Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio spoke with the media today. Here are some of the highlights:
On progress towards a Vince Wilfork extension:
I think we are still working through some things. Whenever we get to a resolution, I am sure, hopefully we will get to that point but we are working every day. There are constantly discussions. It’s on-going and — as far as pin-pointing this is going to be the final resolution — it is hard for us to sit here and say that. Vince [Wilfork] has been a good player for us in our system. He has been productive, he has had some success here, and we want to have him around here. Both parties are working on both sides to try to get something resolved. Whenever that happens, then it happens.
On whether the labor uncertainty plays a role in Wilfork’s case:
I think there’s a lot of hypothetical. You sort of have to have a contingency plan in place. Will there be a new CBA [Collective Bargaining Agreement]? When will that get resolved? There is a lot of uncertainty so it’s hard but you try to plan for: “OK, if the CBA is resolved, this is what he would like to do. If it’s not resolved, here’s what we can do.” There is a lot of uncertainty as it relates to that and we try to prepare as best we can for either outcome. But that plays a role into it, certainly.
On being out on the field coaching during camp:
I think my situation has kind of been unique, even if you go back a few years ago when Coach [Ivan] Fears was out for a two to three week period of time. I was out of the field working with the running backs. I have had some degree of experience in this system. So I think, at this point of the year, I certainly enjoy it, and I think what we are trying to do right now is wherever I can help and whatever capacity that might be, then I’m certainly more than willing to do. I have worked with a lot of the coaches offensively on this staff. I’ve worked with Coach [Bill] O’Brien, Coach [Dante] Scarnecchia. I’ve worked with Ivan [Fears]. So it’s enjoyable, but in the end the whole goal — especially this time of year — is to try to get the players prepared to practice, make sure they know what to do and if I am involved with that, great. However I can help and fit in, I am willing to do that.
On whether he has been on the field because of having so many new coaches on the staff:
We have a lot of good coaches. Bill [O’Brien] has a lot of experience in the system. Chad [O’Shea], who we brought in to coach the receivers, has been with some other clubs and has some experience. Fortunately, I have a little bit of a background with our system and everybody knows that each year you have change amongst your staff whether it’s in coaching or personnel. So I’ve been here for a few years and have some what of a grasp to what we are doing and I think the communication is good between the group downstairs.
On how his role has changed since Scott Pioli left:
You know Chris [Gaspar], some of the things that I am doing, I was doing even when Scott was here. I think what we have been able to do is that we have allocated some of the responsibilities; in the end, we all work together. Floyd [Reese has] a wealth of experience in the league. Jason [Light] has been with us previously so we have different people. Everybody sort of understands their role and we work well together. So I wouldn’t say that it has changed all that much. In the end, maybe there’s a few more things that end up crossing my desk, but in the end I wouldn’t say there is a drastic change in terms of responsibilities.
On whether the uncertainly of the CBA has agents looking for guaranteed pay for clients:
Yeah, you know Ron [Borges], I haven’t really heard much of that from the agents. I would say during the summer here, Floyd [Reese] has dealt with a lot of the agents as is relates to some of the contracts and those kinds of things. But as far as what they are actually looking for, I don’t think anyone has been specific about it because they don’t even know. So it is hard for them to say — well, whether it is guaranteed or whatever it might be — there is uncertainty on the club level and I think there is uncertainty on the agent level as well. Hopefully, in the end, there is kind of a happy medium and a space that we can come to some agreement. But I wouldn’t say there has been anything specific that relates to that, to my knowledge.
On whether that makes it more difficult to make deals:
It can be because I think the agents may be looking for one thing and the club may be looking for another thing. But until we say, “OK, here is what the agreement is and here is what the CBA says,” you just have to be careful about how you put things together.
On what has prepared him for this job:
It’d be hard for me to pin-point. I think I have worked with a lot of very good people when I came in, in 2001. I was working for Scott [Pioli], but then I actually started working for the offensive staff that year so I was working with Charlie [Weis]. I have been fortunate to work with a number of great people since I’ve been here and have been given some opportunities. I just try to make the most of those opportunities. My philosophy is each day to take it as its own entity, try work hard and just try to be a good listener. Look, I don’t have all the answers and I am never going to claim that I have all the answers. I have two ears and one mouth for a reason. I’ve been able to take a lot of different people and being around Coach Belichick, he has been valuable to me. I think Bill and I have developed a good working relationship and I am pretty fortunate to be where I am today and — god willing — it will continue moving forward. Nothing is guaranteed. I know I have a job to do and I need to perform my job to the best of my ability and hopefully that will be good enough.