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."

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Sanu on Patriots' Super Bowl comeback: Lady Gaga's long halftime hurt Falcons

Three weeks removed from his team blowing a 25-point, second-half lead in the Super Bowl, Mohamed Sanu offered a possible explanation for the Atlanta Falcons losing their edge against the Patriots.

Lady Gaga.

More specifically, it was the half-hour-plus halftime show that interrupted the Falcons' rhythm, the receiver said Friday on the NFL Network's "Good Morning Football."

“Usually, halftime is only like 15 minutes, and when you’re not on the field for like an hour, it’s just like going to work out, like a great workout, and you go sit on the couch for an hour and then try to start working out again,” Sanu said.

Sanu was asked if the delay was something you can simulate in practice. 

"It's really the energy [you can't duplicate]," he said. "I don't know if you can simulate something like that. That was my first time experiencing something like that."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick did simulate it. In his Super Bowl practices, he had his team take long breaks in the middle.

Sanu also addressed the Falcons' pass-first play-calling that didn't eat up clock while the Patriots came back.

"The thought [that they weren't running the ball more] crossed your mind, but as a player, you're going to do what the coach [Dan Quinn] wants you to do." Sanu said. "He's called plays like that all the time."


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade


It's official: Patriots nab third-round compensatory pick in Collins trade

The Patriots received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2018 from the Browns in return for Jamie Collins. That's how the trade was described on the league's transaction wire. 

The "condition" of that fourth-rounder? Well, if the Browns received a third-round compensatory pick in 2017, the Patriots would nab that pick instead. 

On Friday, the NFL announced that the Browns had in fact been awarded a third-round compensatory pick, which meant that almost three full weeks after Super Bowl LI, everything was still coming up Patriots.

In actuality, the odds were pretty good all along that the Patriots would get what they got

Cleveland lost Pro Bowl center Alex Mack in free agency last offseason when he opted to sign with the Falcons. Because compensatory picks are based on free agents lost and free agents acquired, and because the Browns did not sign any similarly-impactful free agents, there was a good chance Mack's departure would render a third-round comp pick that would be shipped to New England.

Had Mack suffered a significant injury that forced his play to drop off or limited his time on the field, a third-rounder may have been out of the question, but he played well (named a Pro Bowler and a Second Team All-Pro) and stayed healthy -- lucky for the Patriots -- missing just 17 total snaps in the regular season. 

The Browns comp pick that will be sent to New England is No. 103 overall. The Patriots were also awarded a fifth-round comp pick, No. 185 overall. That was a result of the league weighing the departures of Akiem Hicks and Tavon Wilson against the arrival of Shea McClellin.

The Patriots now have nine selections in this year's draft: One first-rounder; one second-rounder; two third-rounders; one fourth-rounder*; two fifth-rounders; two seventh-rounders.

The third-round compensatory pick acquired by the Patriots carries additional value this year in that it is the first year in which compensatory picks can be traded. A near top-100 overall selection may allow the Patriots to move up the draft board or build assets in the middle rounds should they be inclined to deal. And we know they oftentimes are. 

* The Patriots forfeited their highest fourth-round selection in this year's draft as part of their Deflategate punishment. They acquired a fourth-round pick from the Seahawks last year. Because that would have been the higher of their two selections, that's the one they'll lose. They will make their own fourth-round pick at No. 137 overall.