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The Big Nickel: Chad O’Shea discusses Taylor Price and Julian Edelman, while Nick caserio talks about finding talent in the CFL

12.21.10 at 4:48 pm ET
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The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots on Tuesday:

1. When it came to wide receiver coach Chad O’Shea’s conference call with the media Tuesday afternoon, both rookie Taylor Price and second-year receiver Julian Edelman were big topics of discussion.

Price has been inactive for all 14 regular-season games, but O’Shea said the 90th overall pick in the 2010 draft is rapidly improving behind the scenes: “Taylor is working extremely hard right now,” O’Shea said of the Ohio product who reminded more than a few people of David Givens during training camp.

“He’s doing what we ask him to do which is go to practice and try to get better every day. He’s got some great receivers, in my opinion, in front of him that he can learn from and if he does so, he’ll continue to progress. All that we ask of him is to keep working hard and I think he has worked hard.”

2. Meanwhile, Edelman has struggled at times this season — after catching 37 passes as a rookie, he only had four through 13 games this year. Included among those are some bad drops, including one he suffered last week in the win over the Packers.

“Coach [Bill] Belichick is the first to say it, that our job as receivers is to get open and catch the ball,” O’Shea said of Edelman, who had 10 catches for 103 yards in last year’s regular-season finale. “Regardless of what the reason is that we drop it, we need to go out there and correct the mistakes. Julian will work hard to do so, just as all our receivers will work hard to catch the ball and get open every week.”

3. Keeping a focus on the job at hand is important at this time of year, and it’s no different for the Patriots. In a Tuesday conference call, Belichick talked about some of he challenges they as a team will face this week.

“I think that’s important for every person, every member of the organization, not just the young players, but all of us, just to maintain our focus, keep our eye on the target, and not worry about anything but Buffalo. That’s really all there is right now,” he said. “Take everything else, and push it to the side a little bit, and try to make sure we do a good job on our preparation, and make sure we don’t take anything for granted. Do all the little things that we need to do, and put all our energy and emphasis into that.

“It’s not all about the players,” he added. “We all can potentially be distracted. Everybody’s job is important. I think that’s a message for everybody this week.”

4. Buffalo rookie wide receiver David Nelson has come on nicely as of late for the Bills, catching 14 balls over the last four games. On the season, he has 31 catches for 353 yards and three touchdowns. He’s a player Belichick knows pretty well — he spent a lot of time with Nelson during pre-draft workouts. And while Belichick and the Patriots took one Florida pass catcher in Aaron Hernandez, he was still very impressed with what Nelson had to offer.

“I think what we saw in the workout down there and the time I spent with him, what he did with Florida is pretty much what he’s doing with Buffalo in this league,” Belichick said of the 6-foot-5, 217-pound Nelson. “He’s a big target. He’s got great range. He can get to a lot of balls, [has] excellent hands. He’s not the fastest receiver, but he’s deceptive and he’s got a good burst and good quickness. They run him on a lot of double moves, stop-and-go routes, things like that. And he’s a good target down the field because of his length and his ability to adjust to the ball and catch it.”

5. The Patriots worked out Canadian Football League outside linebacker/defensive end Philip Hunt on Monday, according to Fox Sports. It’s the second time in less than a year they’ve shown active interest in a CFL pass-rusher — they were one of a few teams sniffing around CFL sack king Ricky Foley earlier this year — and it raised the question about New England’s ability to mine the CFL for potential talent.

“That brings in a little different dynamic, there are certain logistics and rules that are mandated by the league that you have to make sure you comply with,” Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio said Tuesday afternoon. “We go through the procedure; you try to maybe earmark ‘X’ amount of players and do your due diligence and homework on those players. Wherever we can find players, it’s our job and responsibility to investigate that. In the end, you just have to figure out if that player makes sense for your team.”

One team that has found success looking north of the border is the Dolphins, who discovered Cameron Wake. Wake, who played for the BC Lions in the CFL, leads the NFL in sacks this season.

“Every situation is really different. I think your eyes are open to any avenue, wherever those players might be,” Caserio said when asked about Wake. “I think you just have to have an open mind. Cameron, there is no question about it, has been a productive player for the Dolphins this season. In the end, wherever those players are, your job is to find them.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Chad O'Shea, David Nelson, Julian Edelman
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