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How will the Patriots replace departed wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi?

Related: Raiders set to hire former Patriots assistants Mick Lombardi and Carmen Bricillo to offensive staff

NFL: DEC 18 Patriots at Colts Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots’ offensive staff suffered another hit over Super Bowl weekend. After already losing coordinator Josh McDaniels and assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree to the Las Vegas Raiders, two more assistants followed them: wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo.

Bricillo will work with the Raiders O-line, while Lombardi will be the team’s offensive coordinator under head coach McDaniels. The Patriots, meanwhile, will have to replace both of them.

We already looked at the possible options to coach the offensive line, now let’s dive into candidates to fill the wide receiver spot.

Troy Brown: Brown is the leading candidate to take over Lombardi’s old role after already working alongside him last season. While the 50-year-old is only coming off his second season as an NFL assistant coach, and first helping coach wide receivers, he does have considerable experience: Brown spent his entire 15-year career with the Patriots and is one of the most prolific wideouts in franchise history.

Tyler Hughes: Coming off his second season as an offensive assistant, Hughes could be in line to see a bigger role in 2022. Whether that might include working with the wide receivers remains to be seen — he has some experience in this area from his time at Snow College — but the team could certainly promote him if it feels comfortable in his abilities.

Joe Judge: When the Patriots re-hired Judge earlier this month, they gave him the relatively vague title of offensive assistant. Given his history, however, he too could be considered for the now-vacant wideout spot: the 40-year-old already coached the position group for one season in 2019. There is a chance he takes over a similar role again as part of his responsibilities.

Chad O’Shea: If the Patriots want to look outside the organization to replace Lombardi, former wideouts coach O’Shea might be an option. The Cleveland Browns’ current wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator already spent 10 seasons in New England between 2009 and 2018. Given his ex-team’s fluid personnel situation, he might see an opportunity for himself with the Patriots.

At the end of the day, it seems likely that Troy Brown will take over as New England’s wide receivers coach in 2022. The three-time Super Bowl champion has considerable experience and already worked with the position last season; promoting him would not lead to too much turnover and would be a natural move.

Obviously, though, the team has options — starting with Joe Judge. It would not be a surprise to see the Patriots’ former special teams coordinator serve as a jack-of-all-trades for New England’s offensive staff. In that role, he would be an assistant to Brown or whoever else eventually takes over for Mick Lombardi.