PATRIOTS DIRECTOR OF PLAYER PERSONNEL MATT GROH
VIDEO PRESS CONFERENCE
August 29, 2022
MG: How y'all doing? First off, just want to send our condolences to the Jenkins family and the Miami Dolphins family. We're a football family here. We deal with our real-life things that go on here within our family, so I know they're going through something so just want to send our best wishes to them. I'll let you guys start it off.
Q: What's this week like for you with everything going on?
MG: Yeah, there's a lot going on. A little over 24 hours before the biggest transaction day in the NFL, so there's a lot of information gathering. There's a lot of evaluating. Just a lot of communication inhouse as far as what we're looking for, ways we can improve the team, so there's a lot going on.
Q: How do you feel about the roster heading into Week One?
MG: Good, yeah, we'll see in a week here. Preseason's great. The competitive practices that we've been able to have are great and they give you a bit of a barometer, but most teams aren't pulling out all the tricks to win a preseason game, so it's a lot of evaluation. Trying to find guys, put guys in the right spot, so just keep working through it here. Got a couple more weeks for the guys to work on things, improve, so we'll see here down in Miami.
Q: What's your analysis of this year's draft class?
MG: They've worked really hard. Those guys have gotten a lot of chances to go out there and prove themselves. Luckily, we've been able to see a lot of those guys really go out there and compete. I think we've got a good group to work with and hope we can say that about every group that we bring in here, but they're working hard, they're doing a lot of the right things. One thing that's really nice is to see how close of a group they are as a rookie class. To see them all sitting at lunch together, really growing together as a class. That just builds the team camaraderie in the locker room, so that's been great to see.
Q: What's the balance between keeping an eye on the Patriots roster and on other team's rosters?
MG: Certainly that's the tricky aspect of it. It's similar to kind of trying to put your draft board together and seeing where this guy's at around the league and what the value is there. It's the same thing with your players or maybe a guy that you've got your eye on from another team who maybe you didn't have rated as highly coming out of college or in previous years in the NFL, but now this guy looks like he might be able to help us. Now there's a tradeoff, we've got to have a spot for that guy, so there's definitely a delicate balance there.
Q: How much activity do you expect on the trade market tomorrow?
MG: Yeah, that's a difficult one to predict. Everyone is still really, I'd say evaluating where they're at with their guys and can they get a guy through, do they need to put a guy on a roster or look, there's no shot at us getting this guy back, can we find out if there's a market out there for him and can we get something in return? We'd like to have him back, there's just the reality of the situation is somebody's probably going to take him.
Q: How do you feel about where the team is right now in terms of the cap?
MG: Yeah, we'll keep working through that. All those numbers are being crunched and there is certainly a factor and consideration. You know, touched on some of the younger players. There is certainly a financial component with younger players that you bear in mind. We're going to try to put together the best 53 players together here that give us the best chance to compete, not only this weekend but all year long.
Q: Is there a number you guys are hoping to start the year with?
MG: Yeah, we keep those numbers. We've got somebody who's really, really, really, smart who makes sure we stay on top of all those numbers.
Q: Is there a balance of picking the best 53 players and filling out a roster?
MG: Yeah, you can't go to a game with two wide receivers. So, there is that balance there, how you're doing health-wise, experience, leadership, all of that goes into the equation.
Q: How much did this year's draft class choices go into the scheme the Patriots want to run this year?
MG: There's something you'll hear a lot -- 'He's a position fit,' 'he's a scheme fit.' I'd like to think that no matter the player, if the player is good enough, we're going to find a way to use the player no matter what our scheme is. Do some players do some things that are more accustomed to a run game in college or a run game from a previous team, to what they may have to do here. Yeah, but if they've got the skillset to learn how to do those things then a lot of those things are able to transfer from one scheme to another.
Q: Does it make things easier when you see players doing things at other teams that you would want them doing here?
