Replacing Matt Patricia will not be a one-man job.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this month the New England Patriots don’t plan to officially name a new defensive coordinator this offseason, and Patriots coach Bill Belichick essentially confirmed that Tuesday during the NFL coaches breakfast.
“I think everybody on the defensive staff will take on additional responsibilities,” Belichick told reporters at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla. “We haven’t really added anybody to the defensive staff. Not saying we won’t or will, but I’d say everybody’s responsibilities are going to match their spot. Matt did a lot for us — obviously did a great job. Those (responsibilities) will be shared by multiple people on the defensive staff.”
With Patricia now head coach of the Detroit Lions, the Patriots’ defensive staff currently consists of linebackers coach Brian Flores, defensive line coach Brendan Daly, cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer and safeties coach Steve Belichick. Of that group, Flores should see the greatest increase in responsibility.
Viewed as New England’s defensive coordinator in waiting, the 37-year-old Flores will call the Patriots’ defensive plays this season, per Robinson’s report.
“He’s done a lot of different things for us and done them all well,” Belichick said of Flores, who coordinated the Patriots’ red-zone defense in 2017. “He’s gained a lot of experience. He’s a quality person, quality coach with a lot of experience.”
Patricia, who had served as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator since 2012, is one of two Belichick disciples entering his first season as a head coach. The other is former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel, who was hired by the Tennessee Titans.
Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien also is a product of the Belichick regime, as are general managers Jon Robinson (Titans), Bob Quinn (Lions) and Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
“It’s great,” Belichick said. “All those are great people. … I wish them all well, except when we play them. But they’re great people, and they did a great job for me. They’re in positions that we didn’t have openings in our organization for, so I’m happy for the opportunities that they have.”
He added: “It’s no different than free agents. It’s the NFL. People move on. We’ve all done that. It’s part of the process.”
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