Nick Caserio does not often speak with the media. He holds his annual press conferences during the draft, to provide some context on the team’s selections and/or transactions, and also is available to reporters at the Super Bowl (which can be classified as an annual occurrence as well these days). For the rest of the year, however, Caserio speaks through his work behind the scenes as the New England Patriots’ director of player personnel.
Considering the continued success the Patriots have had over the last few years, it is not surprising to see Bill Belichick’s right-hand man become a popular name in NFL circles as a potential future general manager. The last organization to knock on his door were the Houston Texans, who currently have an opening at the position. Their pursuit proved unsuccessful, but it once again put Caserio’s role in New England in the spotlight.
Naturally, the topic was a popular one during his presser on Saturday. Of the thirteen questions Caserio was asked, five were about the Texans’ interest and how he feels about it. Needless to say that the answers were what had to be expected: the 43-year-old did neither get into any detail about Houston pursuing him, nor his contract situation (his deal, that runs out next year, reportedly has a no-interview clause in it).
“I love being here, and right now we’re focused on trying to get the team ready for this season. I’m happy to be here and I love what I do on a day-to-day basis,” was the one answer that captured the essence of those five questions best. Caserio did give insight onto other topics related to the organization, however. At one point, he was asked what makes the Patriots unique from his perspective — and the answer is quite telling.
“I think number one, it starts with people, right?” he said. “We’ve got a lot of great people that we’ve had in this building for a long time. I think everybody understands the expectations of what’s expected of them on a day-to-day basis and we’re all here to help and serve one another, and the one thing about the NFL which we know — change is constant, right? The only thing that’s consistent in the NFL is change.”
“What we try to do is really start from scratch each year and try to establish our level of performance on a day-to-day basis,” Caserio continued. “I think the most important thing — and I’ve been blessed and fortunate to work with a lot of great people in a lot of different areas, whether that’s on the coaching staff, whether it’s on the personnel side, on the scouting side or with the players — it starts with the people.”
“We’ve been blessed and fortunate to have a lot of great people,” he added. “Ultimately, it’s about the players and what they do on Sunday. All of us have a small part in that somewhere along the way, but ultimately it’s about what the players do on Sunday and our job is to help serve them and to get them ready to go. Whatever resources, whatever we can do to help the players in that capacity, that’s what ultimately our responsibility and job is to do.”
Caserio’s job, at least since the 2008 season, entails numerous responsibilities as Belichick pointed out during 2017’s NFL Films documentary Do Your Job. “I don’t think there’s another general manager in the league that would do anything that would even approach what he does comprehensively in addition to all the personnel duties. He’s there for game-planning, preparation, practice, game day,” said Belichick. “Nick does a tremendous job for us. Works hard, he’s got a great capacity, and has a very unique skill set.”
The man himself, however, does not see his role within the organization as special. “I would say there’s a lot of people in this building that wear a lot of hats, right?” said Caserio. “My job is to serve and do whatever I can to help the team in whatever capacity that is. If it’s to help with a drill, it’s to help with a drill. If it’s to help the equipment staff with something, it’s to help with the equipment staff.”
During his answer, Caserio also perfectly encapsulated what the Patriots’ culture under Bill Belichick looks like: “It’s not about one person. It’s not about one individual. We’ve got a lot of great people that have a lot of responsibility in this building and they do their job well, so I’m just fortunate and blessed to play a small part in that. I just try to do whatever I can to help serve the players, serve Bill and the staff and serve this organization.”