Trust in Bill: Despite Flores’ departure to Miami, players have no doubt the ‘D’ will still shine.
ATLANTA — With play caller Brian Flores departing from the Patriots staff on the heels of the defense delivering one of the most dominant performances in Super Bowl history, what kind of impact might that have going forward on the team?
Flores, introduced as the Dolphins head coach Monday, called a game for the ages and had the defense playing at its best during the postseason.
Now former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano is expected to join the Patriots coaching staff in some capacity according to one report, likely on the defensive side.
He and Bill Belichick have had a longstanding bond going back to the days when Schiano was the top man at Rutgers, and the Patriots coach used the school like a farm system.
So Schiano has some obvious connections to Patriots players, be it former Rutgers alum Devin and Jason McCourty and Duron Harmon. There’s been other players in the past, including former Patriot cornerback Logan Ryan, now with the Titans, mentored by Schiano, who was last the defensive coordinator with Ohio State.
“Obviously, (Belichick and Schiano) have a great relationship. He trusts him a lot. It shows Bill wants to work with him,” Harmon told the Herald after Sunday’s Super Bowl win. “Whatever it is that makes our team continue to get better and continue to thrive, I’m all for it.”
Harmon said Schiano’s defense at Rutgers was similar in terms of the structure, and that his former college coach would easily adapt to the Patriots system. It’s doubtful Belichick would have someone come in and change his system.
But here’s the real question: Can somebody else come in and do what Flores did?
If Schiano is the “play caller” going forward, will he be as aggressive and as creative as Flores was this season?”
After the Patriots took the safeguards off later in the year, attacking more and showcasing their versatility, things really started to click. They ultimately stuffed the Chargers in the divisional round, and shut out the Chiefs in the first half of the AFC Championship Game.
And in the biggest game of the year they managed to hold the Rams, the No. 2 scoring offense at 32.9 points per game, to just three points. That tied for the lowest output by a team in Super Bowl history.
“Everybody’s different. Can Schiano come in here and be Flo? Absolutely not,” said Harmon. “We don’t even know the role he’s going to have. All I know is Coach Belichick is still the head man in charge. And he’s going to make sure whenever we play, we’re going to be ready to go. It might be a different face leading, but at the end of the day, the guy at the top is the guy who’s been consistent here. And we’ve always won games since he’s been here. So I’m not worried about that.”
Pack-Bears to open season, not Pats
Move over, New England Patriots. The NFL is leaning toward a historic matchup to kick off its 100th season in 2019.
The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers are expected to play in the Thursday night opener, according to Westwood One’s Ed Werder.
In a nod to the historic rivalry to open a celebration-filled 100th season of the NFL, the longtime regional rivals would replace the reigning Super Bowl champions in the first game of the 2019 regular season.
New England typically would host the game to kick off the season by virtue of winning Super Bowl LIII.
A decision could come soon, but the official announcement likely is to be delayed until the official schedule release in primetime around mid-April.
— Field Level Media