Instead of coach Bill Belichick addressing the media before practice yesterday, it was the Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio who stepped to the podium. He talked about a number of things, including this year’s rookies, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, and fullback James Develin.
Caserio had some really nice things to say about Develin, praising his versatility, his intelligence, and his work ethic. Develin is one of those guys that will rarely receive national attention, but he works very hard every day during practice, and makes valuable contributions throughout the season.
The unique thing about James is he’s a very versatile player. We saw that going back to last season. He was able to line up in the backfield, at tight end, detach from the formation. James is very smart, works very, very hard. He had a great offseason – there are a lot of guys, but just specific to James, had a great offseason. Really as a player, from day one that he entered the program to where he is now, he’s really improved. A lot of that, he’s put in a lot of time. It’s a credit to him but he’s smart, he’s versatile so he gives you a little bit of flexibility because he can do a number of different things. He can block the force in the running game, he can put his hand on the line of scrimmage and block the force on the line of scrimmage. Like in the Baltimore game, we lined him up out there out kind of detached from the formation, we ran a route with he and [Shane] Vereen and because he was able to execute his assignment, we had a play there. James has done a lot of good things since he’s been here. He’s earned all of his opportunities with his performance and his work ethic.
On perhaps changing their philosophy by signing Revis and Browner:
No, I think our philosophy is the same every year. We try to look at our team, try to improve our team and do what we think is in our best interest. Both guys have been successful in their systems that they’ve played in. They’re in a new system with a new team. No real change in terms of what we look for. Their measurables may be a little bit different but there’s really no change in terms of how we approach it.
If the Seahawks’ success had anything to do with signing those two corners:
No, I think we just look at our team and we try to find players that we think are going to help our football team, regardless of who they played for, regardless of where they come from. I mean, really it has no bearing on it.
On what he saw in center Bryan Stork:
Bryan was a pretty durable player. He started, I want to say, 50-some odd games. He played a lot of football. He played against good people. It’s a good team they have down there at Florida State. Obviously they won the national championship last year. Smart guy, tough, good playing strength, had a good playing style, good demeanor. He did a lot of good things and there was a lot to like about him.
Caserio went on to talk about Jimmy Garoppolo, simply stating the obvious, saying everybody “is going to have their share of good plays and then they’re going to have their plays that maybe aren’t as good. That’s part of the process.”
Pretty standard Patriot talk. But I liked what he said about not changing their philosophy, despite bringing in Revis and Browner. Yes, they may look different than other guys they have signed, but at the end of the day, it is all about improving your team. It doesn’t matter how you do it, if you are in Caserio’s position, you need to make your team better, no matter what. So even though Revis and Browner are much different than past corners New England has picked up, the objective is still the same.