FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:
1. Rounding up OC candidates: This week, coach Invoice Belichick will start the method of interviewing candidates to turn into offensive coordinator, which is able to embrace not less than two exterior candidates who’re individuals of colour and/or a girl, as a part of the Rooney Rule.
Belichick is shifting away from the construction he carried out in 2022 through which he did not identify an official coordinator, as an alternative leaning on Matt Patricia and Joe Decide to supervise the offense regardless of their backgrounds in protection and particular groups, respectively.
It’s onerous to think about Belichick hiring an OC with whom he has no prior background or connection. It’s also onerous to think about Belichick permitting a coordinator to return in and run their very own system with out some crossover with what the Patriots have achieved previously.
One other issue: Whomever Belichick hires, there’s a vital hyperlink to the to-be-determined offensive line coach and the blocking schemes that will probably be taught, an space the place there appeared to be slippage in 2022.
Which NFL coaches match these classes? This is a glance:
Invoice O’Brien: The previous Patriots quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator (2009-2011) tasks as a number one candidate who uniquely checks each field. If he may get shut pal Doug Marrone (Saints OL coach) to affix him, it will be a decisive double dip. O’Brien’s former offensive line coach with the Texans, Mike Devlin, may additionally match; he’s at present an assistant OL coach in Baltimore.
Adam Gase: The previous Dolphins and Jets head coach has by no means labored for Belichick, however there’s loads of mutual respect, he has run an analogous offensive scheme and got here up below Nick Saban (a Belichick confidant), when he was head coach at Michigan State and LSU. Gase’s final OL coach with the Jets, Frank Pollack, now has that place with the Bengals.
Keenan McCardell: The present Vikings extensive receivers coach performed for Belichick with the Browns (1992-1995) and has spent the previous decade teaching receivers between the NFL and school. A leap to coordinator is perhaps steep, however pairing him with somebody with an OL background like Marrone — whom he coached below in Jacksonville (2017-2020) and has OL/blocking experience — could possibly be a pleasant complement.
Shawn Jefferson: An affiliate head coach/receivers coach below Gase with the Jets (2019-2020) and Kliff Kingsbury with the Cardinals (2022), he performed for the Patriots in 1996 when Belichick was an assistant on the employees. He has been teaching within the NFL since 2007.
Kliff Kingsbury: A 2003 sixth-round draft selection of the Patriots, he spent the previous 4 seasons as Cardinals coach earlier than being fired Monday. His offenses are notably totally different from what New England has run, however his data as a quarterback has transferred to the teaching ranks. Peter Schrager of Fox Sports activities reported Saturday that Kingsbury has instructed groups he isn’t serious about coordinator jobs in the mean time.
Doug Nussmeier: Presently serving because the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, he was Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama in 2012 and 2013. He performed quarterback (Saints’ fourth-rounder in 1994) earlier than getting into the teaching ranks, and has two years of teaching tight ends on his resume, so there’s some pure linkage with blocking schemes.
Nick Caley: The Patriots’ tight ends coach since 2017, he was handed over final yr in favor of the Patricia/Decide mixture. If Belichick didn’t assume he was prepared then, the query is that if issues can be totally different now.
2. Sudden announcement: The Patriots stunned many by asserting their intention to rent an offensive coordinator. Since when has the group turn into so clear? My take is that it made sense on a number of fronts: It was a manner for Belichick to publicly acknowledge his 2022 miscalculation (he had mentioned if it didn’t work out accountable him) and transfer ahead; it was a manner for the Patriots to decisively declare to the NFL that there received’t be a repeat of final yr’s course of, and the Rooney Rule will probably be adopted; it was a manner for proprietor Robert Kraft to speak straight with followers, with a hopeful message that issues will probably be totally different in 2023.
3. Mayo’s future: Likewise, the group’s announcement that it was negotiating with linebackers coach Jerod Mayo on an extension that will maintain him with the group long run was unprecedented. Belichick has mentioned that he isn’t large on titles, however it will likely be notable what he has in thoughts for Mayo. The final time Belichick had an assistant head coach on the masthead was 2013 with Dante Scarnecchia.
4. Decide No. 14: The Patriots have the 14th decide of the primary spherical because of their 8-9 end. In the event that they maintain the decide, it will likely be the fourth-highest choice in Belichick’s 24-year tenure — behind solely DL Richard Seymour (No. 6 in 2001), DL Ty Warren (No. 13 in 2003) and Mayo (No. 10, 2008, commerce from 49ers). One view of their present prime wants: OT, CB, WR.
5. Judon follow-up: Patriots exterior linebacker Matthew Judon completed sixth within the Related Press All-Professional voting at edge rusher, behind Nick Bosa, Micah Parsons, Myles Garrett, Haason Reddick and Maxx Crosby. That’s a loaded place — particularly with Parsons a part of it after being listed as a linebacker final yr — and right here’s one revered voter’s viewpoint on Judon: “He would’ve gotten my vote if he completed stronger down the stretch.”
6. Uche’s energy: Third-year defensive finish Josh Uche performed 33.1% of the defensive snaps this season in his area of interest pass-rushing position, up from 21.3% the season earlier than. His 11.5 sacks had been a significant improve from three in 2021, and Belichick shared perception on one cause for the spike.
“He’s developed extra of an influence rush,” Belichick mentioned on the “Patriots All Entry” tv present. “He has some good energy rushes that permit him to benefit from his quickness, and his potential to return up-and-under and dip inside, and people form of issues. If the tackles are too delicate on him, he’ll simply energy them again into the quarterback. That’s actually labored properly for him as a change-up this yr.”
7. Onwenu’s strong season: Patriots beginning proper guard Mike Onwenu was on tempo to play each snap this season earlier than the fourth quarter of Sunday’s season-finale in opposition to the Payments, when middle David Andrews was pushed down behind his legs. That knocked Onwenu out for six snaps, which was the one time he missed this season, as he checked in with a 99.4% clip. Onwenu, who completed third in AP All-Professional voting behind Dallas’ Zack Martin and Atlanta’s Chris Lindstrom, enters the final yr of his contract.
8. Did You Know, Half I: The Patriots completed with 54 sacks, essentially the most in Belichick’s tenure and fifth most in group historical past.
9. Did You Know, Half II: The Patriots had by no means allowed greater than two touchdowns of 40-plus yards in a recreation below Belichick previous to the 2022 season finale once they surrendered 4 of them (101, 96, 49 and 42 yards) to the Payments.
10. Did You Know, Half III: Quarterback Tom Brady, who leads the Buccaneers into motion in opposition to the visiting Cowboys on Monday evening (8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN+), has 35 profession playoff wins. That’s the identical complete because the Cowboys franchise. Solely the Patriots (37), Steelers (36) and Packers (36) have extra all-time playoff wins.