After two straight days of meeting with the media, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not hold a press conference. Instead, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio stepped up to the podium to answer some questions.
Here are some of the subjects that he touched on just before the third day of practice at Patriots training camp:
On the importance of practicing with pads
Saturday marked the first day that the Patriots could practice with the use of pads. Because of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams must practice without pads for the first two days of camp. Caserio highlighted the importance of practicing with pads, explaining that it adds a whole new dynamic to practicing. Said Caserio: "Obviously when you put the pads on, you start to get into the physical dynamic of the game and that certainly comes into play..More than anything, just the sheer weight of the pads, it's certainly different from anything we've done to this point so I think you have to get yourself, your body, acclimated to having the pads and the speed that goes along with it."
On any new developments regarding Brian Waters
Much like Belichick was on day one, Caserio was very mum about the excused absence of veteran guard Brian Waters. For three straight questions, Caserio was asked about Waters,and whether or not a he, a contracted player, could be fined for missing camp. "There are multiple interpretations," said Caserio. I'm not going to get into the exact details of it. Our stance and where we are hasn't changed from where we were the other day
On quarterback Tom Brady
While reports surfaced on Friday that Brady took a "cliff jump" in Costa Rica during the offseason, it seems apparent that Brady's mind has been fully focused on football. When asked about the soon-to-be 35-year old Brady, Caserio had a lot of praise for him. "I think Tom is like a lot of players," said Caserio. He's come in, he's worked hard, he has a lot of experience, so I think we're going to go out there and just try to improve - everybody is going out there with the same goal in mind to try to improve each day."
On upcoming joint practices with the Saints and Buccaneers
Even though player development is a key component to these Patriots, scrimmaging and practicing in-game situations is another. Especially when it's with another team. Before facing them in the preseason, the Patriots will host the New Orleans Saints for a joint practice, and will travel down to Tampa Bay earlier to have one with the Bucs. said Caserio of having a joint practice: "I think as a team it just sort of rejuvenates you a little bit. There is a certain element of competition and the speed increases just that much more when you're playing. I think your competitive juices and competitive nature starts to flow. It's another way to look at, there's no better way to learn about the team that you're about to play in the preseason than to practice against them."
On the incoming rookie class
During the NFL Draft, Belichick and Caserio made some instrumental trades in the draft to trade and up select defensive end Chandler Jones and linebacker Dont'a Hightower in the first round. As a whole, the team used all but one of their picks to address areas of concern on the defense. From what he's seen so far, Caserio is impressed with the rookie class of 2012. "I think it's a good group," said Caserio. "They've sort of indoctrinated themselves into the program to this point. I think they're trying to learn. They're coming into a situation where there are a lot of guys that have been here and played a lot of football. You have to come in and sort of earn their respect and find your role. I think to this point, most of those guys have done that. We'll see how it all shakes out here over the next few weeks."