Maybe some of the most important players aren't drafted. Maybe they're the people who do the grooming.
I'm talking about the coaches.
Over the past decade, it's been obvious that the New England Patriots have had the most desirable staffs in the entire NFL. There has been a total of 25 coaching changes this past decade. That's an average of 2.5 a year. For a team where consistency is important, these coaching changes could have had a much larger impact on the Patriots' success. Overall, it seems that the team has done pretty well adjusting to new personnel and new positions.
Since I can't really put a table on the front page, go after the jump to see everything!
Click the link to download my data from this whole series: Patriots Staff
|HC||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick||Bill Belichick|
|OC||Charlie Weis||Charlie Weis||Charlie Weis||Charlie Weis||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels|
|QB||Charlie Weis||Charlie Weis||John Hufnagel||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels||Josh McDaniels||Bill O'Brien||Bill O'Brien|
|RB||Charlie Weis||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears||Ivan Fears|
|WR||Ivan Fears||Brian Daboll||Brian Daboll||Brian Daboll||Brian Daboll||Nick Caserio||Nick Caserio||Bill O'Brien||Chad O'Shea||Chad O'Shea|
|O-Line||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia||Dante Scarneccia|
|TE||Jeff Davidson||Jeff Davidson||Jeff Davidson||Jeff Davidson||Pete Mangurian||Pete Mangurian||Pete Mangurian||Pete Mangurian||Shane Waldron||Brian Ferentz|
|DC||Romeo Crennel||Romeo Crennel||Romeo Crennel||Romeo Crennel||Eric Mangini||Eric Mangini||Dean Pees||Dean Pees||Dean Pees|
|D-Line||Randy Melvin||Romeo Crennel||Romeo Crennel||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson|
|ILB||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Pepper Johnson||Dean Pees||Dean Pees||Dean Pees||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia|
|OLB||Rob Ryan||Rob Ryan||Rob Ryan||Dean Pees||Dean Pees||Dean Pees||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia||Matt Patricia|
|DB||Eric Mangini||Eric Mangini||Eric Mangini||Eric Mangini||Joel Collier||Joel Collier||Joel Collier||Dom Capers||Josh Boyer||Josh Boyer|
|ST||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Brad Seely||Scott O'Brien||Scott O'Brien|
Bill Belichick. 0 changes. Great success.
Two changes: Charlie Weis -> Josh McDaniels -> No one. I believe that the Patriots weren't ready, as an organization, for McDaniels to leave so early. And were unable to groom an adequate replacement in time. It also appears as if the Quarterback Coach position is the coach to be if you want to be the next offensive coordinator. Let's hope that Bill O'Brien really can step up. I would say that our offense has been tremendous every year, but the decision making this past season was obviously conducted by a rookie coach.
Started out as Charlie Weis. After a poor 2002 season, the organization realized that they needed an actual coach to help Tom Brady. Hufnagel was a change of pace, but Josh McDaniels really unleashed Brady. After McDaniels became offensive coordinator, Bill O'Brien was his replacement.
Running Backs Coach:
Basically Ivan Fears. He's done a great job with the players given to him.
Wide Receivers Coach:
Fears -> Brian Daboll -> Nick Caserio -> Bill O'Brien -> Chad O'Shea. This crew has had to deal with good talent, bad talent and elite talent throughout the decade. None had it more different than Caserio, who had the 2006 season with Reche Caldwell AND the 2007 season with Randy Moss and Wes Welker. I would say that our receiver play has been excellent this entire decade, but whether that's the coaching of the players or the offensive schemes that maximize their talent, that's up in the air. I would lean to "offensive schemes" judging on how Patriots wide receivers have performed after their tenure with the Pats.
Offensive Line Coach:
Dante Scarneccia. Is that enough said? The best in the business.
