Though most of Bill Belichick's Thursday conference call concerned the general roster reduction process, the Patriots coach did answer a few pointed player questions.
Here are a few odds and ends.
Seems you're coming down to the wire with OL Brian Waters. How does his status impact your decision making on the 53-man roster?
BB: "I'll just say that, any personnel decisions, whatever they are, we'll always do what we feel is best for the football team."
You praised Jermaine Cunningham early in the offseason. How did you see his improvement translate from summer workouts into the offseason?
BB: "Overall, he's been at a higher level. He came in in great condition. He worked hard in the offseason. He got faster, stronger, more explosive. He worked on his techniques. He worked extremely hard. He came to training camp and with that work and those improvements showed up. It showed in practice. It showed up in camp and in all four preseason games. Just a little bit of everything. That's good. It wasn't just one thing. There's more position flexibility than he's had for us in the past. We've asked him to do more, different things. It's showed. He's had more production."
You have a young running back corps this season. What have you seen from them so far?
BB: "They've all improved. Really, the only experience player we had there was Danny Woodhead. Stevan Ridley played a little bit last year but not much. Shane Vereen didn't play hardly at all; he missed training camp, he missed the majority of the season. Of course, Bolden and Demps weren't here. Kettani was here for a few weeks then was called to service off the practice squad. Really only one player has had any significant regular season playing time of the group.
"They've all gotten a lot of reps, a lot of opportunities. They have a lot to learn both offensively and their role in the kicking game. I think we've gotten a a good evaluation of those players. They've all shown up well. At one point or another, they've all done things. It's a lot different group than we've had a couple of years ago. BenJarvus.. We had Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, that group of guys. The position has turned over completely to a much younger group."
How do you think your team handled the condensed schedule of three preseason games in nine or ten days?
BB: "We did the best we could. I think we've made some progress. We definitely made progress. We kind of worked guys in different stages. Some guys played more in games than others, some practiced more than others did. I think we were able to keep moving ahead."