Patriots respond after seemingly losing both coordinators


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Success comes with a price for the New England Patriots.

As the team looks to earn a trip to its third Super Bowl in the last four seasons, it is also looking at the strong possibility of losing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia after the playoffs.

Both of the team’s coordinators have been hot commodities among teams looking for new head coaches. Reports in the past week suggest McDaniels is going to be hired as the next coach of the Indianapolis Colts, while Patricia is reportedly going to be hired as head coach of the Detroit Lions.

In addition to Patricia and McDaniels, linebackers coach Brian Flores is a candidate for the head coaching vacancy with the Arizona Cardinals.

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It’s not unusual for successful teams to lose coordinators to other teams, but losing offensive and defensive coordinators at the same time happens much less frequently.

Yet most people, including members of the Patriots team, don’t expect the loss of McDaniels and Patricia to have a significant impact on the chances of New England’s success going forward, for one reason: the presence of head coach Bill Belichick and the consistency he has brought to the way the Patriots prepare for opponents.

“I mean, I believe so,” Patriots safety Duron Harmon told NBC Sports Boston. “The culture is built. This is two decades of winning. A winning franchise. Coach Belichick is going to make sure whoever is in the defensive room is going to be the right guy to display the message and the picture that he wants his defense to play with. That goes through the defensive coordinator, whoever he hires.”

Harmon admitted it hurts to lose coordinators like Patricia and McDaniels, both of whom have held their current titles since 2012.

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“It’s important,” Harmon said of having consistency on staff. “Not only is it important coming from the defensive coordinator, but it’s important coming from the head coach. Coach Belichick does a great job of always portraying the message he wants, and how he wants his team to play, and it goes through the coordinators and then to the position coaches and then to the players. I think the consistency is not always built straight from the defensive coordinator. I think Coach Belichick does a great job of doing that as well.”

Special teams player Matthew Slater said Belichick sets the tone that his staff and the players adopt.

“Whenever you’re trying to get something done professionally, to be able to have consistent leadership and foundation upon which to build is important,” Slater said. “A consistent message, understanding what you’re trying to get done. And we’re fortunate not only with Josh but obviously Coach Belichick and the rest of our coaching staff.

“That consistency with the character of the coach, with the message of the coach, with what he demands of you is important because it helps set a standard. And then when players come in you say, ‘OK this is what’s expected of me and anything less is not going to be good enough.'”

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While it will be interesting to see how the Patriots respond to the loss of McDaniels and Patricia, it will also be interesting to see how the two coordinators fare as head coaches.

Belichick has had several coordinators leave the Patriots to take head coaching positions, but few of them have had success at the next level. Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini and Bill O’Brien were all coordinators under Belichick at New England who failed to have prolonged success as head coaches; O’Brien, who is 31-33 in four years with the Texans, is the only one still employed as an NFL head coach.

McDaniels has left the Patriots once before to become a head coach, taking the helm of the Denver Broncos. He lasted only two seasons, going 12-20 despite winning his first six games.

Ironically, Belichick’s one unsuccessful stint as an NFL head coach — the five seasons he coached the Cleveland Browns — produced the most successful member of his coaching tree. Nick Saban was the defensive coordinator for the Browns from 1991 to 1994. He went on to win six national titles — five with Alabama and one with LSU.

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Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. A native of Milwaukee, he currently resides in Phoenix.
Scott Kelnhofer is a writer for The Western Journal and Conservative Tribune. He has more than 20 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism. A native of Milwaukee, he has resided in Phoenix since 2012.
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