INDIANAPOLIS — Greg Schiano will bring a tough, no-nonsense approach to New England when he takes over as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator this season, according to two of his former players.
“He’s intense,” defensive end Nick Bosa, who played under Schiano at Ohio State, said Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Walkthroughs for days. You don’t have much time to relax with him. But he’s really smart and a really good dude.”
Schiano, a former head coach at Rutgers and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, spent the last three seasons as the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator before leaving Columbus to pursue NFL opportunities. A longtime friend of Bill Belichick’s, he’s expected to officially join New England’s staff this offseason, according to multiple reports last month.
“(He’s) very stern,” former Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones said. “Very, I guess, military-like. When he’s talking, eyes on him at all times. Not even a blink sometimes.
“But I appreciated having Coach Schiano, because he’s an extremely smart coach. He knows what he’s doing. He knows the ins and outs of all the positions. I mean, he can break down every single position and their job without hesitation.”
Bosa is one of the top prospects available in this year’s NFL draft class and will be far out of the Patriots’ range, but they’ve shown interest in Jones, whom Bosa called the best interior pass rusher in the draft. Jones sat down for a formal interview with New England at the combine.
“I definitely proved myself this year and in past years about my pass-rushing ability,” said Jones, who measured in at 6-foot-3, 281 pounds.
Jones tallied 8 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles for loss as a redshirt junior last season and also returned an interception for a touchdown during a win over TCU. He primarily played as a three-technique defensive tackle but also lined up as a five-technique defensive end at times. Some NFL teams even have asked him to run through linebacker drills this week, as well.
“I was a little surprised to see that,” said Jones, who learned about the request on Twitter. “But yeah, I’m definitely doing it.”
The Patriots already employ three of Schiano’s former players in cornerback Jason McCourty (who’s set to hit free agency later this month) and safeties Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon. Patriots safeties coach Steve Belichick also played under Schiano at Rutgers.
The Patriots’ de facto defensive coordinator last season, Brian Flores, was hired as the Miami Dolphins’ new head coach after Super Bowl LIII.