The position had been vacated since Dean Pees left the Patriots in January 2010. Head coach Bill Belichick was in charge of the defense for the 2010 season, and that was the case to an extent again in 2011, though Patricia took a more active role in the defensive meetings. Patricia was also the defensive play caller.
The Patriots announced a number of other coaching changes Thursday, and Patricia wasn’t the only familiar name to get a new job. Steve Belichick, the head coach’s son, was hired as a coaching assistant. Steve recently graduated from Rutgers and has spent plenty of time around the team in recent years.
Pepper Johnson, who has spent the last eight seasons as the Patriots’ defensive line coach, will take over as the linebackers coach. Johnson is entering his 13th season on the Patriots’ coaching staff.
Patrick Graham will take the reins as the defensive line coach. He coached the line under Johnson in 2011 but will earn the more prominent position in 2012.
Brian Flores will take over Patricia’s post as the safeties coach. Flores, who entered the organization as a scout in 2004, has been a coaching assistant since 2008.
Josh Boyer got a more defined role, going from defensive backs coach to cornerbacks coach.
George Godsey, who had been an offensive assistant for two seasons, will take over as the tight ends coach. That post was vacated when Brian Ferentz departed for Iowa this offseason.
The Patriots also hired Joe Judge as a special teams assistant. Judge spent the last three years as a football analyst for Nick Saban at Alabama.