Monday Morning Quarterback writer Tim Rohan authored a very interesting background piece on New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Patricia is a former engineer (Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering) that decided he wanted to coach football instead of build rocketships. The Patriots defensive coordinator apparently earned the trust of Belichick by changing the way the head coach reviewed game tape, saving Belichick “two to three hours” every day with spreadsheets and analysis.
Patricia almost wasn’t hired by the Patriots. In fact, after Patricia did a good job during the interview process, Belichick offered him a job, but Patricia hesitated to respond by saying he needed to consult his wife. The Patriots pulled the offer, questioning his commitment and thought Patricia “wouldn’t fit their culture.”
Patricia asked his friend Nick Carparelli, the former Director of Operations for the Patriots, to call Belichick and make the head coach reconsider. Carparelli told MMQB how the conversation went.
“What’s up with this kid Matt Patricia? Should I hire him?”
“Is he going to flake out on me? Does he really want the job? Or is he going to leave midseason?”
“Coach, trust me.”
“Nick,” Belichick said, “if I hire this kid and it doesn’t work out, I’m going to kill you.”
Needless to say, the hiring worked out. Patricia has led a defense that ranked in the top 10 in points allowed in all five of his seasons as defensive coordinator. Patricia is a rising star in the coaching communities and well liked by his players for the work and effort he puts in on a weekly basis.
Former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo said having Patricia relaying information into his helmet “was like having a cheat sheet for the exam,” while former Patriots left tackle Matt Light asked, ““If [Patricia] can look at a rocket and figure out how the thrust is going to interact with the gravitational force, he can look at the opponent’s scheme and get fairly creative, right?”
After what appeared to be a “coming of age” 2015 season, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick decided to make Patricia coach on Hard Mode in 2016, shipping away two of the best defenders in Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins. But that hasn’t led Patricia to resent Belichick in what could have (should have?) been the year Patricia was atop all the coaching choice lists.
Instead, Patricia told his dad “that he was content staying in New England. He had built a life here.” He had family nearby and his dad “wondered why he would be in a hurry to leave Belichick’s side.”
“Where else can you go,” Patricia’s dad ask, “where every year you’re in the playoffs, you’re with top talent, and you’re with probably the best NFL coaches to come along in a long time … and you can learn from that guy?”
Patricia knows that he’s in a good situation and isn’t in a rush to be a head coach for the sake of being a head coach. In a year with plenty of defensive turnover, retaining the defensive coordinator for another season or two could be considered a small victory.