The New England Patriots overhauled their front office each of the last two offseasons. In 2021, long-time director of player personnel Nick Caserio left for Houston’s general manager position and had to be replaced by Dave Ziegler; just one year later, Ziegler himself joined Las Vegas as its new GM.
Those departures paved the way for a new director of player personnel to emerge. Matt Groh, who previously worked his way up the ladder in the college scouting department, took over — a role he did not inherit all at once, but is slowly learning from the ground up.
One of New England’s recent player transactions seemingly is proof of that process, as was pointed out by ESPN’s Mike Reiss in his weekly Sunday column:
2. Groh-ing into role: When special teams veteran Matthew Slater finalized his previous two-year contract in 2021, Matt Patricia signed it on behalf of the Patriots, a reflection of Patricia’s work in a general manager-type role at that time. Slater’s most recent one-year contract was signed by Matt Groh, which some around the NFL viewed as a reflection of his growing responsibilities as director of player personnel.
As noted above, Groh’s background lies in college scouting. Before his promotion, he spent the 2021 season as director of college scouting. The 10 years before that, he held several roles in the department — always focusing on the college side, rather than the pro game. In turn, he needs to acquaint himself with what is effectively the other half of his job.
It appears Groh is doing just that, while receiving support from the rest of New England’s front office: directors of pro and college scouting Steve Cargile and Camren Williams, respectively, as well as scouting director Eliot Wolf. Bill Belichick is overseeing operations in a dual role of head coach and de facto general manager.
His immediate future, however, will again be focused on college prospects. Groh will be part of the Patriots’ contingent at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis this week.
When it comes to the second person mentioned in that short excerpt of Reiss’ column, his future remains uncertain. Matt Patricia, the Patriots’ long-time defensive coordinator, re-joined the club in 2021 in an advisory role — one that included front office duties.
Last year, Patricia returned to the coaching staff as offensive line coach and unofficial play-caller. However, with New England’s offensive struggling throughout the 2022 season, the team opted to give both role to new hires: Bill O’Brien will take over as coordinator and play-caller, with Adrian Klemm added to coach the offensive line.
Seemingly without a clear job, Patricia recently interviewed for the Denver Broncos but did not end up getting a job with the team.