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The Pipeline: grooming for the future

Every organization does it.  Well, every organization with a brain, that is.  Just like Matt Cassel was kept at-the-ready, the Patriots have a pipeline of personnel toiling away at various things from film study to picking players up at the airport.  This pipeline of talent is crucial to maintain, especially when folks move on.  Let's take a look see, shall we?

The most obvious promotion to point out is that of Nick Caserio.  As of today, Nick still doesn't show up on the list of Executives/Managers, but has assumed the title of Director of Player Personnel.  Not yet an executive, but getting there.  At any rate, it represents a shift from coach to front office.  Apparently he was bright enough to have snatched the OC position after McDaniels took on HC duties in Denver.  He's been all over the organization, from film breakdown for the offensive unit to dirctor of pro personnel.  Is he the next Pioli?

Bill O'Brien, after a 2008 stint as Wide Receivers coach, takes the reins as Quarterbacks coach.  He will preside over the much anticipated return of Tom Brady and the inevitable franchising of Matt Cassel.  But, is there something else?  Without an offensive coordinator named, one could assume Belichick will take on a more active role in calling the plays while grooming O'Brien to assume the role.  After all, this was the path McDaniels took in 2005 and where did it get him?  Top dog with the Broncos.

With the departure of Dom Capers to a DC position in Green Bay, we are without a secondary coach (assistant Josh Boyer is a possible candidate).  Whether or not DC Dan Pees will expand his role to take on the secondary is anyone's guess, but I don't believe Capers' departure to be entirely surprising.  He was hired under the title "special assistant/secondary coach".  Sure, his DC background with the Steelers gave him some credentials, but the "special assistant" part is what gave me pause.  At the beginning of the season, it was speculated he was there to take over HC duties in case Belichick was suspended for violating league policy in the Spygate scandal.  Whatever the case may be, he was instrumental in grooming Meriweather, Wheatley, and Wilhite.  Let's hope those guys learned from both Dom and their veteran mentors.

There's a few more positions to talk about, but there not yet fleshed out.  I'm sure there'll be more to come, but for now, keep the pipeline flowing, Bill.