Patriots

Is a battle for Nick Caserio shaping up between Patriots and Texans?

Is a battle for Nick Caserio shaping up between Patriots and Texans?

The perception outside the Patriots for years has been that Nick Caserio is Bill Belichick’s Igor. Just following orders. No autonomy. Meanwhile — and tellingly — Belichick has always gone out of his way to not only laud his Director of Player Personnel but remind people just how much he does. 

Caserio quarterbacked free agency — the targets, the visits, the negotiations — to the point where Belichick has often been out of pocket when free agency begins. 

Caserio — until the past two years — has done the predraft press conferences. Caserio and Belichick share personnel duties even though Belichick has final authority. It could be argued he is a high-level club employee even without the "VP" title. What’s that mean? It means the Patriots don’t have to give permission to him to interview for the suddenly vacant GM job in Houston. 

Here's the relevant rule:

“An individual who is the primary football executive for the club and who has
(i)                 The primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades and related decisions; and
(ii)                The primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach.
Final authority regarding the composition of the 53-player roster is not a requirement.
Except as may be otherwise provided in such contract, a club is not obligated to grant another club permission to discuss employment with a high level employee if he or she is under contract even in the inquiring club is prepared to offer the employee a position of greater responsibility within the category of high-level club employee. “ 

So here’s the conundrum. The Patriots can — as they did two years ago — block Caserio from interviewing with the Texans. They did the same thing with Monti Ossenfort. 

Why would they do that? Well, Caserio is a longtime valued employee who does myriad things — personnel, scouting, coaching among them — for the Patriots. Losing him will make them worse. The Texans are a very real AFC rival. Getting him will make them better. If they can do it, it doesn’t take much to figure that they would. 

He’d be upset? That concern hasn’t stopped Belichick in the past from blocking.

The Patriots have shown no inclination to be a team that will simply say, “If you don’t want to be here, go ahead.” They haven’t been that way since 1997 and they may not be that way now even though it’s almost impossible to find a more honest, hardworking, by the book, employee than Caserio.

Of course, Houston wouldn’t fire Brian Gaine without a plan in place to replace him. They must think they can get Caserio — who they’ve requested permission to speak with — either because they’ve already cleared it with the Patriots or they are ready to fight to pry him loose.

Weirdly, former Patriots team chaplain and now current Texans VP of player development Jack Easterby is at the center of this. Everyone from players to ownership has lined up over the past few years to publicly sing Easterby’s hosannas but there’s also been a perception I’ve heard voiced that it’s odd to have a chaplain who gains confidential information and insight as a spiritual advisor then passes that information on to the people who make the employment decisions.

If it does come to a fight, can the Patriots make a persuasive argument that Caserio is a high-level employee they can block? And where do all the relationships go?

The Patriots have kept their core together longer than anyone had a right to expect they could. Since 2017, they've lost two defensive coordinators a pack of assistants and they pulled out all the stops to make sure they didn't lose others like Josh McDaniels and Joe Judge. It's what Belichick's always called a high-class problem. Success means other teams want your employees. When other teams get them, those former employees want people they are familiar with. 

We don't know definitively whether Caserio desires the job or whether Belichick would be inclined to stop him. What we do know — because Belichick himself has so often told us — is that Caserio is one of the most valuable employees not just to the Patriots but to any team in the NFL.  

Phil Perry's post-minicamp 53-man roster projection>>>>

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Chris Hogan sees similarities between Tom Brady and Cam newton

Chris Hogan sees similarities between Tom Brady and Cam newton

Chris Hogan wasn't with the Patriots for long, but in three seasons with the franchise, he experienced about as much as you possibly could for that short a time frame. He played in three consecutive Super Bowls and won two while catching passes from the legendary Tom Brady. 

Hogan signed a one-year deal with the Panthers this offseason after he said the Patriots moved on from him, though there are no hard feelings. Now he's working with the talented but inconsistent Cam Newton in Carolina, and has already noticed a key similarity between his new quarterback and Brady, as he told ESPN's David Newton

That competitive nature, it’s there. When it comes time to strap on the pads and play football, their focus is on one goal and that’s winning football games.

Cam wants to win. You can tell that right away from talking to him and being around him.

Newton won the MVP in 2016 and led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50, but lost to Von Miller and that brutal Broncos defense that featured Malik Jackson, Chris Harris Jr. and DeMarcus Ware just to name a few key contributors.

You have to wonder what would have happened if the Patriots hadn't lost to Denver in that year's AFC Championship game. Super Bowl 50 is the only Super Bowl the Patriots haven't participated in over the last five years. 

Hogan had enough time with Brady to notice what made him great, so if he sees that same competitive fire in Newton, then that has to be a good sign for Panthers fans. We already know Newton has the ability to turn a conference on its head, so there's a possibility we see him and Brady square off in February this coming season You never know. 

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WATCH: NFL Films special on Julian Edelman and his dad will make your Fathers Day

WATCH: NFL Films special on Julian Edelman and his dad will make your Fathers Day

It's Fathers Day, and for most of us who love sports, we've mostly developed that interest through our dad's, and Patriots receiver Julian Edelman is no different. 

NFL Films posted a great special on Edelman and his dad Frank and the journey they each went on for the former Kent State quarterback to become the second leading receiver in NFL Playoff history and a three-time Super Bowl champion. 

"I discovered football through my father," Julian said. "My brother played, he was seven years older than me, and my father was coaching him, so I was the kid in diapers running around the practice field and I’ve had a love for it ever since."

The video shows some of Edelman's highlights as a youth football star, donning No. 21 because he thought he was Deion Sanders. However, his opportunities were limited throughout his amateur career due to his size. 

"The thing about Jules is he was really little," Frank said. "He used to come in my room crying in the middle of the night saying, ‘Daddy when am I gonna grow, when am I gonna grow.’ And I said son, don’t worry. 

"He’s fearless, and always had a chip on his shoulder."

As a three-year starting quarterback at Kent State, Edelman threw for 4,997 yards, 30 touchdowns and 31 interceptions to go along with 2,483 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns. The only interest he drew as a quarterback was in the Canadien Football League, while the Patriots drafted him in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft to be a receiver. 

"I said, ‘Jules you just got picked up by British Columbia,’ and he goes, ‘I ain’t going I’m gonna be a receiver in the NFL," Frank said. 

Edelman only caught one pass for 11 yards in college, so he and his dad worked seven days a week for Edelman to get up to speed on being a successful receiver. His dad's coaching style was similar enough to Edelman's new coach that he called his dad, "Baby Belichick."

From catching punts with one eye covered and a hand behind his back to using running routes on tennis courts, Edelman's methods seemed to work for him. 

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