The seemingly annual “Will he or will he not?” It’s over: Nick Caserio is finally going to abandon the New England Patriots to take another chance elsewhere. The consequences of his decision to become the next general manager of the Houston Texans will not become fully apparent until far farther down the road, if at all, but there is one thing we already know now.
With a large pair of shoes to fill, Caserio leaves the Patriots. Well, he’s probably leaving them with more than just one unoccupied pair, really. After all, the 45-year-old apparently did it all during his two decades in New England.
Caserio worked his way up the corporate ladder, jumping between coaching and executive personnel, beginning as a staff assistant in 2001. Before switching to area scouts a year later, he served as an offensive coaching assistant in 2002. He served as director of pro staff between 2004 and 2006, but in 2007 he took over as wide receivers coach. He was subsequently named Director of Player Personnel in 2008.
For 13 years, Caserio kept that role-an eternity by NFL standards. That said, as his titular job description made it seem, it was not as straightforward. The role of “director of player staff” did not do justice to all the work inside the organization he did.
For one, he was the de facto general manager of the Patriots and, as such, the right-hand man of Bill Belichick’s head coach/general manager. He was responsible for setting up signings and transactions for free agents, and while Belichick had final say on decisions, he thus played an instrumental role in building the year-in and year-out roster.
Furthermore, Caserio oversaw the team’s scouting teams on both the pro and the college level. This included visiting and figuring out new opportunities for free organizations, sometimes using his history as a John Carroll college quarterback to hold such meetings. And to be actively involved in training for the pre-draft. Images from the Patriots’ draft day process behind the scenes still depict him as part of the otherwise relatively tiny war room.
Caserio was also closely involved with the coaching side, in addition to all those duties. During game day, he sat in the coaches’ booth and was in the ear of offensive coordinator and former college teammate Josh McDaniels’ headset, and was also frequently seen on the fields of practice.
Dave Ziegler, assistant director of player personnel, tends to be the leading contender to take over for Caserio, although there are still other candidates. But no matter who ends up taking the role, one thing is certain, irrespective of whether he will take the same path or have the same effect.
It will be a tall task for those concerned to replace Nick Caserio and what he meant to the Patriots organization. It has been set up this way by his tireless work ethic and achievement over the last 20 years, just as Bill Belichick likes it.