By: Russ Goldman
With the loss to the Jets, a major topic this week has been the youth of the coaching staff, and the lack of coordinators. At first glance you might think Bill Belichick has taken it too far with so many coaches being promoted within on his coaching staff. Young coaches Bill O’Brien and Matt Patricia are thought to be the the coordinators without the titles. Well, I took a closer look at the staff and I came up with an interesting conclusion. Belichick’s coaches actually come from inside and outside of the organization. There is also much more experience on this staff than most people think.
One of the qualities that I have admired about Belichick is that he develops young coaches from an early age, and brings them through the organization. The most notable would have to be how Josh McDaniels started at the bottom, and worked his way up to eventually becoming offensive coordinator.
Belichick as a young coach was given his first coaching job on the Baltimore Colts staff under Ted Marchibroda. Belichick paid his dues at an early age, and I believe keeps passing it forward to young coaches.
However, the Patriots current coaching staff is not just made up of young coaches. Let’s start with the most senior of coaches in Dante Scarnecchia. His title is assistant head coach/offensive line for the Patriots. Dante has been a coach with the Patriots for 26 years. The Pats do have a veteran coach on the offensive side of the ball.
Also, you have running backs coach Ivan Fears who has been with the Patriots for 13 years. He originally came to the Patriots during the Dick MacPherson years. He left in 1993 to become a coach with the Chicago Bears. He came back to the Patriots in 1999.
On the defensive side of the ball you have two former players for Belichick on the staff. Pepper Johnson has been on the Patriots staff for 10 seasons. He is currently the Defensive Line Coach.
Corwin Brown is in his first season as a coach with the Patriots. He has been a coach at the College and Professional level since 2001. He has a very interesting title. In his bio it lists him as Defensive Coach. Many Pats fans might remember him when he was a player during the Bill Parcells years. Last season he was the Defensive Coordinator for Notre Dame.
Special teams coach Scott O’Brien has 16 years of NFL coaching experience. He is in his first with the Patriots. The last two seasons he was with the Denver Broncos as Special Teams Coach.
Now let’s take a look at the two coaches that seem to have the job of coordinators without the titles.
First, Bill O’Brien has been a coach for a long time. He started his coaching career in 1993 as an assistant at Brown. He then moved on to coach at three ACC schools and they were Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke. His final ACC job was offensive coordinator at Duke for two seasons. He coached 14 seasons before coming to the Pats. He began his Patriots tenure in 2007. He is currently the Quarterbacks Coach for the Patriots.
Second, Matt Patricia is the Linebackers Coach. Before coming to the Patriots he spent 6 seasons at the College level at three different schools getting valuable coaching experience. He is now in his 6th season with the Patriots coaching staff.
In concluding, if you really analyze the Pats coaching staff you will see a real mix of youth and experience. Belichick has promoted from within, but many of these coaches had coaching experience prior to coming to the Patriots. So, if you don’t think Bill O’Brien or Matt Patricia are doing there job it certainly is not from a lack of experience.
The only proper conclusion I can come up with is that Bill Belichick has not gone too far with promoting from within. These coaches earned their role with the Patriots. You want to know why I think that? If Bill Belichick trusts them with his offense and defense that is good enough for me, and I think as the season goes on we’ll see more improvement from both sides of the ball.