|Jonathan Kraft on league-wide interest in staff: ‘It’s a compliment to organization’||01.03.16 at 1:31 pm ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Patriots president Jonathan Kraft takes no offense at the continued interest in Bill Belichick‘s coaching staff. As a matter of fact he takes it as a high form of flattery and expects it to continue this week when more NFL coaching turnover takes place.
Kraft said he’s not surprised when teams come calling on the likes of Josh McDaniels and player personnel chief Nick Caserio. Since returning to New England for the 2011 playoff run, McDaniels has turned Cleveland while Caserio shunned Miami’s GM post.
Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and special teams coordinator Joe Judge could be among those piquing interest of other teams this January.
“That’ll really start after the games today,” Kraft told the team’s pregame radio show Sunday. “We have the highest regard for Josh, Matt and Joe and all our position coaches. We’re very fortunate. Bill does an amazing job in bringing in young coaches and how he want to coach the game. Bill is much more about growing talent. I think that’s part of having a system that works for you. We feel really great about all the guys on our staff. Big compliment when guys on our staff get asked to do that.
“It’s part of having a system that works for you and we feel great about all the guys on our staff. When people come to interview them, I think it’s a compliment to the organization. Not that we want to lose anybody, but that’s what it is.
“I’ll throw Nick in there. Nick has had some job interviews offered to him over the years, too. He’s somebody that’s been under our scouting and coaching staff since he came into the league. Coming out of college, he and Josh knew each other coming out of college. It’s all part of building that culture. So, big compliment when guys on our staff get asked to do that.”
Kraft also confirmed what Belichick said this week about it taking three to four years before a head coach can really implement his program.
“When you think about the way the salary cap works and when a coach comes into an organization, the personnel departments 12 to 15 [people] and on the upper end, 25-to-30,” Kraft said. “I think Bill’s right. It takes a long time. They know you need to give a new coach a long time. They see each year a team will come from nowhere and go deep in the playoffs.
|Bill Belichick says scoring after swinging gate ‘was the best thing about it’||10.19.15 at 4:55 pm ET|
Back in New England after their 34-27 win over the Colts Sunday night, Bill Belichick was still being asked Monday about the single-most talked about play in the NFL.
The Colts attempted a trick punt formation known as the “swinging gate” with 1:17 left in the third quarter, trailing just 27-21 and facing a 4th-and-3 at their own 37.
By now, everyone in the football world, and even many on the outside, knows what happened next. Gunner Griff Whalen snapped the ball to Colt Anderson, leading to a Patriots possession at the Colts 35. Six plays later, LeGarrette Blount caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady and the game was basically decided.
On Monday Belichick, in a conference call, explained in detail what he saw.
“The play was a version of the swinging gate play,” Belichick explained. “I don’t know exactly how it was supposed to work. That’s something you’d have to ask them about. They brought the gunner in to snap the ball so he would have been an eligible receiver. We had to cover him.
“I think basically you want to try, on punt formations like that, it’s just a numbers game. You want to have enough guys to match to the smaller numbers and as many guys as you can to match to the larger number where they’re overshifted. We certainly knew that the punter could throw. He’s done that before. He’s thrown passes to uncovered guys in punt formations. We saw him run against Tennessee. We’re aware of those things so it’s just kind of everybody making sure they take care of their responsibility on the shift and make sure we can defend the formation and know who’s eligible.
|Bill Belichick feels special transition from Scott O’Brien to Joe Judge: ‘I think he’s a great young coach’||08.01.15 at 3:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — It takes a lot for Bill Belichick to feel comfortable handing over his special teams unit after it’s been coached by one of the best assistants he’s ever had.
But in Joe Judge, Belichick feels as though he has someone who can begin to fill the shoes of Scotty O’Brien, who walked away from his special teams job after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale.
What has the transition been like so far in OTAs and minicamp?
“Smooth,” Belichick said. “Scott was a great coach, as good a coach as anybody I’ve ever been with and around, did a tremendous job. I learned a ton from Scott. I know Joe did, too, or has. But Joe is a great coach in his own right. Each of us have our own style.
