FOXBORO, Mass. — If the New England Patriots ever need a new charter plane, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia could probably build it, according to Bill Belichick.
Patricia took the unlikely path from aeronautical engineering major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to NFL assistant coach. Belichick at his news conference Friday praised Patricia’s intelligence, both pertaining to football and engineering.
“Matt’s really smart,” Belichick said. “He’s had a lot of different experiences. He’s coached in college, he’s coached on the offensive side of the ball, coached on the defensive side of the ball, has been in this situation, this program for a long time so he has a pretty good understanding historically of things like the (Mike) Vrabels and the (Tedy) Bruschis and the Troy Browns and all things like that that can have some relationship to sometimes current situations.
“He’s really smart. This guy could probably build a plane and fly it — like this guy is smart-smart. He’s got great recall and a really high IQ level in terms of just processing a lot of information. He’s the kind of guy that he’s got 10 projects going at once and then you’re like, ‘Hey Matt can you do this and do that’ — ‘oh yeah, no problem.’ He’s got 12 going at once. Some of us can only handle barely one thing at a time. He’s the type of guy that can keep a lot of balls in the air. But again, he’s a blue-collar guy, certainly wasn’t born with a silver spoon like most players, so they’re just working for everything, working his way up through, I think he has an appreciation for that and I think he relates well to other guys who are doing the same thing.
Patricia began as a graduate assistant at RPI before coaching at Amherst College and Syracuse. He started with the Patriots in 2004 as an offensive coaching assistant and moved his way up to defensive coordinator in 2012. His history with the Patriots pays off in the Patriots’ weekly game plans.
“Matt and I have worked together for a long time,” Belichick said. “So, he’s definitely a huge asset to me in a number of areas — again both historically, like, ‘Hey this is what we did in this situation, think about that or should we do that again or the timing of it and so forth.’ And again over a period of years, (offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels) is the same way, over a period of years, things that you did five, 10 years ago, I’m not saying they come up every day, but it might be, ‘Hey remember when we did this against so-and-so back in ‘07 or ‘05 or whatever?’ It’s kind of the same thing here.
“For somebody that just got here last year or somebody that’s been here for a year or two, there’s no way that that’s coming up — here’s what we did in this situation back when we had this player. So there is some value to that. I’m not saying it happens every day, but guys like that — Brian Daboll, Matt Patricia, Josh McDaniels, guys that have been here for a really long time — they have some of those perspectives that are really good, so it’s very helpful. …
“They can take a situation that happened, whenever it happened, and maybe it applies to something we’re doing now and it’s a good idea. If it was a good idea then, it might a good idea now, but maybe you’re not really thinking about it or I’m not thinking about it.”
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