FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Top takeaways from director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s news conference Monday at Gillette Stadium:
‘Crisp’ workout for team. Caserio opened his remarks by saying the team had a “crisp” workout. The plan was to take some time this afternoon to get re-energized, with players leaving and then coming back in the evening for meetings. Coaches will work with the Saints tape from Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game, which will be uploaded on the computer system, so they can have players prepared for tonight’s meetings. Part of it is becoming familiar with the Saints’ personnel.
Officials’ presence benefits all. Replacement officials worked this morning’s practice (the NFL and regular officials are in a standoff), which Caserio said is good for all involved – officials, players and coaches. “We encourage them to treat it as if it’s a game situation,” Caserio said, adding that there was no difference this year compared to past years (with regular officials).
Koppen – center only. The Patriots traditionally like their interior offensive linemen to have flexibility to play both center and guard, but veteran Dan Koppen has solely been a center since joining the team in 2003. Caserio was asked if Koppen has ever been considered at guard. “He’s basically played center since Day 1, that’s where his comfort level is, and he plays that position well,” he said. “Could he bump over and play guard if necessary? I don’t know. If we had to put him in that situation, we’d see how it goes. But he’s been a good player at that center position for a long time.”
Branch’s ‘good offseason.’ Arguably nothing is more important for a veteran receiver than his legs. When a receiver can’t run as well as he once did, it’s going to be tough to be a difference-maker. With this in mind, Caserio was asked about veteran Deion Branch and how he had been moving/running prior to a recent stretch in which he’s been limited at practice. “Deion had a good offseason. He was here and worked hard,” Caserio answered, before noting that every player is at different stages of health at this time.
Positive first impression from Lloyd. Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd was praised by Caserio. “Since Brandon’s been here, Day 1, he’s done a great job,” he said, adding that Lloyd has put in the necessary time, working consistently to help build a rapport with quarterback Tom Brady in the offense.