When Josh McDaniels left the New England Patriots earlier this offseason to take over as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, he took some of his former colleagues with him. Three members of the Patriots’ offensive staff joined the team’s ex-coordinator in Las Vegas.
McDaniels poaching assistants was not unsurprising, but the comparatively high number of people he took with him raised some eyebrows around the New England media. After all, head coach Bill Belichick had previously spoken negatively about that practice. So, why would this be any different from his perspective?
Turns out, it was. As McDaniels noted during a media appearance at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, he asked for Belichick’s blessing before adding any Patriots assistants to his staff.
“I have great respect for Bill and that process. I spoke to him directly multiple times about any interest that I had in people that were there,” McDaniels said on Wednesday. “I’ll keep those conversations private, but you never want to do the wrong things relative to those things.
“Obviously, I feel very fortunate to have had an opportunity to add a few people that I’ve worked with before, specifically on the offensive side of the ball. But you try to do the right thing relative to communicating with him or with any other coach, for that matter, if you’re interested in somebody that works in their organization.”
Wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi, offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, and assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree all left the Patriots to take on roles on McDaniels’ new staff. Lombardi will serve as offensive coordinator, while Bricillo will again work with the O-line. Hardegree is the Raiders’ next quarterbacks coach.
The Patriots have announced no replacements just yet. They did bring back former special teams coordinator and New York Giants head coach Joe Judge as an offensive assistant, though. The expectation is that Judge and senior football advisor Matt Patricia will work closely with the offensive staff during the 2022 season.
As for McDaniels, he also touched on the opportunity Las Vegas presents and whether or not he felt the Patriots tried to keep him in the fold.
“To me, this was just an opportunity that I felt like I couldn’t pass up,” he said. “I’ve waited a long time to have an opportunity to do this. Wanted to really try to improve and take whatever time necessary I needed to try to do it really well, as best I could. I felt like I’ve done that. I don’t think they really owed that to me.
“They’ve done — I can’t even tell you how much they’ve done for me and my career, and my life, my family. What they’ve done for me, and the opportunities that they’ve given me, and what they’ve rewarded me with personally and professionally, there was no need to do anything like that. This was really a decision about what was best for me at this time and the challenge that I can take on here, in Vegas, and I’m excited to do that.”
Other than McDaniels, Lombardi, Bricillo and Hardegree, the Patriots also lost director of player personnel Dave Ziegler to the Raiders. Ziegler has since been replaced by college scouting director Matt Groh.
New England and Las Vegas are set to square off during the 2022 regular season.