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Patriots' coordinators are in demand

The Providence Journal, R.I.

January 01. 2018 8:26PM
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, talks with defensive coordinator Matt Patricia during the second quarter of New England's 26-6 win over the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. (USA TODAY SPORTS)

Since 2012, the Patriots have had the type of continuity that NFL franchises dream of with the same head coach, quarterback and two coordinators. For the first time since 2005, however, it looks like there could be sweeping changes on the way in Foxborough, Mass.

A new year means the NFL’s coaching carousel is in full swing. Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are reported to be at the top of multiple NFL teams wish lists.

ESPN reported that the New York Giants have already submitted requests to interview both coaches this week or weekend. The Arizona Cardinals have also submitted a request to interview Patricia, who is also reportedly at the top of the Detroit Lions’ candidate list, and Patriots linebacker coach Brian Flores. The Indianapolis Colts have also request permission to interview McDaniels, who could also draw interest from the Chicago Bears.

“Yeah, I mean, I have no idea about any of that,” Patricia said on Monday. “None of that’s even really applicable for me right now because I don’t have any information on that so, I’m in normal mode. Came in, graded the Jets and tried to take a good look at what we did on defense (Sunday) and tried to see what things were positive and what things we got to get better on.”

“That process, whatever it is, it will take place. I’m certainly not aware of anything at this point,” McDaniels added. “I’ve just been focused on trying to grade our tape... All of that stuff, you know, usually takes care of itself. There’s a time and a place for that. I’ve gone through it before, which is helpful in terms of being able to balance that and multi-task it.”

McDaniels has been one of the most popular coaching candidates for years now. Last year, he interviewed with the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars, but reportedly didn’t want to leave New England. It looks like that could change this year.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, those close to McDaniels believe he is motivated as ever to pursue another head coaching job. McDaniels got his start in Foxborough in 2001 and spent five years as the offensive coordinator (2005-2008) before serving as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009-2010. After returning as the offensive coordinator in 2012, McDaniels has spent the last six seasons helping Tom Brady and offense operate efficiently.

“I’m 41 years old so I have a lot of people I look up to,” McDaniels said. “A lot of people that I watch do their jobs that I have a tremendous amount of appreciation and respect for. Bill (Belichick), certainly is as good a mentor for me as I could ask for. Dante (Scarnecchia) has done a tremendous job for many, many years. I’ve learned so much from him. Learn a lot from the players that you work with, you get good feedback with them. I think it’s important to watch and listen to other people to gather information you can and try to make the best decisions that you can make if you’re in a position of leadership. Hopefully, I’ve grown in that area and many others.”

Patricia’s name has grown increasingly popular over the last three years. Last year, he interviewed with the Rams and San Diego Chargers. That’s after he earned his first head-coaching interview with the Cleveland Browns following the 2015 season.

Under Patricia, the Patriots defense led the NFL in scoring against in 2016. This year, the group was among the NFL’s worst after the first four weeks.

The unit finished fifth in the NFL to show an incredible turnaround. The Pats led the league in points allowed from Week 5 to the end of the regular season.

“I have been very, very lucky to be in such a great place for a long time and work for coach Belichick,” Patricia said. “Great coach to follow and try to learn from and trying to expand my knowledge. We’re constantly trying to compete whether it’s internally as a coach to be better, whether it’s out on there on the field with an opponent, I think that’s kind of the drive you have every day as a coach to try and make yourself better and try to help the players be in a great position to perform on Sunday.”

In the event the Patriots lose both McDaniels and Patricia, it’d be a similar situation to the 2004 season where the team lost Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. The Pats promoted within in 2005 with McDaniels and Eric Mangini.

If they do the same, expect names like receivers coach Chad O’Shea and Flores (if he doesn’t land in Arizona) to be considered.


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