Yesterday, news broke that the New England Patriots and offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo will go in different directions in the future. DeGuglielmo coached the line since last year and helped transform the unit into a Super Bowl-winning one.
However, due to injuries and inexperience, the 2015 version of the line was one of the weakest position groups on the roster and it cost the team in the AFC Championship Game. As a consequence of this season, the Patriots now have to look for a new offensive line coach.
Let’s take a look at four names, that naturally will be linked to the open spot, and find out who will or won’t become the Patriots’ next offensive line coach.
The 40-year old Daboll currently works as the Patriots’ tight ends coach. He originally joined the club in 2000 as a defensive coaching assistant but switched to the offensive side of the ball in 2002, when he became wide receiver coach. In 2007, he followed former defensive coordinator Eric Mangini to the New York Jets as quarterbacks coach but after two years left to become offensive coordinator; first in Cleveland (2009-2010), then in Miami (2011) and Kansas City (2012).
After the Chiefs fired general manager Scott Pioli following the 2012 season, Daboll returned to Foxboro as a coaching assistant. During the 2013 season, he worked closely alongside Dante Scarnecchia but was not promoted to the position when the long-time offensive line coach retired after the year. Instead, DeGuglielmo was brought aboard and Daboll became tight ends coach.
With the offensive line coach position now vacant, filling it with Daboll would make a lot of sense.
The 28-year old son of head coach Bill Belichick spent the last four years as a coaching assistant with the Patriots. The younger Belichick originally played lacrosse at Rutgers before walking on to become long snapper in preparation of becoming a football coach. He did just that in 2012, when he joined his father’s team as a coaching assistant. Naturally, he has been a part of the organization before that, starting out as a ball boy before joining Rutgers.
While working mostly on the defensive side of the ball the last four seasons, Belichick has also been part of pre-draft evaluation and scouting. As a versatile member of the coaching staff, the move to the offensive side of the ball would make sense. However, said move might not be to fill the vacant line coach spot but – in case Daboll moves – rather to become the next tight ends coach.
Ferentz currently works as offensive line coach at Iowa. However, the 32-year old started his coaching career in Foxboro: in 2008, Ferentz joined the Patriots as a scouting assistant before becoming offensive coaching assistant the following year. Within the next two seasons, he worked his way up to become tight ends coach.
After the 2011 season, Ferentz left New England to join his father’s staff in Iowa and become the Hawkeyes' offensive line coach. Having experience at coaching the position as well as familiarity with the Patriots' blocking schemes, a move back to the NFL and to the organization with which his career began could be intriguing.
Brian Ferentz would be the second member of his family to work as offensive line coach under Bill Belichick: his father Kirk was the Cleveland Brown’s from 1993 to 1995.
Scarnecchia retired after the 2013 season and now assists the scouting department during the linemen-evaluation process. With him still having ties to the organization, could the 67-year old return to the sidelines as an offensive line coach? Doubtful.
When analyzing candidates with ties to the organization, Brian Daboll jumps out as the logical successor to Dave DeGuglielmo, with Brian Ferentz also worth keeping an eye on. However, as it did when it hired DeGuglielmo in the first place, the team could opt to look outside the building to find somebody. Recently fired NFL offensive line coaches Geep Chryst (San Francisco 49ers) and Hal Hunter (Indianapolis Colts) do not look like upgrades, though, and therefore would be surprises if hired by the Patriots.