The New England Patriots could see Matt Patricia on the opposite sideline this season.
Patricia on Wednesday interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ defensive coordinator vacancy, according to a report from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero. He’s one of three former NFL head coaches in contention for that job, joining Rex Ryan and Vance Joseph.
Patricia is coming off a disastrous one-year stint as the Patriots’ offensive line coach and offensive play-caller. The 48-year-old was poorly equipped for those roles, as he had not worked with O-linemen since 2005 (when he was an assistant under Dante Scarnecchia) and had never called offensive plays.
New England’s offense regressed from a borderline top-10 unit the previous season to one of the NFL’s worst, as the Patriots went 8-9 and missed the playoffs. After the season, head coach Bill Belichick hired Bill O’Brien as the team’s new offensive coordinator and Adrian Klemm as its new O-line coach, removing Patricia from both positions.
But despite his shortcomings as an offensive assistant and as a head coach (13-29-1 in 2 1/2 seasons with the Detroit Lions), Patricia does have a successful track record as a defensive coordinator. He held that job in New England for six seasons (2012-17), and the Patriots won two Super Bowls and played in another during that span.
The Broncos are searching for a new DC after hiring offensive-focused head coach Sean Payton last month. That’s an appealing gig, as Denver boasts a talented defense that ranked in or around the top 10 in most metrics this past season, including 10th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and seventh in total defense.
The Patriots are scheduled to play a road game in Denver during the 2023 season.