FOXBOROUGH -- There may be a lot of names dropping by Foxborough for workouts these days, but Nick Caserio, the Patriots director of player personnel, said the process isn't any different than in previous season.
The Patriots have not worked out any more players at this point in the season than they did last year, said Caserio at today's press conference.
Some basic information first. The practice squad will remain at eight players. And the roster cut will go from 90 players to 75 on Aug. 30.
On the types of players brought in for workouts: "... I actually went back and checked our notes from last year, we worked out the same amount of players at this time in training camp this year as we have in years past," Caserio said. "So, we're just doing our due diligence, we're doing our homework, we're trying to stay prepared, we're trying to gather as much information as we can on the players and if there's an opportunity that makes sense for us, then we'll pursue it. I'd say it's standard operating procedure. The guys that are here are working and they're improving and they're trying to get better on a day-to-day basis so we're just trying to evaluate the market to the best of our ability and have as much information at our disposal as possible.”
On Brandon Meriweather's progress: "Brandon is a player that had a lot of versatility coming out of Miami. He played some corner, some safety, actually played a little bit of star,” Caserio said. “We’ve tried him in a number of different roles. Brandon has been a productive player since he’s been here. A lot of experience in our system, he’s a talented player. Is he perfect? No. Is he working hard to get better? That’s the most important thing. I think the biggest thing is, each year is kinda its own entity.
"The most important thing is you’re just looking for improvement over the course of time and I think Brandon’s improved since he’s been here, and I think he’s continued to improve. ...“
On if Ron Brace is behind at this point?: "Really, any player that's not on the field, I mean they're behind the players that are out there practicing. The sooner that a player can get on the field, regardless of who you are, that's the most important thing. When he's on the field, we'll have an opportunity to evaluate him, but of course you'd like to see as many players on the field as you possibly can. So when you're not out there, you're not getting the work, you're not getting the opportunity, so whenever that time comes for whomever that is, we'll put him out there and see how they do."
On playing the STAR: "It's the inside position that plays against the slot receiver. So there's a number of different qualities and skills that that player needs to possess, so there's a number of players that work in that position here in camp and players that played that position. Looking at Tampa Bay, I'd say Ronde Barber is one of the better stars that actually plays in the league because of his combination of blitzing, his instincts, his ball skills."