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Intelligence, passion among defining traits of new Patriots defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington

Deatrich Wise Jr. explains what makes Covington suited to be the Patriots’ next DC.

NFL: AUG 29 Preseason - Giants at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The last time the New England Patriots had an official defensive coordinator, Deatrich Wise Jr. had just joined the club as a fourth-round draft pick. The year was 2017, and Matt Patricia was in his sixth and final season holding that title.

Over the next six years, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opted not to name a coordinator on that side of the ball. His successor, recently-promoted Jerod Mayo, has opted to bring change to the operation in that regard: he named defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington as his new DC.

Wise Jr. worked closely with Covington over the last four years, and is convinced the 34-year-old is the right man for the job.

“DeMarcus Covington is a very intelligent coach,” the veteran defensive lineman told MassLive. “Being able to read offenses and he’s always been able to break down other teams to be prepared for them. He’s a very intelligent coach. Very passionate coach. Loves to give speeches to the team and get everybody fired up.”

Covington joined the Patriots the same offseason as Wise Jr., arriving as a coaching assistant after a one-year stint as co-defensive coordinator at Eastern Illinois. In 2019, he was promoted to outside linebackers coach before moving into his most recent job one season later.

After overseeing the defensive line for four years, Covington was chosen by Jerod Mayo as his defensive coordinator.

“He’s the type of guy that always points out things that we are good at,” said Wise Jr. about his now-former position coach. “The speeches are always motivating. For us to continue doing great things ....

“That’s what he’s he’s really good at: bringing the best out of guys. Motivating them. He brings the best out of guys when he speaks. Very passionate. Not very loud, but when he does speak, his voice is heard.”

Covington does have some big shoes to fill, though.

One of the best units in the league, the Patriots defense was led jointly by Mayo and since-departed Steve Belichick over the last few years. Belichick served as play caller, a role that is now expected to go to the first-year coordinator.

Time will tell whether he is ready for the change. Wise Jr., however, seems convinced that he will be ready to pick up where the Mayo-Belichick combo left off.