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McDaniels a hot topic in Foxboro

10.06.09 at 12:58 pm ET
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Just wrapping up a conference call with coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and defensive coordinator Dean Pees. We’ll have the full transcripts along a little later this afternoon, but here are a few quick notes:

‘€¢Predictably, Josh McDaniels was a big topic. McDaniels worked in New England for eight seasons, including the last three as offensive coordinator, before taking the Broncos head coaching job in the offseason. Belichick spoke admiringly about what McDaniels has done in helping Denver get off to a 4-0 start. He was asked about McDaniels’ age ‘€” at 33, he’s the second-youngest coach in the league ‘€” and said that was never really a factor for him. “It’s more about doing the job,” said Belichick, who reminded people that he was still in his twenties when he went to the Giants.

‘€¢Caserio said McDaniels was responsible for him getting a job with the Patriots. McDaniels was hired by the Patriots in early 2001, and told his old college friend there could be an opening in the New England front office as a personnel assistant. Caserio came to Foxboro, interviewed, and got the job. (For more about the Caserio-McDaniels friendship, check out this story I did on Caserio for WEEI.com back on January.)

‘€¢Belichick also discussed the secondary, saying that group has been “pretty consistent” through the course of the season. “We’ve played a lot of people in the first four games in the secondary,” Belichick said. He also revealed that an equipment problem with one of the defensive backs forced the Patriots to use a specific personnel package late in Sunday’s game.

‘€¢In addition, there was some talk of time of possession, and how the Patriots have held a sizable time of possession edge as of late. (They are averaging just over 35 minutes a game, better than the league average.) Belichick referenced the Miami-Indianapolis game (where the Colts had the ball for less than 15 minutes, but still managed to come away with the win) as a point where time of possession is important, but not always the most important stat in the game. (The same game was later referenced by Caserio when he was also asked about the same topic.)

‘€¢Caserio was asked about linebacker Tyrone McKenzie and wide receiver Brandon Tate, two rookies who are working their way through injuries. McKenzie is on IR for the season, but there’s a possibility Tate could make it back. Caserio said Tate has been “diligent” in his rehab and his workouts, but he remained noncommittal about any possible plans for the receiver this season. “We’ll see,” Caserio said when asked specifically about Tate. “We really won’t know until he’s out there on the field.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Dean Pees, Nick Caserio,
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