Meet the man who perhaps is most responsible for Patriots’ success besides Bill Belichick


ATLANTA — The Patriots have been to four Super Bowls in the last five years. 

When it comes to who gets the credit, it’s obviously Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but there’s a man who often gets lost in it all — director of player personnel Nick Caserio.

Caserio has served in this role since 2008 and he’s been given more responsibility as the years have gone on. He’s heavily involved in all facets of the organization. Draft, free agency, trades, roster construction, even being on the practice field the week of games — Caserio does it all.

The Patriots value him so much they blocked the Texans’ request to interview him for their GM position last year at this time.

Last year, Belichick said no one around the league in his role does as much as him.

“Nick does a great job and he has a great interaction and understanding of what’s going on on the coaching side of it,” Belichick said. “Yeah, so, he’s involved in the day-to-day coaching part of it. He’s certainly involved in all of the personnel aspects of his job, college, pro, free agent workouts, waiver, everything. But you throw all of the coaching stuff on top of that, the week-to-week role in the press box and on the practice field.

“I mean, he does a tremendous amount. I can’t think of any other personnel person that would even come close to that. I don’t know who it would be. I don’t know what everybody else does, but I don’t know anybody.”

Off of what Belichick said, what exactly does Caserio do on a day-to-day basis? asked him during a rare interview at Patriots media availability on Thursday.

“I am flattered that Bill feels that way,” he said. “I’ve just tried to serve him as best I can and this organization. There’s a lot of people that have a lot of responsibility with things on a daily basis. My philosophy is to do the best I can and maximize the time that I have to help this team and this organization have the most successful that it can. Everybody has a lot of work to do on a day-to-day basis and you just try and balance out what is important and what maybe you can move to at a different point. 

“I am grateful that Bill has given me the responsibilities that he has and part of what enables me to do my job is the people that I work with on a daily basis. When you have people that you trust and have a lot of faith and confidence in it makes your job a little bit easier. I can’t say enough about our department and the work Monti [Ossenfort] does on the college side and Dave [Ziegler] on the pro side. I think when you have all those factors and components — a lot of people have their hand in the team’s success.”

Caserio’s role certainly has evolved over the years, as Belichick has noted on multiple occasions he is the one that deals with other teams around the trade deadline, and even a good amount during free agency. This certainly helps Belichick and frees him up to do other things relating to the team.

When Caserio was asked how things have changed for him over the years, he remained modest.

“You’d probably have to ask some other folks around me,” he said. “I think I have evolved. I have three kids now, three girls. I probably have a little better perspective on everything. In the end, I am very grateful and blessed to be in the position I am in. I’ll just try and do the best job I can here for as many days as I can.”

As Belichick said, Caserio is on the practice field every single day, which is extremely unusual for someone in his role. It’s not like he’s standing at one end of the field standing there with his arms folded, either. He’s involved in everything, even showing off his throwing arm that played quarterback at John Carroll University with current offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and director of pro scouting Dave Ziegler.

“I think it’s great just to observe the team and you’re listening more than talking,” he said. “You’re trying to take the information and if it is something you can articulate to the staff with a real life example so when you’re talking about a player you can say well, ‘OK, this is important and here is an example why.’ I think it helps the flow of information from our coaching staff to our staff so the fact they have enough confidence around the player and the team. 

“I try and stay in the background and out of the way and really listen more than anything else and observe. If there is something that I pick up and it helps us overall then it is worth while.”

While Caserio certainly isn’t at the same level of Belichick, he’s closer to it than he gets credit for when it comes to the overall success of the organization. Part of this is because he isn’t seen very much. Typically, the only time he’s in the public eye is around the draft. But, that is how he wants it. He’s not the type of person to want attention. 

And want to know why Caserio is so good at what he does? He’s constantly working. As soon as Sunday’s Super Bowl is over, he will be on to 2019 and getting ready for the combine.

“I like everything,” he said “Honestly, I love coming to work each day. Every day is a new challenge. There’s something different, especially during the season. Each week is a new opponent and you have to go through your routine, but it is a new challenge, a new scheme, new players, new personnel, and when the season is over you start that process all over again in anticipation of what is going to happen for the 2019 season. 

“Right now, my focus is on Sunday, but as soon as Sunday is over regardless of what happens, we sort of have to transition, turn the page and move on to 2019. It’s exciting in itself.”

As much as everyone says it is Kraft, Belichick, Brady -- Caserio really deserves mentioning as well.