Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Belichick, Caserio & O'Shea quick hits
By Mike Reiss
Five quick hits of note from today's conference calls with Patriots coach Bill Belichick, director of player personnel Nick Caserio and wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea:
1. Fred Jackson catches their eye. As coaches formulate a game-plan for Sunday's contest at Buffalo, running back Fred Jackson is at the top of the defensive priority list. "One of the best backs in the league," Belichick said. "I have as much respect for him as really anybody we’ve played." The Patriots see Jackson as a complete back, with Caserio comparing him to Chicago's Matt Forte, who is effective as a runner and pass-catcher.
2. Edelman focusing on pass-catching. Although his offensive snaps have been limited, receiver Julian Edelman has had opportunities over the last month for a few catches that have slipped through his hands, the latest coming against the Packers. He's focusing on improvement. "Coach Belichick is the first to say it – that our job as receivers is to get open and catch the ball," relayed O'Shea. "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. Why Kyle Williams is an important name to remember. The Bills have switched from a 3-4 defense to more 4-3 since the last time the teams met in Week 3, although they do rotate between the two. That seems to suit their personnel better and one player that stands out to the Patriots is defensive lineman Kyle Williams. A fifth-round draft choice out of LSU in 2006, Williams has caught the attention of Belichick, who called him "one of the most underrated players in the league."
4. Rookie Price improving behind the scenes. Third-round draft choice Taylor Price is improving on a weekly basis in practice, O'Shea said. While Price has not been active for a game this year, O'Shea sees good things from the 90th overall pick in the draft. "Behind the scenes, Taylor is working extremely hard right now. 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."
5. More personnel moves coming? The Patriots have shuffled the back end of their roster in recent weeks and Caserio hinted that there could be more moves coming today or tomorrow. On the decision to promote cornerback Tony Carter to the active roster, Caserio cited his improvement over the course of the year. While Carter (5-foot-9, 175 pounds) might be undersized by NFL standards, he makes up for it with his athleticism, good feet and ball skills.