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What retaining Brian Belichick as safeties coach means for the Patriots

One of Bill Belichick’s sons will stay in New England.

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

From the top down, the New England Patriots’ coaching staff will look a lot different in 2024. There are a few exceptions, though, and one of them was just confirmed to stay put with the club: Brian Belichick, an assistant coach since 2017, will return even after watching his father and brother leave the organization over the last month.

Belichick staying put appears to be good news for a Patriots team in turnover, so let’s assess what it means from a big-picture perspective.

One major question at the safety position has been answered

The quality at the safety spot is a big reason why the Patriots’ defense has been one of the best in the business over the last few years. Coaching plays a big role in that.

Belichick has led the group since 2020, after a prior three-year stint working as a defensive assistant. Since then, he has coached some of the best players in recent Patriots history: Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips, Kyle Dugger and Jabrill Peppers all worked under — and were developed by — the young assistant coach.

Him staying put means that there is one fewer thing to worry about for the organization, especially with Kyle Dugger headed for unrestricted free agency and Adrian Phillips a cap casualty candidate. The personnel on the field might change, but the coaching is at least staying intact.

Kyle Dugger might have increased motivation to return

As we have mentioned before, money is the deciding factor in free agency. However, when two teams end up offering the same amount the little details can make a big difference — little details such as the same position coach staying in place.

Will Brian Belichick’s return positively influence Kyle Dugger’s first ever trip to the to the open market? That will be seen, but it probably doesn’t hurt. And at the very least, it eliminated a potential suitor should Belichick have left for another team in need of a starting-caliber safety.

The Patriots will have some stability on defense

New England’s coaching staff, as noted above, is experiencing some major turnover this offseason in light of long-time head coach Bill Belichick departing. The defense, however, is staying relatively intact when it comes to its coaching personnel.

Yes, DeMarcus Covington has been promoted from defensive line coach to defensive coordinator prompting the team to hire ex-Green Bay Packers assistant Jerry Montgomery to fill that void.

Yes, Jerod Mayo has been promoted to head coach, leaving the unit without one of its quasi-co-defensive coordinators and a linebacker coach.

Yes, Steve Belichick left for the University of Washington, leaving the unit without its other quasi-co-defensive coordinator and linebacker coach.

However, the overall stability is still solid compared to the changes on offense and in the kicking game. Both Covington and Mayo remain with the organization in more prominent roles, while Brian Belichick is staying put to presumably coach the safeties again. The belief also is that Mike Pellegrino, the Patriots’ cornerbacks coach since 2019, will be back.

Had Belichick left, Pellegrino might have been the only assistant coach from 2023 to return in his previous role. Now, at least two are and they are both working in the same area of the defense.

The Patriots-Belichick relationship is not broken

What went down behind the scenes to let to the Patriots and Bill Belichick mutually parting ways last month is anybody’s guess. When the split was officially announced at a press conference at Gillette Stadium, however, it appeared to be an amicable one: both Belichick and owner Robert Kraft gave the impression that it simply was time to go their separate ways moving forward.

Whether that is an accurate representation of both men’s feelings is up for debate; press conference tend to not always reflect the truth. However, judged by Brian Belichick staying with the organization in lieu of both his dad and older brother, the split appears not to have created a fractured relationship between the Kraft and Belichick families.