General Manager Nick Caserio shared a personal story and a candid response to a popular topic: his press box role on gamedays.
The Houston Texans general manager, who spent about 20 minutes of his morning commute with SportsRadio 610 on Tuesday, shared some insight into where he has offered his input during his time in New England and how that role has evolved over the years. According to Caserio, his role on the headset changed depending on the needs of the coaching staff during his two-decade career with the Patriots and even during his first year with the Texans.
"When you're in the press box 18 of 20 years, a lot of that is just hearing the game, viewing the game and the responsibilities I would say in New England were a little bit different," Caserio said. "One year, I would say it was more, here are the play calls, write the plays down, quality control. Other years, it was down and distance, hash mark, defensive personnel, get that information to the offensive coordinator so they can determine what play they want to run, what they want to put in the game."
While many assumed that Caserio might be telling coaches what plays to call, the general manager explained why that was not the case. By quickly identifying personnel groupings on the field, he was giving the offensive or defensive coordinator more information so that they could dial up the appropriate play call.
"If it's base defense and you have a base-run call in your mind, as a play-caller, if you get that information and tell them, 'Hey, it's base defense,'" Caserio said. "Then you might say, 'You know what, we can't run this run or sub run, and maybe we're going to be in a multiple-receiver grouping and we're better off throwing it.' It's just information flow back and forth."
Caserio said the main goal was to gather information as quickly and accurately as possible during a game. He even shared a story about one instance in New England, when he incorrectly identified the offensive personnel group on the field for the Patriots defensive coaching staff.
"I remember vividly, I want to say maybe it was '02 or '03, we were playing the Seahawks at our place and I was giving the offensive personnel to our defensive staff and I made a math mistake," Caserio said. "I told them it was either 21 or 11 and it was 20 out. It was three receivers and two backs. They ended up getting like a 60-yard completion or whatever it was and you feel horrible, but the game happens fast."
Over the years, Caserio admits there have been times he was wrong, but the goal is to always learn from those mistakes and improve the process.
Last season, Caserio's role with first-year head coach David Culley was to listen and serve. He offered his input situationally when needed, adding that his goal has always been to just be a resource when needed "whatever that constitution is." Caserio adds that NFL teams generally have a person assigned to a similar role, whether it is someone in analytics or in the personnel department.
"I think what happens is that maybe it gets a little magnified because of my 'title and my role,'" Caserio said. "But in my mind, I don't even look at it that way. I'm a football person. I'm engaged in the game. I was very well-trained with a great organization. So you're just trying to take all that information and disseminate it and use it in the most efficient way possible. I'm never going to shy away from it, I'm always going to be straight up and tell the coach, whoever it is, if they have a question, try to get some clarity, that's my job and my responsibility to provide clarity."