Practice in pads helps in run game evaluation

Practice in pads helps in run game evaluation
July 27, 2014, 2:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- Let the evaluations begin.

For an NFL front office, the process of scouting its own players and projecting how they'll fit into the grand scheme of things is ongoing.

But when pads were introduced on Saturday -- and donned again on Sunday -- a different kind of evaluation was able to take place.

Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio hinted that once the hitting starts, those involved in the evaluating process are given a bit of a clearer picture as to what they're looking for.

"There's a lot of teaching and really there’s a lot of focus on the fundamental techniques as it relates to their particular positions," Caserio said of the early portion of training camp.

"Once you get into pads, then you start to see some of those things, especially in the running game because all spring you can work on a passing game. There’s no contact, the offensive and defensive linemen they really can’t do much. It’s really, still, you’re evaluating their techniques and they’re working on their fundamentals."

Caserio insisted that the evaluation process is "fluid" from May, after rookies arrive, through training camp and into the regular season.

But for offensive linemen, defensive linemen, linebackers, tight ends and running backs -- all those players involved in the trenches of the running game -- the last two days of full-contact work have been particularly important. Not only to them, but to the coaches and personnel staff evaluating them.