“Joe has his own style, but very well prepared, very thorough, has great experience in the kicking game and all of the situations and techniques, both with the specialists and all the other positions on the field. Joe and I spend a lot of time together. I think he’s a great young coach.”
|Matthew Slater: Scott O’Brien ‘earned his retirement,’ but ‘excited to play for’ Joe Judge, Ray Ventrone||04.22.15 at 11:31 am ET|
FOXBORO — There’s no question the Patriots’ special teams played a large role in the Super Bowl winning season last year.
Whether it was blocking a field goal and returning it for a touchdown, blocking a punt, or even just a huge flip in field position, the Patriots’ special teams unit seemingly made a big play every single week.
Just two days after winning the Super Bowl, their leader, coach Scott O’Brien announced his retirement after 24 seasons in the NFL, including the last six in New England. O’Brien will remain with the organization in some capacity.
In the same release, the team announced assistant special teams coach Joe Judge would take over for O’Brien and then later the team signed former player Ray Ventrone to serve as Judge’s assistant.
“I know that the game comes to an end for all of us and I know Scott had jokingly mentioned it over the years, and I certainly didn’t want him to retire because he definitely means a lot to me personally and I know to a lot of guys around here, but he’s earned his retirement,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said.
“He’s given a lot to this game, and I know he’s excited about the next chapter. That being said, we’re excited about having Ray [Ventrone] here and Joe Judge, them starting their legacy, we’re excited to play for those guys.”
Ventrone actually played for the Patriots and Bill Belichick from 2006-08. In all he played nine seasons in the NFL, primarily used as a special teams player, registering 57 total tackles.
Slater was actually a teammate of Ventrone, and he always had a feeling one day he would become a coach.
“Certainly,” Slater said. “I think Ray was just a pro’s pro, the way he played the game and the way he prepared, he had a better understanding of the game than most guys I’ve ever played with. The way he competed, I had so much respect for him as a competitor and the passion that he played with and he’s already bringing that to the meeting room and we’re excited about it. Like I said, I’m not surprised that he’s doing what he’s doing now.”
Having a former teammate now be his coach, Slater said there was one thing he needed to be made clear before getting started.
“The big thing that I wanted to get clear with Ray was, ‘Should I call you Ray or should I call you coach Ventrone?’” Slater joked. “So it’s going to be great. Coach Ventrone is a very intelligent guy and he played this game at a high level for a long time and he really understands the game, so I’m excited to work with him, to learn from him, and I think he’s going to bring a lot to the table.”
|Ray Ventrone returns to Patriots as special teams assistant coach||03.03.15 at 10:11 am ET|
Bubba is back.
The Patriots announced Tuesday that Bill Belichick has hired Ray Ventrone to serve as assistant special teams coach. Belichick was the first coach to give Ventrone a chance to play in the NFL. Now it will be Belichick who gives Ventrone a chance to coach.
Ventrone will fill the spot of Joe Judge, who was promoted to take over as special teams coach for Scott O’Brien when O’Brien retired on Feb. 3, two days after the Patriots’ win in Super Bowl XLIX.
Ventrone spent four years with the Patriots after originally joining the team as a rookie free agent out of Villanova in 2005. Ventrone played nine NFL seasons as a player with New England (2006-2008), the New York Jets (2007), Cleveland Browns (2009-2012) and the San Francisco 49ers (2013-2014). During his NFL career, he was primarily used as a special teams player, registering 57 total tackles, including a season-high of 12 in 2009 with the Browns.
Ventrone was originally signed by New England as a rookie free agent out of Villanova in 2005. After spending the 2005 season on the Patriots’ practice squad and the 2006 season on injured reserve, he split the 2007 season between the Jets and the Patriots practice squads before being signed to the New England 53-man roster in November.
