One of the hallmarks of the New England Patriots’ recent run of success — winning three Super Bowl titles in a five-year span — is the stability of the team’s coaching staff in all three phases of the game. In this regard, the 2019 offseason might prove to be a challenging one for the reigning world champions: a total of six position and assistant coaches have opted to leave New England following the club’s victory in Super Bowl 53.
Four of the coaches were lost to the Miami Dolphins. Defensive play caller Brian Flores is the club’s new head coach and brought along three of his former Patriots colleagues in wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea (Dolphins offensive coordinator), assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski (Dolphins assistant quarterbacks coach) and cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer (Dolphins passing game coordinator/cornerbacks coach).
Furthermore, Brendan Daly — the Patriots’ defensive line coach — left to join the Kansas City Chiefs as their running game coordinator and defensive line coach. Offensive assistant Atif Austin, meanwhile, has reportedly decided to to join Northern Illinois as its new running backs coach. Change is in the air in New England, and while the club has not yet announced its plans to fill the six vacancies there have been some reports.
Ex-Rutgers coach Greg Schiano is expected to become the new defensive coordinator, with Mick Lombardi and Carmen Bricillo projected to join New England’s offensive staff in assistant roles. And according to a recent report by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, another coach might join the ranks of Patriots offensive coaches — one already on the club’s staff: special teams coach Joe Judge is considered for an offensive role.
Judge, who joined New England in 2012, is serving as the team’s kicking game coordinator since 2015. But while his most recent work has been in the game’s third phase, the 37-year old has a history working on the offensive side of the football: Judge played quarterback in high school and served in a backup role at Mississippi State. His coaching career, however, has been primarily focused on special teams.
Despite his relative lack of experience, a potential move to the offensive staff — possibly to fill O’Shea’s former role coaching the wide receivers — might be positive for his career advancement. After all, special teams coordinators rarely leave the field to right away become NFL head coaches; the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh, who moved from special teams to coaching defensive backs before getting hired by Baltimore, a recent exception.
If New England indeed alters Judge’s responsibilities, his assistant might get a bigger role. Cameron Achord joined the Patriots last offseason to replace the departed Raymond Ventrone. Achord, whose roles at Southwest Mississippi Community College included offensive coordinator, special teams coordinator, quarterbacks, running backs and tight ends coach, as well as recruiting coordinator, could get a bigger workload now.