Going to completely honest with you all:
This better be a case of “Bill Belichick leaves no stone unturned”.
According to NBC Sports Boston’s Gary Tanguay, the Patriots are expected to interview Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator and head-coach-actually-JK-we-changed-our-minds of the Tennessee Volunteers (which is a whole other topic for another day). The Patriots want to talk to Schiano about taking over at defensive coordinator once Matt Patricia takes over head coaching duties for the Detroit Lions.
Per source, Greg Schiano is expected to interview for the Patriot’s defensive coordinator position when Patricia goes to Detroit.— Gary Tanguay (@Gary_Tanguay) February 2, 2018
This flies square in the face of everything we’ve heard so far about Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores more or less having the inside track to the defensive coordinator position, especially when Arizona decided to roll with Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks over Flores as their new head coach.
As far as we know, the Patriots lifer that the guys call “Flo” didn’t have any other coaching interviews on the table. So, with all due respect to what your grandpa says about assuming things, the assumption was that Flores was destined to move up on one side of the ball or the other, with defensive coordinator seeming like a slam dunk.
Here’s the deal: this report had better be Bill Belichick doing a solid to pump the stock for an old buddy that’s hooked the Patriots up with a boatload of talent over the years, because, objectively speaking, Schiano’s time in the NFL was an irredeemable nightmare.
Not only did Schiano lose 21 games in 2 seasons, and not only did he earn league-wide “are you serious, bro?” for his defense blitzing on victory-formation kneeldowns, but he managed to piss off nearly everyone who played for him at the same time. In only two years, keep in mind.
I mean, at least when Rex Ryan was losing 10 games a year, his guys still liked him, right?
Let’s take a look at how Greg Schiano’s defenses in Tampa Bay worked out in 2012 and 2013:
Points per game allowed
2012: 24.6 (23rd in NFL)
2013: 24.3 (21st in NFL)
Yards per game allowed
2012: 379.9 (29th in NFL)
2013: 348.0 (17th in NFL)
How about sacks and picks? Those are good, right?
2012: 27 (tied for 29th in NFL)
2013: 35 (tied for 23rd in NFL
2012: 18 (tied for 8th in NFL)
2013: 21 (tied for 3rd in NFL)
So, nicely done on the picks, everything else...not great, Bob.
And to pile on that, here’s ex-Buc and current Seahawk defensive end Michael Bennett on what made playing for Schiano a nightmare:
“I think he just wants to flex his power,” Bennett says. “He has small (man’s) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there’s not much respect for him in that locker room.”
If that made you think “Huh, sounds an awful lot like Josh McDaniels in Denver”, you wouldn’t be too far off.
Now stack that side by side with what the league is saying about Brian Flores as a possible head coach/coordinator:
Anonymous NFC executive:
“He’s a connector. He connects and motivates players at a really high level. He’s really sharp when you talk to him. Disciplined. He’s going to be a head coach someday. I don’t even think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he could succeed Bill Belichick in New England in a few years. He could be the guy.”
Patriots Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty:
“Flo says it all the time, whenever we get in these big games, whether it’s playoffs or a big division game, he always says, ‘One play at a time,’” safety Devin McCourty said. “… Human nature [is] that your mind starts to drift, and you start thinking this, and he says, ‘You’ve got to just lock in. One play at a time.’ And not let the moment take over and get too big, or if a bad play happens … just move on to the next play, good or bad, and just continue to do that for the whole game. And I think that has really resonated with me.”
On a feel-good note, Flo also worked his way up from being a glorified scouting intern sleeping in an attic in the early 2000s all the way to where he is now - and he’s been with the Patriots ever since, working on both sides of the ball as an assistant coach and position coach since 2008.
You tell me which one seems better suited to take over a coordinator spot once this season’s over.