By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com Patriots Insider
FOXBORO - The Patriots hosted both Raheem Brock and Matt Roth this week for free agent visits.
Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio was predictably tight-lipped on the visits. Roth, a 3-4 outside linebacker for the Dolphins and Browns, has seemed a reasonable target for the Patriots all along.
But with the team seeming to be readying for a shift to more 4-3 sets, Brock - a longtime stalwart on the defensive line for the Colts - would fill a different void.
Asked to compare the roles the two players have filled on defenses in their past, Caserio said, "They’ve played similar positions. I’d say their skill sets are little bit different. In the end, you evaluate the player for his own merits and then you just figure out how that player would fit into your system, whether it’s offense or defense."
Caserio is a gifted practitioner of the roundabout verbal stylings Patriots personnel need to pull off to keep from divulging too much (or any) specific information.
Witness his answer to a question about Brock's visit.
"We bring a lot of players in," he said. "We talk to a lot of players this time of year. There’s a lot of information that’s out there. We’re just trying to do our job. The process hasn’t changed from what it is during the spring, during the summer, during training camp. We’re trying to gather as much information as we can on as many players as possible and make a determination if they have a spot and a fit on this team."
Efforts to ferret out whether running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis merely signed his restricted free agent tender for 2011 or signed a longer-term deal also fell by the wayside.
"He’s under contract," noted Caserio. "He’ll be here and he’ll start practicing when he’s ready."
The Patriots are said to be interested in disgruntled Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora as well. Given he's under contract with the Giants still, there was no way Caserio was going to offer a statement on that.