As the offseason begins to kick off the Patriots are tasked with not only reshaping the roster for contention, but to also rebuild the coaching staff. Joe Judge, Dante Scarnecchia, and Bret Bielema left the Patriots, opening four positions up. With now a total of five spots in need of filling, here is how the staff could potentially look next year.
Receivers Coach: Troy Brown
If Caserio doesn’t take over temporarily again, like he did in ’07, Troy Brown is the likeliest candidate. Originally I would have said Chad O’Shea was coming back. But alas, he signed with the Browns early this year. But Troy, after helping the Pats out in training camp last year, surprisingly stayed with the team for the season.
Brown assisted Judge, who was coaching two positions at once, mainly with helping new receivers adjust. He spent plenty of time in the Patriots system, both as a player and now as a coach, so he knows the system better than almost anyone. Even back in his playing days he had an impressive IQ, which he can share with the current unit. It’s uncertain how he would be as the main receiving coach, but if how Mayo turned is any indication Brown would be a great young asset to bring in.
Offensive Line Coach: Carmen Bricillo
Taking over for Scarnecchia is no easy feat, but Bricillo has the best shot. Like all of the replacement options on this list, he is already part of the organization. He spent nine years as Youngston State’s Offensive Line coach, and as an offensive assistant at Illinois in 2009. So despite only holding an NFL position for one year, he already has plenty of experience coaching.
But what really makes him the front runner is the fact he spent all of last year learning from Scarnecchia. Learning from the best automatically places you as the best option, even if it was only for a year. So it should be a no brainer for the Patriots, and obviously Carmen wouldn’t turn down the promotion. He will most likely be the one fixing the wounded line for next year.
Defensive Line Coach: Brian Belichick
The loss of Bret Bielema has flow under the radar, yet it is a major loss to the coaching staff. But the loss of the experienced coach could be a blessing in disguise, as it provides an opportunity for another Belichick to take a major role on the staff. Brian, the youngest of the three Belichicks on the staff, has been a defensive assistant for four years on the Patriots.
Now that he has gained the necessary experience, this is the perfect time for him to take over. His older brother, Steve, took four years as an assistant before becoming the Patriots safeties coach. Brian reportedly is just as good of a coach, and hard work and patience is usually rewarded on the Patriots. If Belichick can’t find the perfect candidate from any NFL or college staff, Brian will be the guy to take over.
Defensive Coordinator: Bill Belichick
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Under Belichick, the Patriots defense was as good as its ever been last year. So why ruin that by either disrupting the current staff with promoting someone, or bringing in someone who may not know the system as well? Belichick simply brought the best out of his players, with more than a handful of players having career years.
The defense should remain amazing next year as long as Bill is at the helm, despite many of the starters contracts being up. Bill will re-sign most of them anyways, and they will replace any real losses through the draft or with players already on the roster. Even if the Patriots lost every single one of their impending free agents, Belichick would still turn the squad into a top defense once again.
Special Teams Coach: Cameron Achord
Achord may be the easiest decision out of the five. He assisted Judge as Assistant Special Teams coach for two years, while previously coaching at Southwest Mississippi Community College for five years. There he served as offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends coach, as well as recruiting coordinator.
Achord’s kickoff return unit ranked third, and the punt return unit ranked second in the nation in return average, which attracted the attention of Belichick. He is a natural leader, with creative ideas and the ability to adjust on the fly. The Patriots had one of the best special teams units last year, and Achord was a huge part of it. What makes this choice even better is that it would be a virtually seamless switch from Judge to Achord. He is definitely the right man for the job.