How Patriots’ Pro Day Activity Hints At Change To 2022 Coaching Staff

Ross Douglas appears to be taking on a new role

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The New England Patriots have yet to announce their coaching staff for the 2022 season. But their activity on the pre-draft pro day circuit has hinted at one forthcoming change.

Ross Douglas, who was a defensive assistant last season as part of the NFL’s coaching fellowship program, has been spotted working out wide receiver prospects at both Georgia and, most recently, Penn State.

While it’s unclear what Douglas’ exact role will be this season, that suggests he’s switching sides of the ball as part of New England’s full-scale offensive reshuffling.

Former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels brought three other Patriots assistants with him when he took over the Raiders, including wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi, who now is the Las Vegas OC. Receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown still is on staff in New England, so Douglas might not be taking over wideouts full-time, but it appears he’ll at least be assisting with that position group.

The other coaches to join McDaniels in Vegas were offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo and assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree. Longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears reportedly is expected to retire this offseason, though no official announcement has been made on that.

If Fears does walk away, that would leave five offensive vacancies for head coach Bill Belichick to fill. Thus far, the team has made just one publicly announced hire — bringing back Joe Judge as an offensive assistant — and it remains unclear what his exact responsibilities will be. Multiple reports also have indicated Matt Patricia, the former longtime Patriots defensive coordinator who served in an advisory role in 2021, will join the offensive staff, likely as O-line coach.

We should have clarity on the exact makeup of the Patriots’ newfangled staff by the time organized team activities begin in May.

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