Bucs' Dominik, Pats' Caserio share a style


Bucs' Dominik, Pats' Caserio share a style

TAMPA - Nick Caserio and Mark Dominik don't have the same job title - Dominik is the Buccaneers' general manager; Caserio is the Patriots' director of player personnel - but they do share quite a bit aside from that.

They're both young (Dominik is 41, Caserio 36), both climbed the ladder in their organizations honestly and both answer to detail-oriented and demanding head coaches.

Caserio's a bit more taciturn than Dominik but neither one is a slap 'em on the back type. It's all business and the two talk business, according to Dominik.

"Nick and I stay in constant communication during the season," Dominik said Thursday morning as the Patriots and Bucs concluded a practice at One Bucs Place. "It's always good to have a guy you can stay in good contact with. We have a good relationship. It's always been a professional relationship but also a personal relationship where we can talk to each other and see what's going on."

The Patriots, as you may have noticed, are kinda private. That gets irksome at times but their discretion also gives them an advantage in that they are trusted by other teams to keep their damn mouths shut.

"There's a lot of trust that goes on in the National Football League because if you're gonna shop a guy or make a trade, you have to decide whether (the personnel person you're dealing with is) gonna tell everybody or just keep it within the organization," said Dominik. "Those are important things to know that you can count on when you have a relationship with a team like the Patriots as we do."

Dominik's presence in Tampa pre-dates the hiring of Bill Belichick protege Greg Schiano. It will be interesting to see how their relationship evolves given the "one voice" approach espoused by the Patriots that effectively neuters Caserio from being glib in any public setting. Will Schiano want to replace Dominik with someone Schiano can mold? Will he leave the aggressive and sharp Dominik to do his work?

From a brief view of the Bucs operation this week, it seems to be working. And if Schiano wants to mold his team like the Patriots, Dominik seems on board with that.

"I think (the two days of shared practice) was very beneficial for us not only as a preparation but an evaluation of our own football team," said Dominik. "I think that's been a great thing. You like to have a chance to grow as a team and take the opportunity to evaluate how you're doing and how you stack up."

Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards


Solder, Patriots training staff earn Ed Block Courage Awards

FOXBORO -- Patriots left tackle Nate Solder has been through a lot over the last few years. 

He battled and beat testicular cancer before the 2014 offseason and then went on to help the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title. In 2015, he tore his biceps in Week 5 and spent the rest of the year on injured reserve. Just weeks later after suffering that season-ending injury, Solder's son, Hudson, was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumor in his kidneys. 

A quiet leader in the Patriots locker room, Solder has used his platform with the team to spread awareness stemming from personal hardships in addition to serving as a prominent supporter of the Hockomock Area YMCA. For his devotion to helping those in need, and for the example he sets at his job and in the community, he has been named the team's Ed Block Courage Award winner for 2016. 

Solder also participated in the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative wearing cleats to raise awareness for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which gives financial aid to cancer patients and their families. He also supports The Fresh Truck, which describes itself as a mobile food market on a mission to radically improve community health.

Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Marcus Cannon, Jerod Mayo, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker and Tedy Bruschi have also recently been named Ed Block Courage Awards-winners for the Patriots. 

The team's training staff, led by head trainer Jim Whalen and assistant trainer and director of rehabilitation Joe Van Allen, was also honored on Tuesday as it was named the 2016 Ed Block Courage Award NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.

"The annual award, named for the longtime head athletic trainer for the Baltimore Colts who demonstrated an untiring dedication to helping others, recognizes an NFL staff for their distinguished service to their club, community and athletic training profession," the Patriots announced in a statement. 

In the release, trainer Daryl Nelson and physical therapist Michael Akinbola are also credited with helping keep the Patriots healthy. 

Others, including head strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera and team nutritionist Ted Harper, have a hand in keeping players at their physical peak. Combined, given the overall health of the roster this season, they've all had a hand in keep the team humming as it heads into its sixth consecutive AFC title game.

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Tomlin apologizes for language, calls Brown's actions 'foolish' and 'selfish'

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin indicated that stunts like Antonio Brown’s Sunday night video are the kind that get good players shipped out of town.

“He's a great player, respected largely in the locker room but incidents such as this don't help him in that regard,” said Tomlin told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette and others at a Tuesday press conference in Pittsburgh. “That's often why you see great players move from team to team. Don't want that to happen to Antonio Brown.” 

Tomlin, who referred to the Patriots as “a--holes” after the Steelers beat Kansas City in a Divisional Playoff game, apologized for his profanity and the other off-color comments made in the 17-minute broadcast.

“Like to say the language on the video is regrettable, by me and by others,” Tomlin stated.” That's why we go to great lengths to preserve certain moments and interactions between us. As a parent, as a member of the community I take that very seriously. I issue an apology in that regard.”

Tomlin added that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect on the game, on the Patriots, on the Steelers. Game is too big.”

Returning to Brown – who has yet to address why he thought this was a great idea – Tomlin said, “It was foolish of him to do that, selfish and inconsiderate. It was violation of our policy, league policy. He has to grow from this. He works extremely hard, he's extremely talented and those things get minimized with incidents like this."