New England Patriots options to replace Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on during the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on during the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

The New England Patriots may be without two of their top assets next season as Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are key names in head coaching searches.

There are plenty of options both internal and external if the New England Patriots have to replace both of their coordinators before the start of the 2018 NFL season. Traditionally, the team seems to enjoy their internal options, but if they feel they can grab a talented mind from another team they’ll certainly try.

Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are at the very top of a few NFL head coaching lists and it’s a possibility that New England enters 2018 without either coach. McDaniels has been linked to the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Giants, while Patricia is set to meet with the Giants, Arizona Cardinals, and Detroit Lions.

The New York Giants reportedly really want Josh McDaniels as their head coach, and their fans do as well. Patricia, on the other hand, is rumored to be the “leading candidate” for the Lions head coaching job. Both jobs could be viewed positively, as the Giants will have the #2 pick in the NFL Draft and they have a defense with tons of potential. The Lions have their QB position set with Matt Stafford, and GM Bob Quinn is a former Patriots executive. He knows what needs to be done in order to deliver a playoff win to Detroit.

Right now, both coordinators are focusing on their tasks with the Patriots. Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia have been through this before, and McDaniels knows how to multitask now.

"“I’ve just been focused on trying to grade our tape and work with our staff to try and get ourselves ready to have a productive week with our guys and get ready to go. All of that stuff usually takes care of itself. There’s a time and a place for all of that. I’ve gone through it before, which is helpful in terms of being able to balance that and multi-task it. But, my focus here when I come into this building will always be on what’s best for the Patriots and trying to do what I can to help us prepare to play our best game the next time we go out on the field.”"

Patricia had a similar response this week when asked about the head coach job offers.

"“Yeah, I mean, I have no idea about any of that. None of that’s even really applicable to me right now because I don’t have any information on that. I’m in normal mode. Came in, graded the Jets. Trying to take a good look on what we did on defense (Sunday) and try to see what things that were positive and things that we’ve got to get better on and working to make sure we have a good, productive week this week and try to improve those things.”"

Still, who could be leading the New England Patriots offense or defense next season? Let’s take a look.

Offensive Coordinator

  • Chad O’Shea, New England Patriots WR Coach
  • Jerry Schuplinski, New England Patriots Assistant QB Coach
  • Mike Sullivan, New York Giants OC
  • Brian Callahan, Detroit Lions QB Coach
  • Harold Goodwin, Arizona Cardinals OC
  • Byron Leftwich, Arizona Cardinals QB Coach
  • Todd Downing, Oakland Raiders OC

If the Patriots want to promote coaches from within for the offensive coordinator job, wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski are the obvious choices. O’Shea has 15 years of NFL coaching experience and he has been the WR coach for New England since 2009. He played college football for two seasons at Marshall and two seasons at Houston.

Jerry Schuplinski played college football with Josh McDaniels at John Carroll University. His other teammates included former NFL linebacker London Fletcher, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, and Patriots director of pro personnel Dave Ziegler. Schuplinski has been with New England for 5 seasons now, with the last two spent as the assistant quarterback coach.

The other options for New England are all external. With all of the NFL head coaching changes, some assistants will become available, and the right fit could be on one of those other staffs. An off the wall choice would be Byron Leftwich, who has limited coaching experience so far, but Arizona’s Harold Goodwin is very intriguing. So is Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing. If either is ready to leave their home on the west coast, the Patriots could come calling.

Defensive Coordinator

  • Brian Flores, New England Patriots LB Coach
  • Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants DC
  • Bill Sheridan, Detroit Lions LB Coach
  • Teryl Austin, Detroit Lions DC
  • Nick Rapone, Arizona Cardinals DB Coach
  • Rod Woodson, Oakland Raiders DB Coach

Again, the Patriots would likely remain internal in their search for a new defensive coordinator and Brian Flores would be the best pick. He may not even be available though, as the Arizona Cardinals have requested to interview him for their head coaching job. Flores has 14 seasons under his belt with New England though, and it seems like he’s been groomed for this job. In 2004 he joined the club as a scouting assistant, but he was promoted to the coaching staff in 2008. He served as a coaching assistant before again being promoted in 2010 to be an offensive assistant and special teams coach. In 2011 Flores became a defensive assistant. Shortly after, he was promoted again and became the team’s safeties coach. He held that title for 4 seasons, and 2017 was his second season as the linebackers coach.

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Players all seem to love Flores too. Safety Duron Harmon noted how prepared he always is, and it was clear right away that he was a special coach.

"“I would just say, first thing, he’s always prepared. Just working under him as my safety coach for my first three years, we were always prepared. He tried his best to put everybody in that room in the best position, always tried to get his players on the field and just literally had us ready to go each and every week.”"

Externally, the New England Patriots would be hard-pressed to find a coach that would fit in as well as Brian Flores already does. Again, the options come from teams where staffs are turning over and changes are happening like crazy. Teryl Austin and Nick Rapone seem to grab my attention the most though.

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It seems like the logical choice for New England to promote from within if they have to. The coaches on the staff now have been with the Patriots for a while, and their familiarity with Bill Belichick, the front office, and the players would be huge. Chad O’Shea and Brian Flores make the most sense, and either could be the head coach of the future as well when Belichick decides to hang up the hoodie one day. So, do you think the Patriots will have any major hiccups or issues in 2018 if they lose McDaniels, Patricia, or even both? Let me know what you think on Twitter @CandCFansided!