Tight End Coach:
During Davidson's and Mangurian's tenure, our tight ends always succeeded. Whether they played a bigger part in receiving (Davidson) or blocking (Mangurian), they always did well. However, at the end of Mangurian's time, leading into Shane Waldron, our tight ends disappeared from our offense. It was clear this past season that the offense didn't trust giving the ball to the tight ends and I think some of that distrust lies upon the tight end coach's shoulders for not preparing his players to be ready. Hopefully Brian Ferentz (most likely to be named TE coach) will be able to maximize the talent of the young (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) and the old (Alge Crumpler).
Romeo Crennel -> Eric Mangini -> Dean Pees -> ?
Crennel was responsible for creating a defensive monster. Mangini made it dangerous. Pees let the bite slip away. As our defense began to slip away in favor of a more explosive offense, our defensive coaching seemed to become less and less of a strength.
Defensive Line Coach:
Randy Melvin -> Romeo Crennel -> Pepper Johnson. Crennel double dipped as the defensive coordinator and the defensive line coach, which was important as our team transitioned into the 3-4 defense; it's important that the defensive mind in charge help with the most important players on defense. Maybe that's why Belichick is now helping our with the defense and has not named a DC?
For the first part of the decade, the Patriots had a tandem of Pepper Johnson (pre- D-Line coach) and Rob Ryan. These guys did a fantastic job working with our Super Bowl defenses. Ryan leaves, Johnson moves to the D-Line and Dean Pees steps in as LB coach and the Patriots win another Super Bowl. However, after that moment, our defenses started to slip. They weren't as impressive. Since 2007 (great year!), Matt Patricia has been doing his best to make our defenses strong again. While he hasn't been given the best of product to work with (Jerod Mayo was his only early round pick), it's clear that the Patriots have been trying to upgrade the linebacker position through the draft. Hopefully Patricia can make our linebackers another strength.
Defensive Backs Coach:
Eric Mangini did a phenomenal job with our defensive backs. Joel Collier did a good job with Asante Samuel. Dom Capers did nothing. Hopefully Josh Boyer can do a great job with our young defensive backs now.
Special Teams Coach:
The Patriots hadn't had to change this position until this past year. There wasn't a real noticeable change. Hopefully, our return game returns sometime soon and we do a better job in the punting game.
List of former coaches and new roles:
|OC||Charlie Weis||HC Notre Dame||OC Kansas City Chiefs|
|OC||Josh McDaniels||HC Denver Broncos|
|QB||John Hufnagel||OC New York Giants|
|QB||Bill O'Brien||Current Patriots QB Coach|
|RB||Ivan Fears||Current Patriots RB Coach|
|WR||Brian Daboll||QB New York Jets||OC Cleveland Browns|
|Nick Caserio||Current Patriots Director of Pro Personnel|
|Chad O'Shea||Current Patriots WR Coach|
|O-Line||Dante Scarneccia||Current Patriots O-Line Coach|
|TE||Jeff Davidson||OC Cleveland Browns||OC Carolina Panthers|
|Pete Mangurian||O-Line Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Shane Waldron||TE Coach Hartford Colonials|
|DC||Romeo Crennel||HC Cleveland Browns||DC Kansas City Chiefs|
|Eric Mangini||HC New York Jets||HC Cleveland Browns|
|Dean Pees||LB Baltimore Ravens|
|D-Line||Randy Melvin||D-Line Cleveland Browns|
|Pepper Johnson||Current Patriots D-Line Coach|
|LB||Rob Ryan||DC Oakland Raiders||DC Cleveland Browns|
|Matt Patricia||Current Patriots LB Coach|
|DB||Joel Collier||Assistant General Manager Kansas City Chiefs|
|Dom Capers||DC Green Bay Packers|
|Josh Boyer||Current Patriots DB Coach|
|ST||Brad Seely||ST Cleveland Browns|
|Scott O'Brien||Current Patriots ST Coach|
Looking at the list, 11 out of the 16 coaches who left being a Patriots position coach have either become a head coach, a coordinator or an upper management worker. That's almost 70%. Clearly, our coaching staff has done a great job of preparing themselves for lead roles.
Hopefully, we continue that trend.