Patriots OC search shows Bill Belichick’s comfort trumps all

Everything is on maintain as we await white smoke to rise over One Patriot Place signaling an precise, real-life homosapien has been chosen to run the Patriots offense with a title and every little thing similar to you’ve got seen on TV.

When that information drops, we’ll deep dive into both: A) why the hiring of Bill O’Brien means the Patriots are again in it or, B) why the Patriots could not get Bill O’Brien.

As we wait, we will credit score the Patriots for casting a wider internet at OC than they did final offseason once they solid no internet at all.

But the web nonetheless ain’t massive. If you are not a good friend of Bill B., you needn’t apply.

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Every particular person screened has some sort of Belichickian tie. Former Patriots OT Adrian Klemm was a second-round draft selection of the Patriots in 2000. Keenan McCardell performed for Belichick in Cleveland. Shawn Jefferson performed wideout for the Patriots within the mid-to-late ’90s and overlapped with Belichick in 1996. Nick Caley has been on employees since 2015 as tight ends coach. And O’Brien’s clearly been right here.

The trade is teeming with offensive coaches with novel concepts and approaches.

But it appears the one method to get an viewers with Bill is by having been beforehand employed by him (Klemm, McCardell, O’Brien) or having shared a locker room (Jefferson) with him. Doesn’t matter if he has to return three many years to seek out that tie, if it is there, the No. 1 qualification is glad. Then he’ll deign to provide an viewers.

The incestuous method has an apparent upside. Familiarity.

Coaches who’ve been round Belichick know the expectations, the hours and the meager pay. They know what Belichick considers “good” soccer. They knew it as a result of they coached alongside him. Or they have been employed by him of their early 20s by shared pursuits like lacrosse (Mike Pellegrino), be taught “good soccer” and know no different method to assault the job.

The Patriots employees by the years was first populated by individuals Belichick labored alongside like Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel. Then, when these coaches moved on, younger coaches vetted by working underneath Nick Saban (Josh McDaniels, Brian Daboll as an example), working as ballboys for the Browns (Eric Mangini) or enjoying for Belichick (Pepper Johnson) have been employed and rose to greater positions.

The entire trade is a “Who you recognize…” enterprise. Most are. But the Patriots are essentially the most clannish staff within the league. A closed loop. Bill Belichick’s comfort degree guidelines all.

Why did he maintain drafting gamers from Rutgers? Because his son Stephen was enjoying there for head coach Greg Schiano. Belichick got here to belief Schiano (who spent about three days as Patriots defensive coordinator in 2019). Stephen may vouch. Rutgers turned a Patriots farm staff.

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The Patriots additionally went exceptionally heavy on Urban Meyer gamers from each Florida and Ohio State final decade. In 14 of Belichick’s 23 drafts, he is taken a number of gamers from the identical faculty. There are the same old suspects – LSU and Alabama gamers when Saban was in cost. But there have been additionally two from Pat Hill’s Fresno State program in 2005, two from Texas A&M in 2003, the highest two from Georgia in 2018.

Once Belichick feels good a couple of program and the individual working it, he’ll maintain going again to that properly. That labored nice with Logan Mankins and James Sanders (Fresno) or Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan (Rutgers). Not as properly with Meyers’ gamers like Chad Jackson, Jermaine Cunningham or Aaron Hernandez.

Not everybody stays a “made man” without end. Trust can evaporate. Ask Mangini. Or Flores. But for those who keep on the precise aspect of Bill, Foxboro can develop into a secure harbor for pals who received turned out into the chilly.

When Mike Lombardi received fired by the Browns in 2014, he got here to work for the Patriots for 2 years. After Matt Patricia received fired by the Lions in 2020, Belichick introduced him in to remain busy and lick his skilled wounds. Joe Judge was dismissed by the Giants. He landed again in New England. In every of these instances, the previous staff was on the hook for paying the steadiness of the contract with, presumably, some offset from the Patriots.

The Patriots may keep away from selecting up full freight for these guys by simply calling them “advisors” and letting their former employers maintain paying. The Razorback Foundation really went after former University of Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema AND the Patriots in courtroom after Bielema took low-paying jobs with the Patriots and stored gathering his $12M buyout from the muse.

Counsel for the Patriots Brandon Bigelow argued, “The Patriots paid Mr. Bielema a good and cheap sum for this work and undoubtedly may have provided him considerably much less for the work he carried out. …

“It is apparent that what the Foundation is de facto doing is in search of improper leverage in a easy breach of contract dispute with a former coach. . . . As this matter proceeds, you also needs to think about the way it may seem to others for the Foundation to be asserting frivolous claims in opposition to and harassing an expert soccer staff for merely offering a possibility to a fired faculty soccer coach.”

Interestingly, each Bielema and Lombardi moved on from the Patriots when contracts with their outdated employers ran out and the Patriots must begin paying. We’ll see if the identical occurs with Patricia, whose Lions deal has now expired. I’m listening to he is perhaps on his approach out as properly.

It’s an angle. The particular person wins by working on the proper hand of Belichick. The Patriots get work at a decreased fee. The competitors to stay in Belichick’s good graces is eager.

What’s the draw back to this incestuousness because it pertains to this teaching search?

The pool of younger guys keen to work lengthy hours for brief pay with ambiguous titles should stay stocked. Otherwise, you may run low on future candidates. Especially a coach is employed elsewhere and he then raids your employees. As Belichick did when he got here to New England in 2000.

The earlier decade of Brady-aided staff success noticed youthful coaches and executives flee for brand new jobs. McDaniels, Patricia, Brian Flores on the teaching aspect; Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort on the personnel aspect. They depart, they convey teaching pals with them, the employees shrinks. And the pool of skilled replacements will get shallower.

The hits Belichick has taken with coaches and executives exiting due to age and alternative is unprecedented in scope. That cannot be minimized. And no person is aware of it higher than Belichick.

But Belichick’s discomfort with teaching flight and his want to reward loyalty comes at a price. Nick Caley checked all the bins final offseason when Josh McDaniels left. Caley went to John Carroll like McDaniels and Caserio. Worked at Arkansas for Bielema. Worked his approach up from offensive assistant in 2015 to tight ends coach the place he’d been for 5 seasons underneath McDaniels.

He made excellent sense as McDaniels’ successor, even when the staff handed on giving him the OC title. Instead, the Patriots reportedly blocked Caley from going to Las Vegas with McDaniels and selected as a substitute to make Patricia – who was clearly overmatched within the position – the playcaller/de facto offensive coordinator.

What did Caley do in 2022 that made him worthy of an interview when he wasn’t final January? Was putting in Patricia what was “greatest for the soccer staff?” as a result of Caley (who had an expiring contract after 2022) was an X-factor? Or was it the best factor to do and the one which made Belichick most snug?

Obviously, O’Brien is a extremely certified candidate. He’s the chief by a longshot due to his expertise as a head coach in faculty and the NFL and as a high-level OC. But the expertise degree of each different candidate – particularly after final season’s regression – stays modest. None have been an OC within the NFL. All could have a studying curve if employed. But the field they examine – realizing Bill Belichick and being appreciative of Bill of the chance if it is provided to them – is crucial field.

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