Patriots notebook

Capers joins coaching staff

Email|Print| Text size + By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / February 22, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - The Patriots made a headline-grabbing addition to their coaching staff yesterday, hiring 22-year NFL veteran and former head coach Dom Capers as a special assistant/secondary coach.

Capers was one of the more sought-after assistants this offseason, previously declining an offer from the Cowboys.

A former head coach in Carolina (1995-98) and Houston (2001-05), Capers, like Patriots coach Bill Belichick, has extensive background in the 3-4 alignment. Yet Capers's 3-4 has traditionally been more of an attacking, pressure-based defense.

Capers's presence could give Belichick more time to spend elsewhere. It was common to see him huddled with defenders during games while the offense was on the field. Although Dean Pees remains the defensive coordinator, Capers figures to play a major role.

"I have known Dom for a long time and respect him tremendously as a coach, particularly defensively," Belichick said in a statement. "To add a coach of his caliber is an outstanding opportunity for us. I look forward to getting to work with Dom and Dean immediately."

The addition of Capers isn't the only change on the Patriots' staff.

Joel Collier, who served as secondary coach from 2005-07, will not be back, and receivers coach Nick Caserio, who began his tenure with the team as a personnel assistant, is moving to the front office to serve as director of player personnel under Scott Pioli.

The Patriots lost director of college scouting Thomas Dimitroff, who was hired as Falcons general manager. Longtime personnel veteran Larry Cook has been filling much of Dimitroff's role.

"Nick has exemplified versatility and loyalty to this organization," Pioli said in a statement. "We are happy to welcome him back to the personnel department where we will benefit from his great understanding of our program."

Andover native Bill O'Brien, who in his first year with the Patriots in 2007 served as coaching assistant, will coach the receivers.

Report quashed

Bears coach Lovie Smith, who served as Rams defensive coordinator in Super Bowl XXXVI, addressed the Feb. 2 Boston Herald report that a Patriots official had taped St. Louis's walkthrough.

Did he ever feel the Patriots had information that helped them be a step ahead?

"No. Not at all," Smith said. "What I recall is that we were beaten by a good football team that year. That's about all I remember."

Smith was asked his reaction when he first learned of the report.

"I don't go into accusations an awful lot. I think it's dangerous to do that," he said. "I trust our NFL office and I'm sure that if there is something to it, No. 1, that will come out later on. Time has a way of taking care of all things."

Former Rams coach Mike Martz said he is "going to assume, like anything else, that this is totally false."

However, Martz did say if the Patriots taped the walkthrough, it would have to be considered cheating.

"First of all, I doubt that this happened, I really do," said Martz. "I don't think the point is ever whether they got something out of it. The whole point is, were they cheating or not? Isn't it? Isn't that really the point? I think so.

"But I'm going to choose to believe this is all not true. I just have too much respect and admiration for Bill, and I just don't think it's true. But I guess when I hear people say it didn't affect [the game], well, it probably didn't. No, it probably didn't affect it at all. But that's really not the point, now is it?"

Support from Polian

Members of the league's competition committee were briefed on the Patriots' taping procedures and the NFL's investigation of the team yesterday, which resulted in the Patriots having an unlikely ally - Colts president Bill Polian.

"From my perspective, that was a thorough, fair, efficient process with lots of integrity," Polian said. "I think it's fair to say we [as a committee] were satisfied with the explanation, satisfied with what was done, and at least I am anyway. It's behind us. It's time to move forward."

The five competition committee members who spoke agreed that there was nothing from a rules perspective that needed to be further addressed.

Izzo will be back

Linebacker Larry Izzo, 33, whose contract expired after the 2007 season, isn't ready to retire. He is expected to re-sign with the Patriots for another season.

"Larry will be back with the team," his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said. "He's had a great career there. He loves the coaches and the continuity, just everything about the situation."

Thomas in mix

Linebacker Zach Thomas has scheduled visits with Dallas and Houston next week, but the possibility of him signing with the Patriots has not been ruled out. His agent, Rosenhaus, said: "Zach had a good visit and we're talking to the team, and we'll keep the dialogue going. There are some other people in the mix as well, other clubs, but he had a great visit. There are a lot of things about it that make sense." Thomas visited with the Saints Tuesday . . . Rosenhaus has maintained dialogue with the Patriots regarding receiver Donte' Stallworth, as the team is not planning to pick up his $8 million in option bonuses. Stallworth could return with a different deal . . . The Patriots have not finalized an extension with free agent receiver Jabar Gaffney, another Rosenhaus client, but discussions continue . . . Paul Sheehy, the agent for free agent long snapper Lonie Paxton, said the sides have discussed an extension and will likely revisit them one more time before free agency begins next Friday.

more stories like this

  • Email
  • Email
  • Print
  • Print
  • Single page
  • Single page
  • Reprints
  • Reprints
  • Share
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Comment
  • Share on DiggShare on Digg
  • Tag with Save this article
  • powered by
Your Name Your e-mail address (for return address purposes) E-mail address of recipients (separate multiple addresses with commas) Name and both e-mail fields are required.
Message (optional)
Disclaimer: does not share this information or keep it permanently, as it is for the sole purpose of sending this one time e-mail.