The New England Patriots’ coaching staff lost some considerable talent this offseason. One of the assistants to leave the organization this spring was wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea, who is now working as the offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins under neo-head coach Brian Flores. In order to fill O’Shea’s shoes, the Patriots decided to increase the responsibilities of special teams coach Joe Judge.
While Judge is the only wide receivers coach officially listed, he is not the only person working with the pass catchers: all spring and summer long, former Patriots wideout Troy Brown has also been with the club in a coaching capacity. While he does not hold an officially announced title and his responsibilities remain somewhat unclear, the 48-year-old was seen working extensively with the pass catchers on technique and route running during practice.
“Troy brings a lot of experience to this team based on his time here as a player and the experience that he had,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said about Brown during a conference call earlier this week. “Becoming one of the great Patriot players of all time — it didn’t start that way. It was a process for him and then sustaining it and then moving on and adjusting to life after football.”
Brown, of course, became one of the most prolific players in Patriots history during his fifteen seasons with the club. He appeared in 212 combined regular season and playoff games, helped the team win its first three Super Bowls, and posted some spectacular numbers along the way: Brown caught 615 passes for 7,080 yards and 33 touchdowns — all while also serving as one of the league’s most dangerous punt returners and even as a part-time defensive back.
Now, the Patriots Hall of Famer appears to be looking to add another chapter to his already impressive résumé. The club’s offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, certainly seems to welcome this step no matter what the official capacity of this yet-to-be-defined role will ultimately look like. After all, the two already worked together after McDaniels joined the Patriots as a low-level assistant coach in 2001.
“I had the great pleasure of coaching Troy for a few years towards the end of his career,” said McDaniels. “He’s one of the great Patriots of all time, obviously, and he has a wealth of information and knowledge and wisdom that he shares with the players. It’s difficult to really say how far that can really extend because he played. He played this game and he played here. He was coached by our staff and in our style, so the value he brings is significant.”
“He has a lot of great messages, he has a lot of good experience,” added Belichick when speaking about what the long-time Patriot can bring to the table nowadays. “Troy’s always been a smart, hardworking guy that puts the team first, will do whatever he can to help. I’m sure going forward he’ll help us in any way he can. We’ll see exactly what that amounts to — I’m not sure at this point.”
While the exact role has yet to be defined by his boss, McDaniels seems to be excited about having Brown around: “I’m really happy to have him here, and every role that he’s been asked to fill in this regard, he’s jumped at the chance. He continues to work with any of the guys in the receiving room or the punt returners or that sort of thing. He’s really helping our staff. I really love having him here.”
“Like I said, he was such a great influence on our team when he was a player, and he’s extended that now as he’s starting his career in this crazy profession called coaching,” continued McDaniels. And — who knows? — maybe this new career path will lead to Brown one day taking over the role once held by Chad O’Shea one way or another. He certainly appears to be on the right path, and the Patriots are likely better off because of it.