INDIANAPOLIS — With so many former Patriots’ personnel guys and assistant coaches now running other teams, it’s easy to see how New England’s team-building approach has popped up in places like Atlanta, Denver and Kansas City.
But that’s been a double-edged sword for the Patriots. While the franchise can take a legitimate sense of pride in seeing its system disseminated throughout the league, there’s suddenly more of a demand for the kind of players New England has traditionally coveted.
It’s something that ex-Patriots execs’ and coaches talk about all the time.
“No question about it,” said Atlanta General Manager Thomas Dimitroff, who worked as New England’s director of college scouting from 2003 to 2007 before taking over in Atlanta. “I was up there arguing about it with (Kansas City GM Scott) Pioli. We happen to have suites right beside each other. We’re just talking about that very same thing. Typically, you take all that you’ve learned from an organization like New England especially with as much success as we had, whether it’s on the trade side of things or acquisitions.
“We do a little busting on each other, no question about it. If we feel that the person has tried to cut around the back to try to get something. But we are usually pretty good. I maintain that this league is about having a handful allies. I think it’s very good group of us who have moved on from New England and have taken care of business in the right way.”
As a result, the Patriots have been forced to try and step up and meet that challenge — maybe becoming more creative, particularly when it comes to finding players who fit their 3-4 base defense.
“Yeah, it looks like half the league is employing some 3-4 type of configuration,” said New England’s director of player personnel Nick Caserio. “It’s becoming more challenging because there is more teams that are essentially looking at the same pool of players, so it kind of limits your opportunities, because you realize you’re really competing really with the rest of the league on that front.”