Every week SB Nation is asking their team sites to answer the same question. This week’s question: Which assistant coach on your team is most likely to become a head coach in the future? This is an easy one for the New England Patriots.
The New York Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo, the first head coaching domino to fall in 2017. Other coaches like Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, and Chicago Bears head coach John Fox should all be on the hot seat, too. There will be plenty of openings to lead these teams and the New England Patriots should be the first place these franchises look for a new head coach.
We already know offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is going to be the hottest ticket for the third-straight offseason and reports are already connecting him and Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio to the Giants jobs- “I'm just interested in the Dolphins right now,” McDaniels said when asked about the Giants post. “That's where my focus is at and that's where it's going to stay.”- and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will be one of the top five options, especially after this year’s defensive turnaround.
But those are easy and obvious picks. Who are the other future head coaches on the roster?
My next-top pick would be linebackers coach Brian Flores because of his extremely well-rounded history. He spent four seasons as a scout, three seasons with the special teams unit, one as an offensive assistant, and the past seven as the safeties and linebackers coach. He would really be able to understand how to construct a team and keep it competitive. The players love him and he’s the next in line to be the Patriots defensive coordinator if and when Patricia leaves.
With running backs coach Ivan Fears and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia not interested in head coaching jobs, my next few options also skew to the defensive side of the ball.
I think cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer deserves a lot of credit and could be the next linebackers coach if Flores is promoted. Boyer has been with the Patriots since 2006 (12 years!) and he’s coaches the defensive backs for the past nine seasons. He’s been with the team through some serious down times (2011) and for some pretty great times (pretty much everything other than 2011).
The Patriots rank 8th in passer rating against since the start of the 2012 season and Boyer’s ability to change personnel (albeit All Pro level personnel) on a seemingly annual basis should warrant him some attention.
And then there’s Stephen Belichick and Brian Belichick, who should be considered for no reason other than their last name.
I don’t know if McDaniels will return for yet another season in 2018 and he’s my clear top choice to be the next head coach from the Patriots coaching staff. Patricia and Flores seem destined for that same future, too.