The New England Patriots will have a new defensive play-caller in the 2019 NFL season, but it’s someone who’s awfully familiar with the gig.
Bill Belichick reportedly will be calling the shots for the Patriots’ defense in the upcoming campaign. It’s been quite some time since New England’s head coach was responsible for these duties, which previously were held by Matt Patricia and Brian Flores.
Belichick, obviously, is more than capable of taking on the role, which forced a follow up to NFL.com’s “burning question” for the Patriots as the new season approaches.
From Jeremy Bergman:
Who’s coaching the defense? Does it matter?
Matt Patricia is in Motown, Brian Flores in Florida and Greg Schiano … Well, let’s hope Massachusetts real estate offers a 90-day buy-back policy. Defensive disciples of Bill Belichick have often left for greener field-turf during his Patriots reign — Romeo Crennel took Cleveland’s HC job, Eric Mangini defected to Gang Green, Dean Pees moved to Baltimore, etc. But as often as defensive play-callers have left the Hoodie’s side, Belichick has found a suitable replacement. This season, after Flores, who called plays in 2018 but was not listed as the defensive coordinator, took the Dolphins’ head-coaching job, Belichick was reported to have hired Schiano. But the former Bucs head coach and Ohio State DC unexpectedly bounced due to personal issues that have not been explained in detail by him or the organization. At one point this offseason, the only person listed on the defensive coaching staff on New England’s team website was the safeties coach, Steve Belichick, Bill’s son. (There’s playing it close to the vest, and then there’s running a cottage industry out of Patriots Place.) So it was notable last week when it was reported by Patriots insiders that Big Belichick would go at it alone in 2019 and take on play-calling duties. If that’s the case, it would be the first time since 2011, when New England lost its second Super Bowl to Eli Manning, that he would call plays. The defensive maestro he is, Belichick’s abilities as a game-planner are unquestioned; see Super Bowl LIII as a most-recent example. But as he enters his 45th season of coaching, is Belichick truly ready and able to take on those duties again? Maybe a better question: With Tom Brady still under center, does it even matter?
New England’s veteran defensive personnel likely will make things a whole lot easier on Belichick, who also brought former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo onto his staff this offseason. Given his familiarity with the system and expected ability to resonate with players, Mayo should have a prominent voice in his new position.
Coaching in any sense never has been an area of concern for the Patriots over the past two decades, and there’s no reason to believe that will change in 2019.