets here, he gets here.

Q:So would you say talks are ongoing?

NC:Yeah, I mean, these things take time. I mean, it's no different than any other year. So when he's here and he's under contract, he'll be ready to go.

Q:With the new practice rules, have you noticed a change in the way guys are going about their jobs or is it pretty much business as usual?

NC:No, I think it's business as usual. The biggest difference is instead of having multiple practices in a day, you just have one practice. But in terms of what you're trying to accomplish, that hasn't changed. Our goal is the same. I know we talked last week about just trying to be consistent [on] a day-to-day basis, improve the fundamental techniques - throwing, catching, tackling, body position, those type of things. I think that's what you're trying to improve on, but it's not different with one practice, two practices, whatever it is; the goal is still the same.

Q:Is it a lot more important to have veterans who know the system now with these condensed practices?

NC:Yeah, I mean, I think everybody is kind of in the same boat. The players that have played, obviously they have a little bit more experience, but the reality is they are going to be judged on their performance. It doesn't really matter what they did in the past. Maybe it gives them a leg up from a learning perspective, but once they get on the field they still have to go out there and execute their assignments. (inaudible)

NC:We're just trying to do what's best for the team. Our goal is to have as many good players under contract as we can. Matt [Light] has been a good player for us and we're happy that he's back.

Q:How many players can be on the practice squad this year?

NC:As far as I know, that number hasn't changed, until the league tells us otherwise. It's normally eight, so we'll work off that number. I don't think there's going to be any change, but we'll see. There are a lot of moving parts, as there usually are.

Q:Can you talk about Chris Morris?

NC:Yeah, we signed him. He's got some experience. He played multiple positions and started 10 games for Oakland in 2009, so we put him in the mix and we'll see how it goes.

Q:Can you talk about the Raheem Brock visit today?

NC:We bring a lot of players in. We talk to a lot of players this time of year. There's a lot of information that's out there. We're just trying to do our job. The process hasn't changed from what it is during the spring, during the summer, during training camp. We're trying to gather as much information as we can on as many players as possible and make a determination if they have a spot and a fit on this team. (inaudible)

NC:They've played similar positions. I'd say their skill sets are little bit different. In the end, you evaluate the player for his own merits and then you just figure out how that player would fit into your system, whether it's offense or defense.

Q:Without formal offseason workouts, what kind of shape are the guys in?

NC:I think we've got a ways to go. I think the conditioning is improving, but there is still a lot of work to do. Usually when you get to training camp, guys are in pretty good shape. Everybody had different programs that they were on and they weren't under our watch, so it's kind of hard to monitor that. I think the condition and just the execution all need to improve. We've got a lot of work to do, but I think we're headed in the right direction.

Q:Are veterans at a huge advantage in a situation like this?

NC:Yeah, I think so. Everybody gets the same opportunities, so however you perform on the practice field, whether it's during practice, post-practice, working on your individual skill set and your position, if you improve and you show that you're better than the other player, then those are the players that are going to be here.

Q:What new things can be done in an environment like this to help the rookies?

NC: The more time they can spend in the meeting rooms with their coaches, maybe amongst themselves. For example, if it's a quarterback spending time with a receiver or even a running back, calling the play and hearing the play - they need to hear the terminology because it's so unfamiliar to them. So the more they can do that, the more time they can spend…look, the reality is, they have to put the time in. If you don't put the time in, then you're not going to be prepared and you're not going to have a chance to be successful.

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