Could Nick Caserio Take On Bigger Coaching Role With Patriots Staff Changes?

While it hasn’t exactly reached levels of “mass exodus,” the New England Patriots are set to experience turnover on their coaching staff this offseason.

Linebackers coach/de-facto defensive coordinator Brian Flores is off to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins. He’s bringing wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea over with him as offensive coordinator. There also was a report from CBS Sports earlier in the week that assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski would become Miami’s quarterbacks coach.

The Patriots reportedly will hire Greg Schiano as their new defensive coordinator. It’s extremely likely coaching assistant DeMarcus Covington will be promoted to fill Flores’ role as linebackers coach. Covington already worked extensively with linebackers in 2018.

If Schuplinski leaves for Miami, there is no obvious candidate to replace O’Shea, who did a wonderful job with wide receivers, especially Josh Gordon, in 2018. With Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson all set to become free agents in March, it won’t be easy to coach up what could be a mostly new set of wideouts in 2019.

So, who takes over? Atif Austin, who joined the staff in 2018, is a coaching assistant to watch. He was a wide receivers coach and running backs coach in his previous stops. Perhaps he takes on the role of wide receivers coach without actually earning the title given his tenure.

Director of player personnel Nick Caserio also could take over greater responsibility on the coaching staff, which is nothing new for the front-office staffer.

Between stints as director of pro personnel and director of player personnel, Caserio spent the 2007 season as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach. O’Shea took over the role in 2008.

“He does a lot of different things for us,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said of Caserio last month. “I’m sure he does more than anybody in the league at his position in terms of his interaction with the team, the coaching staff and the college and pro scouting. He’s involved in a lot of different things and does a great job at all of them. His job description would be several pages.”

Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images

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