The Scott Pioli press conference is still being transcribed by yours truly, but I at least wanted to get what I have so far out there for all of you to read. It's hard to get many questions in when there are so many striving to get a piece of the action, so the only direct question I was able to ask was the second one listed here about Weis and Crennel's involvement in the draft process. But here's the Part One of today's press conference:
Opening Remarks: Welcome to Indy. It's good to be back in Indy. People are complaining about the cold already. It's good to be back here. It's a great time to year to be here and it's also nice to be able to walk back here for the first time in I don't know how many years in Indy and not be cursed at by Colts fans. Obviously I'm making progress.
Q: Can you talk about the interest in resigning your own unrestricted free agents and, specifically, Chris Chambers, Mike Vrabel and Mike Brown?
A: We've had conversations with all of our players, including those three and some other restricted free agents, too. I don't know if you saw, but yesterday we got Matt Gutierrez and Kolby Smith done. We've had conversations with all of them, but we're talking to most of our free agent players and we want to keep some of them. That's a big part of free agency - not only going out and signing new guys, but it's trying to hold on to the ones you want to keep here as well.
Q: But particularly those three guys?
A: We've had conversations with a lot of our free agents. You know I don't get into specifics of who we talk to and what we talk to them about. Those are private conversations. That's a great way to start. [Laughs]
More after the jump:
A: All of our coaches have input on the draft process. Our coaches, our college director, our pro director including the coordinators. Something I've talked about here recently... we had a very good coaching staff last year. I think the dynamics have changed a little bit this year where we're now dealing with a couple new coaches that are coming from a system we've all worked in and they're looking for very similar players instead of the old system looking for players to adjust to the system, we're looking for the same type of players. And they'll be very involved in the whole process.
Q: To follow up on that, what made you bring Crennel back?
A: Well, we'd talked to Romeo a little bit last year and his personal situation had forced him where he wanted to stay out of coaching. We talked about it. We entertained it. This year came back around and any opportunity we have with our football team whether it be with the players or the coaches or the scouting staff -- in any way, we're going to do that. Romeo was available. Romeo wanted to be with us. It sounds like a good marriage:
Q: Tight end was always a position of depth for you in New England. Can you talk about this year's tight end crop and Jermaine Gresham a year after losing Tony Gonzalez?
A: It's a pretty strong tight end group. It's a pretty strong draft overall. It's a good group of players and the tight end position, there's a number of players that we'll be talking to that we've done a lot of work on. Tight end is definitely one of the many positions we need to get better at this year and improve the talent -- both the frontline talent and the depth.
Q: Are you putting more emphasis on the draft than ever before with the uncapped year coming up?
A: I don't think I've ever thought of it in that context. We put a lot of emphasis on the draft every year because I think it's one of the most efficient ways to improve your football team. You want to use every vehicle available to improve your football team -- unrestricted free agency, restricted free agency, the waiver wire, the draft. The core of your team and the youth of your team is through the draft, so that doesn't make any difference from any other year.
Q: How active do you imagine you'll be in free agency this year?
A: We were active last year. What happens is sometimes you try to be active and you don't always get deals done. We're going to try to improve our team and supplement the team with free agents this year as we did last year. So we will be involved with free agency, absolutely.
Q: What are you putting the most weight on at this combine -- the interview process, the workouts?
A: It seems to shift from year to year. There's this cat-and-mouse game that goes on, I think, between what we're trying to do and what the players are trying to do in terms of their preparation and the agents preparing them. The interviews used to be a very important part of this process. They're not as important because a lot of the players and agents have spent a lot of money and time preparing for every question under the sun, every circumstance and every stress level imaginable. So I don't think there's any one thing...
One of the most important things probably now is that you can get every one in one place and take a look at them physically and see what their health is like and conduct thorough physicals and have all of the doctors see them in one place. All of the other things have a degree of importance, but as this thing has changed, the players and the agents have taught themselves that they need to prepare for this event.
Q: Because of that, do you think there's less authenticity in the interviews?
A: It depends on the individual. There's a number of interviews where you get the authentic individual and you get the real person. Then there are ones that are scripted. That becomes a part of the process that you have to filter through and sift through as much of that as you can. Many other times of the year and the season are more important in getting to know the players and who they are. I don't think they're trying to be duplicitous in any way with intentional malice. They're trying to look good. That's their job.