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Patriots Longest-Tenured Assistant Leaving for Rams; Who Replaces Nick Caley?

By Mike D'Abate,


Nick Caley had been the longest-tenured assistant on New England’s offensive coaching staff.

FOXBORO — As the reconstruction of the New England Patriots offensive coaching staff continues, their longest-tenured assistant is headed west.

Per a Sunday night report from Sports Illustrated , 40-year-old Nick Caley has agreed  to join coach Sean McVay’s staff in Los Angeles in a lateral move to become the Rams' tight ends coach.

Newly-hired offensive assistant Will Lawing is the Patriots' top potential candidate to replace Caley. The 37-year-old coached tight ends as a member of the Houston Texans’ 2019 staff under new Pats' offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

In L.A., Caley will be working closely with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who was recently added to the Rams fold after spending two seasons as the New York Jets' offensive coordinator. As a fellow admirer of a 12-man personnel offensive style, Caley and LaFleur should find a quick synergy

He coached at the collegiate level for 10 years before becoming part of the Pats in 2015. In 2017, he was promoted and became New England’s tight ends coach. Caley added to his resume in 2020, by adding the title of being the team's fullbacks coach in addition to his duties as tight ends coach. Throughout his tenure, he worked with top-level talent such as Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

During his time in New England, Caley earned a solid reputation for his leadership and knowledge among his colleagues, as well as his players. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that he was rumored as a potential candidate to replace Josh McDaniels as New England’s offensive coordinator last offseason. Coach Bill Belichick ultimately decided to fill that void with a combination of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge; though Caley was given some opportunities to call plays during training camp and the preseason.

Caley had also become a hot coaching commodity, having been listed on NFL Media’s annual ‘Watch List’ of rising head-coaching candidates under the age 45 . With his Pats’ contract expiring, he interviewed with the Houston Texans last Wednesday for a spot on the staff of newly-hired head coach DeMeco Ryans. Earlier this month, Caley interviewed for the Patriots vacant offensive coordinator position, which eventually went to ex-Alabama Crimson Tide OC Bill O'Brien . He also met with the New York Jets regarding their opening. However, the team hired ex-Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett in late January.

Even with Lawing's hiring, New England still has a staff vacancy at offensive line coach. The team has reportedly interviewed current Buffalo Bills’ assistant coach, and former Patriots offensive lineman, Ryan Wendell , as well as University of Oregon coach, and fellow ex-Pats lineman, Adrian Klemm .

Follow Mike D’Abate on Twitter @ mdabateNFL and Listen/Subscribe to his daily podcast: Locked On Patriots

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