For the second year in a row, it appears likely that the New England Patriots will lose their top defensive coach: play caller and de facto coordinator Brian Flores is expected to become the next head coach of the Miami Dolphins after the Super Bowl. With the 37-year old headed to South Beach, New England will need to look for a new man to lead its defensive staff and the top candidate might be an old friend of head coach Bill Belichick.
According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and James Palmer, it appears “likely” that Greg Schiano joins the Patriots in what Rapoport describes as a “top defensive role.” As we already wrote two weeks ago, when news of Flores’ likely departure first came out, Schiano will probably be the most-discussed name in this process — even more so than preseason signal caller and defensive line coach Brendan Daly.
Schiano, after all, is among the select group of coaches in Bill Belichick’s circle of trust and out of a job since being let go as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator in early January. The 52-year old also comes with plenty of experience, including 11 years as the head coach at Rutgers — where he worked with Patriots defensive backs Devin McCourty, Jason McCourty, and Duron Harmon — and two in the same position for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Ultimately, however, we will have to wait and see: there is still an albeit unlikely chance that Brian Flores turns down an offer coming from a Dolphins team that is very much in flux at the moment from top to bottom. And even if Flores does leave the club, the Patriots might have other plans. Daly could still be in line to become defensive signal caller. Schiano might “just” join as a consultant/assistant. Bret Bielema’s role might change.
No matter what happens, it will be an interesting few weeks for the Patriots — even outside of the upcoming Super Bowl.