Patriots Ripe for Brain Drain of Coaching Talent

Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia watches from the sideline as they take on the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated the Patriots 17-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 28, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia watches from the sideline as they take on the Buffalo Bills in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Buffalo Bills defeated the Patriots 17-9. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

The Belichick Coaching Tree is Ripe with Talent; touted assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels gearing up for another Patriots Super Bowl run.

For all of the challenges that the recent New England Patriots teams have endured, perhaps none have been as difficult as the past year’s dose of ‘Deflategate.’ Somewhere between a witch hunt and an obsession, the National Football League’s persecution of Tom Brady was nothing more than a monolithic waste of time, money and energy.

But for each period of adversity that the Patriots have experienced since the beginning of the Belichick era, the team has answered the call and responded on the field. No other organization in professional sports is as successful as turning the “us-against-the-world” mentality, which is so pervasive in sports culture, into reality. Bill Belichick is a master of psychology and motivation; and, it is no wonder why his coaches get hired away from the Patriots at such a high rate.

Organizational success is the trademark of the New England Patriots, and many teams have tried to emulate it. In the early-to-mid 2000’s, the Patriots churned out new head coaches to several storied football franchises, including Notre Dame (Charlie Weis), the Cleveland Browns (Romeo Crennel), the New York Jets (Eric Mangini) and the Denver Broncos (Josh McDaniels).

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Today, for whatever reason, none of those coaches panned out; McDaniels even returned to Foxborough immediately after his dismissal to rejoin the staff. Entering this season, however, the story is different.

The New England Patriots coordinators, Josh McDaniels (offense) and Matt Patricia (defense), will be two of the most sought after names at the conclusion of the 2016 NFL regular season.

Both coaches are young and ambitious, and they contrast heavily from the Patriots past assistants.

While Weis and Crennel helped the Patriots achieve unimaginable success, they were both veteran coaches who joined Bill Belichick’s staff when he was hired in 2000. Belichick, while he definitely influenced Weis and Crennel, depended on them more heavily because of their experience. Conversely, McDaniels and Patricia have been shaped by Belichick from the on-set; groomed from the get go to think and act within the confines of the Patriot way.

Josh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels is a near lock to be hired away from the Patriots in December of 2016 (depending on our playoff spot, etc.).

By no means did McDaniels get his due when he had a short, but successful stint as the head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009-2010. Josh McDaniels, when initially hired away from the Patriots in 2009, was the youngest coach in the National Football League. The 33-year-old offensive wizard was immediately thrown into the fire by team ownership, who forced him to draft Tim Tebow in the first round.

McDaniels was able to architect a miraculous playoff victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers, but was let go in favor of Eric Studesville after beginning the 2010 season with a 3-6 record.

McDaniels soon departed for the Rams, where he would work for one season as their offensive coordinator before returning to the Patriots. Upon his return, McDaniels helped the Pats reach the Super Bowl in 2014.

What could really make-or-break Josh McDaniel’s status as a potential coach is how the team deals with the loss of Tom Brady for the first four weeks of the season. If either Jimmy Garappolo or Jacoby Brissett are successful, McDaniel’s stock will continue to rise. In the past, he was also integral in the early development of quarterbacks Tom Brady, Matt Cassel, and Tim Tebow (in his lone successful season, 2009).

Matt Patricia

Matt Patricia is a brilliant young defensive mind who, in my opinion, would be the person the team could pick as the heir to Lord Belichick. Because Josh McDaniels will likely be hired away by that point, I could see the Patriots giving Patricia a huge contract extension this off-season to set up for Belichick’s last hurrah. Because of this speculation, the former aeronautics engineering major could be inking his name on an astronomical contract some time soon.

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Anyway, Matt Patricia’s defenses are different than defenses in the Patriots’ recent past. First, they are tremendously more athletic. Although the Patriots have always coveted defensive versatility, this year’s team is faster and stronger than most. And, with Patricia as the architect of the defense, the team has taken on more of a swagger on that side of the ball than the past.

Previously, it had felt like “bend but don’t break” was the motto of the Patriots defense; that is, to keep opposing offenses from scoring just long enough to allow Tom Brady to put the team over the top. Today’s Patriots teams are more aggressive, blitz-heavy and force more turnovers.

The New England Patriots defense will be a key to success this season, as the offense will undoubtedly fail to score as much in the first four weeks. Depending on how well the defense responds, Matt Patricia could be receiving requests for interviews sooner rather than later.

The reality: In what could be one of Bill Belichick’s last seasons with the New England Patriots, do you think the team has a shot at making one last run for the Super Bowl?

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