Every New England Patriots fan knows our head honcho, Bill Belichick, as a defensive wizard. This can partially be credited to the 16 years he spent learning as a defensive assistant and coordinator, especially during the years under Bill Parcells. In fact, Belichick’s defensive game plan from Super Bowl 25, is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Even looking at the Patriot’s past 18 years, the offense has had two cornerstones of consistency and success with Belichick and Tom Brady, but the same cannot be said about the defense. This season marks a new wave of defensive faces and attitudes, all being led by Brian Flores.
The Patriots have had defensive captains that were critical to both the on and off field success of the team. Names like Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Vince Wilfork, and Jerod Mayo have been at the heart of the New England defense. More recently, Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty have been leading the charge under previous defensive coordinator, Matt Patricia. I’ll admit, though the defenses under Patricia had been frustrating at times, there were a lot of great moments we witnessed, and I will definitely miss that trademark beard and humble graphite pencil behind the ear. Patricia accepted the head coaching job of the Detroit Lions this past offseason, leaving a void in the defensive play caller position.
In steps Brian Flores, a native of Brooklyn, New York. Flores started his career in Massachusetts by playing linebacker at Boston College from 1999 to 2003. During his last year at Boston College, he tore his quadriceps muscle, further preventing his jump to the NFL. However, that injury might have been the best thing for Flores as he took a job as a scouting assistant with the Patriots in 2004. Since then, he has been through it all from scouting, special team assistant, defensive assistant, safeties coach, and his most recent position, linebackers coach. So, it is safe to say that Flores understands the Patriot Way — also known as the “fear based” or “no-fun” organization, right Lane Johnson? Like Belichick, Flores has paid his dues, learned from the best and has developed a tough, aggressive approach to his coaching and game planning.
While it is impossible to predict what kind defensive season the Patriots will have this in 2018, I do believe we are in good hands with Flores. Take it how you may, but in the preseason this year, the Patriots have registered 14 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, 3 interception, and 1 defensive touchdown. It is noticeable that our pass rush has improved, and it is great to see players like Derek Rivers, Adrian Clayborn, and Ja’Whaun Bentley making an impact early. Again, this is preseason where everything is speculation and optimism, but it is definitely an exciting time to see how Brian Flores will bring his flare to this team.