- Chris Forsberg, Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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A handful of leftover nuggets after members of the Patriots coaching staff conducted conference calls with the local media Tuesday afternoon:
* It's been a while since it mattered: The Patriots and Giants -- familiar preseason foes -- haven't met in a non-exhibition game since Super Bowl XLII, in which New York ended New England's quest for a perfect season. Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked if there were any similarities between those Giants and this year's squad. "I think there’s a number of players that are the same and those players are still the impact kind of players that they were four years ago," he said. "Quarterback, running back, offensive line, defensive backs, pass rushers, so those guys are good players -- they were then, they still are. Tom’s [Coughlin] coaching philosophy is the same. It’s been very successful, they have a good balance. They do a good job of mixing things up offensively: passing game, deep passing game, possession type passes, running game and defensively with coverage and pressure – man and zone, they give you a little bit of everything. You have a lot to prepare for. I think those things are similar."
* Bodden's release was independent decision: Personnel director Nick Caserio didn't elaborate much on the decision to release cornerback Leigh Bodden last week. Said Caserio: "Every decision that we make is done on an independent basis. Bill [Belichick] mentioned this and I really don’t have too much to add, but we do what’s best for the team at that point moving forward. That's what goes into our decision." Pressed on if the team knew the severity of rookie Ras-I Dowling's injury, which forced him to season-ending injured reserve shortly after Bodden's release, Caserio reiterated: "Every decision is done on an independent basis, we make the decision that's best for club. It’s as simple as that."
* Keeping Brady's jersey clean: With the Patriots giving up 11 sacks over the last three games, pass protection will be in focus against the Giants. Asked about the Giants scheme in attacking the quarter, offensive coordiator Bill O'Brien noted: "It’s a little bit of everything. [Giants defensive coordinator] Perry Fewell does a great job. He’s been a coordinator in the league for a while now. He does a really good job of mixing things up, mixing up the looks, making sure that he has some different things for each game. Obviously they have a bunch of really good players up front with [Osi] Umenyiora, JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul], now with [Justin] Tuck back and those guys. I could name them all, [Chris] Canty and then obviously linebacker-wise and secondary-wise it’s a very solid group. It’s not just one thing or this or that, it’s a lot of different things you have to be ready for. It’s going to be a long week of practice and hopefully we’ll be ready to go."
* Caserio on Cruz: Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz boasts some local ties as a UMass product and his circus-like catches this season made him a topic of interest during Tuesday's calls. Said Caserio: "He was a productive player at UMass. He had two real productive seasons. I want to say they were over 1,000 yards, or close to 1,000 yards. Good size, good quickness. He played really well last year during the preseason for the Giants and injuries kind of curtailed his season there. He’s essentially stepped into the role that they had for Steve Smith last season, just as their slot receiver. He’s been productive with his opportunities. He’s got good size, he’s quick, good with the ball in his hands, the quarterback seems to have trust and confidence in him and he’s done a nice job for them."
A handful of leftover nuggets after members of the Patriots coaching staff conducted conference calls with the local media Tuesday afternoon:* It's been a while since it mattered: The Patriots and Giants -- familiar preseason foes -- haven't met in a non-exhibition game since Super Bowl XLII, in which New York ended New England's quest for a perfect season.