MG: I'm not calling plays, I'm not communicating plays, I'm not executing plays. I'm not Coach Groh, that's my brother and my dad, so I'll leave the coaching, x and o questions to them.
Q: Don't the x's and o's and what the players are doing on the field factor into decision-making?
MG: There's definitely a mental component with every player and we start on that, going all the way back to college, but I don't think that has any bearing on anything that we're doing schematically.
Q: What is your process in analyzing the roster?
MG: There's a lot of, you know, we're talking scheme over here which is a lot of kind of big picture, and then we're talking player evaluation, which is more an individualized skillset. Each player's got to improve each day and we're trying to look for signs of improvement or signs of regression. One way or another to evaluate the player and see how they fit on this team.
Q: Do you think this roster is a faster team on both sides of the ball?
MG: Yeah, I think you've seen some speed out there from multiple guys. Some guys that were already on the roster and some guys that are new to the roster. I think you've seen some toughness out of some guys, but we've got to get everything down so we can play faster. It's great to have guys that run fast, but we got to know our assignments and be able to go out there and execute so that we can play fast. And part of that is that allows you to play tough as well.
Q: Is the evaluation of players more focused on outside players since you've been able to evaluate the guys in house for weeks now?
MG: Well hopefully you know your players pretty well, but look, players are constantly evolving as well. So we've got to take a good look and make sure- the number one thing around here as a scout is to know our team. We can't make evaluations as scouts to college players, free agents, what have you, if we don't know our team. If we don't know how this player's going to come in and what their role is going to be for our team and how well they're going to be able to execute it so it's both inside and outside the building.
Q: Do you have a draft board for guys on the bubble?
MG: We try and track all that stuff. I'd say it's not as expansive as a draft board. You don't know who's going to be available. I'm sure I have wasted hours and hours and hours of time watching players that are not going to be available. Just like I'm sure guys at other teams have watched hours and hours of our players that are not going to be available. That's just the way it goes. Now, in the draft, they're all available. You might not get a chance to take them, but here, it's just the way it goes.
Q: Do you utilize a grading system for guys that might get cut?
MG: All players are evaluated, and we've got to have some way of stacking those players, so we keep track of all of that.
Q: Where do you get that information from to say you've wasted hours and hours of time?
MG: It's not a waste, because you're learning about players, but you're evaluating the player to potentially add them to your team and they're going to remain on a team that they're currently on.
Q: Is there a way to keep track of bubble players at other teams if you're not there?
MG: Yeah, you certainly know some guys that aren't going to be available. They're great players. They're not going to become available. Some are really good players that for one reason or another may become available and we try to keep the pulse on that around the league and have a good feel for what may shake free, but you can't predict it and we're not in 31 other buildings. We're not in those meetings. We don't know exactly who's going to make whose 53-man roster. We've got to cast as large of a net as possible, knowing that a lot of these guys, they're just going to remain with their teams, but we've got to be prepared. Eliot Wolf and Steve Cargile, all the pro guys have put in hours and hours of time trying to make sure we're on top of all these guys to see any way we can improve our team.
Q: What do you like so far about this team that's been assembled?
MG: They're working hard. I know the coaches are asking a lot of them. They're trying to do all that they can to get better. I think they've gone out and competed hard, played physically in two sets of joint practices and in three games. Like you guys have touched on, we've talked a lot about wanting to be a tough team. To be a tough team, you've got to have tough players who go out there and play tough. I've been able to see some of that, so that's been encouraging.
Q: How do you feel about your team's tackle depth and how difficult it is to find guys that can play that position?
MG: I think the second part of your question is the most appropriate. Everybody's looking for good players right now. There's not too many teams in the league that aren't looking for tackles. We feel very fortunate in the guys that we have. Looking across the league, we feel very fortunate and very confident in those guys going forward. It's up to them to keep working here, and I think they've all taken a step under a lot of direction and a lot of hard work from everybody in the building, so we feel good about that.