Patriots

How much Patriots intel can Logan Ryan provide?

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How much Patriots intel can Logan Ryan provide?

FOXBORO - Bill Belichick snorts out dismissive responses any time he’s asked about whether a former player can provide enough intelligence on the team’s operations to actually cause problems. Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from adding players to his own practice squad from an upcoming opponent, but I digress.

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Saturday night, Belichick and the Patriots will be looking across the field at one of the smarter defenders he’s coached in recent memory. Logan Ryan returns with the Tennessee Titans for the first time since leaving Foxboro. Titans coach Mike Mularkey is already trying to tap into some of that institutional knowledge.

“Oh, we interrogated him until he was ready to drop yesterday,” he said. “No, it wasn’t quite that serious. But, we had a cup of coffee together, I’ll say that.”

When told that Ryan might be a good resource for the Titans, former teammate Devin McCourty joked that won’t do Tennessee any good.

“Logan probably can’t help them much. I know that much,” he smiled before adding, “it will be fun, though. The guy, he’s a brother to a lot of us in there, a real good friend of mine, but there’s nothing I want more than to see him lose Saturday night. So, as close as we are, that’s not going to change, and he’s going to compete and be the same way. It will be fun to talk a little trash to each other.”

Ryan had an uneven four seasons in New England and as last season wore on, it was clear he was desirous of a fresh start. But that never impacted Ryan’s ability to do his job.

“He’s a very smart, instinctive, aware player,” said Belichick Tuesday. “Always does the right thing, not only what you need him to do, but also what’s best for the defense in terms of making calls and adjustments and things like that. Can play inside, can play outside. He can play safety if you need him to play safety, he’s got a lot of versatility. Again, a tough, smart football player that played a lot of good football for us.”

Mularkey seems to concur with Belichick’s assessment. Ryan has started at right corner all season and in sub-packages, he moves inside, working against the slot receiver or move tight ends. Ryan didn’t record an interception but had 11 passes defensed and recorded 62 tackles.

“He’s a pro. He’s a pro. Knows how to come in here and he’s been great,” said Mularkey. “We’ve got a lot of young guys in that secondary room, a lot of young guys, and he’s been easy to follow. He’s been great off the field, as well, for this community. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

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Cardinals reportedly choose Wilks; Flores a logical choice to replace Patricia

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Cardinals reportedly choose Wilks; Flores a logical choice to replace Patricia

The brain drain in New England after this season may not be quite as severe as it once looked like it might be.

According to ESPN, the Cardinals have chosen to hire Panthers assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Steve Wilks as their next head coach. That would mean that Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores, a finalist for the job in Arizona, will shoot to the front of the line of candidates to succeed Matt Patricia as Patriots defensive coordinator. Patricia is expected to be named Lions head coach after Super Bowl LII. 

For the Patriots, holding onto Flores would be a significant boost to their coaching staff in 2018.

The team is also expected to lose Josh McDaniels, who could be named head coach of the Colts after the season. Special teams coach Joe Judge is working on an expiring deal, per ESPN, and could be elsewhere next season as well. Then there's offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who will be 70 later this month and could be interested in going back to the retirement life he enjoyed for two years in 2014 and 2015 before returning last season. 

Flores, 36, has been with the Patriots since 2004. He's served as a scouting assistant, a pro scout, a special teams assistant, a defensive assistant and safeties coach (2012-2015) before taking over linebacker duties. As our Mike Giardi wrote earlier this month, Flores is highly-respected by Patriots players and would make all kinds of sense as the team's next defensive coordinator.

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Patricia family enjoys the moment following final game at Gillette Stadium

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Patricia family enjoys the moment following final game at Gillette Stadium

Matt Patricia was on his back, laying in confetti, his son sitting alongside, soaking up the last few moments of the night. It was well after the Patriots had defeated the Jaguars to claim their shot at Super Bowl LII, and Patricia probably knew it was his last game at Gillette Stadium as Patriots defensive coordinator. 

Every week, in conference calls with reporters, Patricia adheres as strictly to the "on to fill-in-the-blank" as anyone. But on Sunday night, more than two hours after the game had ended, he was very much living in the now.  

"After the game had kind of settled down and everything," Patricia said Monday, "I had my son here at the game, he hasn't really been to a lot of games -- he's been to two -- so that was kind of his second game. He wanted to go play on the field. 

"We played a good game of touch football. He beat me 4-0. He kind of out-ran me there a little bit. He made some good plays on me, I couldn't catch him. Just fun to have him out there running around and just seeing the excitement that he had to be out on the field. Kind of a special little moment for myself and him and my wife."

Patricia is expected to be named the next coach of the Detroit Lions, which will mean a new city, a new chapter for his family after he spent the last 14 years in New England under Bill Belichick. Before that happens, he'll have one more game with the team that gave him his first job in pro football. And maybe a shot at a rematch with his son.

"He's pretty good," Patricia said. "I mean, he's pretty quick. I might have to try to get in better shape before that happens. We'll see. We'll see what happens. I might have to take the physical game to him."

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