The New England Patriots’ trip to Las Vegas will come to an end on Thursday night, with the East-West Shrine Bowl taking place to cap a week’s worth of practices.
Led by stand-in head coach Troy Brown, the Patriots’ staff was coaching one of the two all-star squads competing in the game. During his final media availability before the contest, Brown touched on its importance to participating players and talent evaluators alike.
“It’s a job interview,” he said. “It’s all evaluations. That’s why we’re here. Obviously, to help coach the team but we got a chance to do our evaluations, too, while we’re here. And that’s what it’s all about. One of the biggest reasons that we’re coaching in this game and that they’re playing is to have a chance to have us evaluate them, and have the other 31 teams evaluate them as well and see how well they do.”
The Patriots worked with West team throughout the week, and will try to coach it to victory on Thursday. While not every member of the staff was equally active — Bill Belichick and his most senior assistants served as supervisors rather than coaches — the experience has been a valuable one.
The players take center stage in this process, but Brown himself was also appreciative of the opportunity. Usually the Patriots’ wide receivers coach, the 51-year-old got a taste of what life as a head coach entails.
“It has been great. Some challenges, but it’s been great. It’s just a lot of things I didn’t know that the head coach has to take care of and deal with. But it’s been a good experience for me to be here and be the head coach of the West team,” he said before making sure to shoutout his assistants for the week.
“I would say that without the great assistant coaches it would have been near impossible just to come here and coach. That’s another valuable lesson learned for me ... you’re as good as the people around you.”