In light of several assistant coaches leaving for the Las Vegas Raiders, the New England Patriots’ staff on the offensive side of the ball will look quite different this year. One of the changes involves moving former coaching assistant Ross Douglas from defense to offense.
While his official title has yet to be announced — as is the same with other assistants on head coach Bill Belichick’s staff — Douglas confirmed this week that he will be working with the Patriots’ wide receiver group.
“I am working with the receivers and it’s been a pleasure to work with these guys,” he told reporters during a media conference call. “We will continue to get better every single day.”
Douglas gave little insight into his actual responsibilities or title, instead referring to Belichick and the team’s rules. However, he at least acknowledged that he has made the transition to offense.
Then again, he pointed out that he would not even call it that.
“At the end of the day, when you’re on defense, you’re scouting, you break down offenses all day,” he said. “So, you kind of have an idea — I’m a secondary coach, so I watched wideouts every single day — of splits, different techniques versus press, off, certain ways to get out of breaks, catching the ball, whether it’s wide open or in traffic.
“It’s just a big change when you talk about offense to defense, but me, in my role last year, I was just studying offense so much. I don’t think it will be a big transition. Coaching football is coaching football, so you just have to dive in head-first and get to it.”
Douglas arrived in New England in 2020 as part of an NFL Coaching Fellowship, focusing on the defensive side of the ball.
However, this year’s pre-draft cycle already suggested that his role might have changed: he was spotted helping run wide receiver drills both at Georgia’s and Penn State’s pro days. The Patriots, of course, were in need of a new receivers coach after Mick Lombardi left to join former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas.
Douglas will not be solely responsible for the group — Troy Brown, who was listed as “wide receivers, kick returners” in 2021 is still around — but he will still play a part in the developmental process.
That is a new experience for the 27-year-old, who spent both his playing and coaching careers on defense. After serving as a linebacker/safety hybrid at Michigan and Rutgers, Douglas turned to coaching and worked in player development and as a defensive assistant for the Scarlet Knights. He later became a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the ball, and worked specifically with Rutgers’ secondary.
Douglas then briefly joined Richmond as its new cornerbacks coach, but just a short time later packed his bags to move to New England. Now, he made another move albeit within one organization.
As can be seen, change has been a constant for Douglas recently. However, it seems that he will be taking the move from offense to defense in stride as well.