Ventrone played the entire 2008 season with the Patriots before playing four years in Cleveland and the last two seasons in San Francisco.
|Scott O’Brien retires as Patriots special teams coach, remains in organization; Joe Judge to take over||02.03.15 at 8:59 pm ET|
The Patriots announced Tuesday afternoon that special teams coach Scott O’Brien is retiring from coaching after 24 seasons in the NFL, including the last six with the Patriots, but he will remain in the organization. Joe Judge will take over for O’Brien, as he joined the Patriots in 2012 as O’Brien’s assistant.
Judge came from to the Patriots from the University of Alabama where he was a football analyst/special teams assistant under Nick Saban.
“I have never worked with a coach better than Scott O’Brien,” said head coach Bill Belichick in a statement. “Scott is second to none at preparation, strategy, teaching, techniques, fundamentals, scouting and virtually any other aspect of teambuilding, game planning or player development that exists in football. I thank Scott for making me a better coach, finding and developing countless players and being such a tremendous asset at both organizations we worked together. Scott O’Brien is undoubtedly one of the finest coaches of his generation and he deserves having his final game be a Super Bowl championship. While we will miss his contributions in coaching, we look forward to continuing to work with him in other capacities.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|With coaching vacancies in Foxboro, these names could be in mix for Patriots||01.23.14 at 1:44 pm ET|
With the recent exodus of coaches from the Patriots staff — linebackers coach Pepper Johnson, offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and tight ends coach George Godsey have departed — here are seven individuals could be the mix in Foxboro for either a new job with the Patriots or a promotion within the franchise.
Jim Schwartz — The former Lions head coach has been tight with Bill Belichick for several years. He worked with Belichick in Cleveland — the turkey sandwich story has been told and retold a million times (scroll down for the full tale) — before moving on to become a defensive coach for the Ravens and Titans. He was the head coach in Detroit from 2009 through 2013. Based on his work as a linebackers coach, he could be a candidate to take over for Johnson.
Greg Schiano — One of a handful of former college coaches Belichick cultivated a relationship with — Schiano was at Rutgers before moving to the Buccaneers, who fired him this month — Schiano reportedly is in the mix for the Browns head coaching job. If he doesn’t land with Cleveland, he could make his way to Foxboro to work on the defensive side of the ball. (One thing to remember when considering Schwartz and Schiano — Belichick has been very kind in the past to former head coaches who need a one-year, transitional job as assistants before they jump back into working as a coordinator or head coach. See Dom Capers.)
Brian Daboll — Daboll is already in the system, having returned last year to work as a vaguely defined “offensive assistant.” We know he had his fingerprints on several aspects of the offense in 2013 — for what it’s worth, during training camp, he was working extensively with the offensive line as well as Tim Tebow. (Remember him?) He wasn’t named to replace Scarnecchia as the offensive line coach but could move into Godsey’s role with the tight ends, or continue to serve as an unofficial offensive adviser.
Jerry Schlupinski — The Patriots have a track record of promoting from within, and if they go that route, Schlupisnki — a coaching assistant who joined the franchise in 2013 — could be their guy who has an expanded route in 2014. His pedigree is similar to personnel chief Nick Caserio and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in that he made his bones at John Carroll University in Ohio — in fact, he played alongside them as a collegian. (He also worked at JCU as a coach.)
Joe Judge — Currently the assistant special teams coach, he could be another candidate to be promoted from within to take over one of the available positional vacancies. Judge has worked under special teams coach Scott O’Brien the last two seasons and has an impressive resume, having spent time as an assistant under Nick Saban at Alabama.
Patrick Graham — After spending a season as the defensive line coach, Graham could be shuffled back to the linebacker spot to take over for Johnson. (He was linebackers coach in 2011.) Then they would hire someone else to take over at defensive line. The Yale product joined the organization as a coaching assistant in 2009 and has worked as a defensive assistant as well as a linebackers and defensive line coach.
Matt Patricia — Graham’s coaching flexibility could also open up an expanded role for Patricia. It’s conceivable the Patriots could have Patricia handle a position grouping in addition to his current work as a coordinator. (They’ve done it for several seasons on the offensive side of the ball, where both Bill O’Brien and McDaniels have served the dual role of quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.) Patricia also has experience coaching the linebackers, as he was there from 2006-10.
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