The New England Patriots coaching staff will travel to Las Vegas later this month to coach a collection of NFL draft prospects at the 2023 East-West Shrine Bowl.
But Bill Belichick won’t be leading that group.
As part of an initiative aimed at getting lower-level coaches reps in more prominent roles, Patriots wide receiver/kick returners coach Troy Brown will serve as head coach for the West Team, according to reports Sunday from ESPN’s Mike Reiss and the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan.
This will be a valuable development opportunity for Brown, who just completed his third season as a full-time Patriots assistant. The Patriots Hall of Famer has worked with running backs, wideouts and returners since joining Belichick’s staff in an unofficial capacity in 2019.
And Brown won’t be the only Patriots assistant moving up a level at the Shrine Bowl. Cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino and safeties coach Brian Belichick will jointly lead the defense, with assistant receivers coach Ross Douglas serving as offensive coordinator, per Callahan’s report.
Pellegrino and the youngest Belichick have worked as Patriots assistants since 2015 and 2016, respectively. The 27-year-old Douglas is the NFL’s youngest position coach, and though he has just one season of experience at that level, he already has generated buzz as a potential future head coach.
Bill Belichick and Falcons head coach Arthur Smith will supervise their respective staffs during Shrine Bowl week. Atlanta is coaching the East Team.
“As a development tool, clubs’ head coaches will serve as supervisors, allowing others on the staff to possibly coach up a level or to coach a new position,” the Shrine Bowl organizers said in a statement.
Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, meanwhile, will head to Mobile, Ala., to serve as defensive coordinator of the American Team at the 2023 Senior Bowl.
The Senior Bowl has long been a popular pipeline for Patriots draftees, and New England selected four Shrine Bowl alums in last year’s draft. They’ll be well-represented at both of the marquee college all-star games, getting an up-close, hands-on look at dozens of this year’s top prospects.
The Shrine Bowl is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 2 at Allegiant Stadium, with the Senior Bowl following two days later.
The Patriots have yet to announce any changes to their coaching staff, but they spent this past week interviewing offensive coordinator candidates. Linebackers coach Jerod Mayo also is expected to receive a promotion after signing a contract extension.