This is kind of buried on the Globe web site with the positioning of Cafardo's and Shaughnessy's columns. Too bad as it's a lot more interesting piece than either - well if you're a Pats fan anyway...
Enduring success is Pioli's priority
By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | June 18, 2006
FOXBOROUGH -- Classical music plays in the background as Scott Pioli leans back in his chair behind the large wooden desk, three computer screens flanking him in the meticulous office.
On the wall to his left is the depth chart of every team in the NFC, in alphabetical order, from the Arizona Cardinals to the Washington Redskins. On the wall to his right is the depth chart of every AFC team -- Baltimore Ravens to Tennessee Titans.
The NFL's 32 teams are aligned in neat rows, top to bottom. Every player has his place on a rectangular white card.
So it's only fitting that the topic of discussion is one of Pioli's favorites: team building.
As vice president of player personnel for the Patriots, the 41-year-old Pioli is in the team-building business. The squad has been constructed based on a philosophy he helped create, along with head coach Bill Belichick.
``When we first came here [in 2000], we wrote it down in our manual -- we're building a big, strong, fast, tough, smart, disciplined football team that consistently competes for championships," Pioli said. ``We don't want to subscribe to the theory that the window is only open for a short period of time, take a run at it, then worry about the next year, or worry about two years in two years.
``This is a `now' society. Now is important. But so is the future. From a team-building standpoint, you have to think that way."
It's been seven years since Pioli and Belichick -- the duo targeted by owner Robert Kraft and vice chairman Jonathan Kraft to run the team's football operation -- took the first steps in their team-building process in New England. Seven years is an eternity in today's NFL.
Only two organizations have had the same head coach and personnel chief working together in those roles for a longer period of time -- coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Floyd Reese with the Titans (12 years) and coach Brian Billick and GM Ozzie Newsome with the Ravens (eight years). The Steelers, with coach Bill Cowher and personnel chief Kevin Colbert, match the Patriots with seven seasons together.
For Pioli and the Patriots, new challenges are always arising in the team-building process.
``There's a natural attrition on every NFL roster," Pioli said. ``Seven years later, depending on when a player is picked up, they're at different points in their careers -- some guys toward the end, others entering their prime, others entering free agency. Those are the things you have to keep in mind; there is always going to be that cycle and motion of players at different points in their careers.
``That's where the personnel job differs from the coaching job. The coaches are focused on this week, right now, this moment. From a personnel standpoint, you have to think about that, but you also have to keep an eye on the future."