Patriots braintrust back to work
|11.02.09 at 12:50 pm ET|
Just finished up a conference call with Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and Dean Pees. We’ll have the complete transcript up shortly, but here are a few of the highlights:
•Belichick said the players had the weekend off, but they will get back on the practice field on Tuesday and begin working toward Miami at the end of the week. “[Miami is] a team that obviously we didn’t do very well against up here last year. Hopefully, we can be a little more competitive this time around.”
•Belichick said its a difficult decision knowing how much time to devote to preparing for the wildcat. “That’s always a tough decision,” he said. “The most important thing is that we’re sound on it and we’re prepared for it. … It’s certainly a challenging aspect to the whole preparation process.”
•There was some talk about Miami kick returner Ted Ginn, Jr., who ran back a pair of kicks Sunday against the Jets. Belichick said he is the latest in a long line of good kick returners the Patriots have faced this season. “We’ve seen just about every week one good kick return unit after another,” Belichick said, mentioning Buffalo’s Leodis McKelvin and Leon Washington from the Jets. “We’ve seen top returners every week and this is another one. Ginn’s very fast. … Leverage and tacklng and discipline in our lanes and doing a good job of tackling, all of that will be crucial against Miami this week.”
•Belichick was asked the first time he saw the wildcat run, and what his reaction was to it. At the NFL level, he said it was Kordell Stewart with the Steelers in the early 1990s.
•Caserio was asked about rookie wide receiver Brandon Tate, who saw his first action of the season last Sunday against Tampa Bay. “I think it was good for Brandon to get some experience,” Caserio said of the rookie out of the University of North Carolina. “I think there were some good plays and there were some bad plays, just ike everybody else.”
•Caserio said that on the pass that was meant for Tate, the rookie ran the wrong route. “An honest mistake,” Caserio said of Tate, who ended up with one run for 11 yards on an end-around and a pair of kick returns.
•There is a fine line between wanting the rookies out on the field and putting too much on their plate too soon. “I think he’s moving in the right direction,” Caserio said of Tate, who also mentioned Julian Edelman as someone who is in the same situation.
•Caserio talked about why the Patriots bring some players in for a workout at this time of the season. Saying the process was “twofold,” he explained that some of it is to make sure there are players available in case of emergency (a sudden injury to a specialist, for example), as well as players who might be out there who could have a long-term impact to your squad, either younger players or those who still have practice squad eligibility. “It’s commonplace throughout the league,” he added.
•Pees has been working from a booth instead of the sidelines recently. “I think, so far, it’s worked out pretty good,” he said, adding its easier to see the game and the personnel changes that are being made.
•He also cautioned people about reading too much into one team’s ability to slow down the wildcat, saying that each team and their personnel packages are completely different. “It will be totally different with two different teams.”
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