Pats change up coaching staff

Posted on February 21, 2008 
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The Patriots have shaken up their coaching staff — here’s the full text of the release just issued by the team:

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots have hired veteran coach Dom Capers as special assistant / secondary, appointed Nick Caserio director of player personnel and named Bill O’Brien wide receivers coach. Capers served as the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2007, while Caserio served as New England’s wide receivers coach and O’Brien was a Patriots coaching assistant.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Dom Capers
“I have known Dom for a long time and respect him tremendously as a coach, particularly defensively. To add a coach of his caliber is an outstanding opportunity for us. I look forward to getting to work with Dom and Dean [Pees] immediately.”

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Bill O’Brien
“In his first year, Bill made a very positive impact on our offensive staff. We are excited about him building on his experience in the system as he moves into his new role.”

Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli on Nick Caserio
“Nick has exemplified versatility and loyalty to this organization. We are happy to welcome him back to the personnel department where we will benefit from his great understanding of our program.”

Dom Capers is a veteran of 36 years as a coach, including 22 years in the NFL, 16 of which have been as a defensive coordinator or head coach. He spent four seasons as head coach of the Carolina Panthers (1995-98) and five years as head coach of the Houston Texans (2001-05). He has also held defensive coordinator duties for the Pittsburgh Steelers (1992-94), Jacksonville Jaguars (1999-2000) and Miami Dolphins (2006-07).

Capers most recently completed a two-year stint during which he had defensive coordinator responsibilities with the Miami Dolphins, holding the titles of special assistant to the head coach (2006) and defensive coordinator (2007). Last season, the Dolphins’ pass defense was the highest-ranked unit on the team, finishing the season ranked fourth in the NFL. In 2006, Dolphins defensive lineman Jason Taylor won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors under Capers’ tutelage as the team finished fourth in the league in overall defense.

Prior to joining the Dolphins, Capers served as the Texans’ head coach for the first five years of the franchise’s history. He was hired in January of 2001, more than a year before the team’s inaugural season in 2002.

Capers was also the first head coach of the Carolina Panthers, and in the team’s inaugural season of 1995 set the NFL record for most victories by an expansion team (7) as Capers was selected as the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Coach of the Year. In 1996, the Panthers finished 12-4, won the NFC West title and advanced to the NFC Championship Game, with Capers sweeping all major Coach of the Year awards that season.

Capers began his pro football coaching career in 1984 as the defensive backs coach for the USFL’s Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars. The Stars won league titles in each of Capers’ two seasons with the team (1984-85). He entered the NFL in 1986, and served a six-year tenure as the New Orleans Saints’ defensive backs coach (1986-91), a period during which the team made three playoff appearances. In 1992, he became the Steelers’ defensive coordinator and served there for three seasons, with Pittsburgh qualifying for the playoffs each year. In 1994 Capers was named the Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year as the Steelers led the NFL in rush defense. He also earned Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year honors as the Jaguars’ defensive coordinator in 1999, as Jacksonville led the NFL in scoring defense (13.9 points per game). Capers began his coaching career by spending 12 seasons in the college ranks, beginning with a three-year stint as a graduate assistant at Kent State (1972-74). He went on to serve as a defensive backs coach for Hawaii (1975-76), San Jose State (1977), California (1978-79), Tennessee (1980-81) and Ohio State (1982-83).

Nick Caserio spent the 2007 season as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach after a three-year stint as the Patriots’ director of pro personnel (2004-06). He is entering his eighth season with the Patriots and his eighth in the NFL. In his one season as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach, Caserio tutored a unit that combined for 292 receptions for 3,814 yards and 39 touchdowns – one season after the team’s wide receivers totaled 156 catches for 1,798 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Patriots’ 2007 wide receivers included All-Pro Randy Moss, who set an NFL record with 23 touchdown receptions, and Wes Welker, who tied for the NFL lead with 112 receptions – the highest reception total in NFL history for a player in his first season with a new team.

Caserio has been with the Patriots organization since 2001 and has served in a number of roles in the personnel department and on the coaching staff. Caserio originally joined the Patriots in June 2001 as a personnel assistant and celebrated the Patriots’ first Super Bowl title that season. During that year, his role was expanded to include film breakdown and scouting report preparation for Charlie Weis’s offensive coaching staff. He became an offensive coaching assistant on Bill Belichick’s staff in February 2002. After a season in coaching, Caserio returned to the personnel department in 2003, serving as an area scout that year. He was named the Patriots’ director of pro personnel on February 6, 2004 and spent three years in that role. In addition to his personnel duties, Caserio filled in as the Patriots’ running backs coach while Ivan Fears was on medical leave during 2005 training camp.

Caserio began his coaching career in the collegiate ranks, serving as a graduate assistant at Saginaw Valley State University from 1999-2000. He was a graduate assistant at Central Michigan in the spring of 2001 before joining the Patriots in June 2001.

Caserio attended John Carroll University, where he was a four-year starting quarterback and a teammate of Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels, who played wide receiver for the Blue Streaks. He left John Carroll as the holder of 16 school records, including most passing yards and most yards of total offense.

Bill O’Brien will enter his first season as an NFL position coach, having begun his pro football career as a offensive coaching assistant with the Patriots in 2007 and working closely with offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels. O’Brien joined the Patriots after coaching 12 seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference, including tenures at Georgia Tech (1995-2002), Maryland (2003-04) and Duke (2005-06).

O’Brien joined the Duke coaching staff after spending two seasons as the running backs coach at the University of Maryland. In his first season with the Terrapins in 2003, Maryland finished second in the ACC in rushing and defeated West Virginia in the Gator Bowl.

O’Brien spent eight seasons at Georgia Tech (1995-2002), and served as the Yellow Jackets’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in his final two seasons. In addition to his normal duties, he also served as an assistant head coach in 2002 and was Georgia Tech’s recruiting coordinator from 1999-2000. He spent his first three seasons at Georgia Tech as an offensive graduate assistant (1995-97) before beginning a three-year stint as the Yellow Jackets’ running backs coach (1998-2000). In each of O’Brien’s three seasons coaching the running backs, Georgia Tech finished no lower than third in the conference in rushing. During his two-year tenure as offensive coordinator (2001-02), the team played in a bowl game each season. In 2001, under O’Brien’s direction, the Yellow Jackets led the ACC in passing and finished third in the league in scoring.

O’Brien is a native New Englander, hailing from Andover, Mass. He attended Brown University in Providence, R.I., where he was a linebacker and defensive end from 1990-92. O’Brien began his coaching career at Brown, coaching tight ends in 1993 and tutoring inside linebackers in 1994.

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