Matt Patricia

Matt Patricia: 'There's only one Bill Belichick'

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AP Photo

Matt Patricia: 'There's only one Bill Belichick'

Either Matt Patricia is trying to shave off the failure from the Super Bowl or he wanted to look presentable for his new job. Either way, he looked different Wednesday. 

Sporting a heavily trimmed beard, the former Patriots defensive coordinator was introduced as the 307th head coach in Lions history (feels like it, anyway) Wednesday in Detroit. He used the opportunity to thank Bill Belichick for all he taught him, but was quick to stress that he’s not his former boss. 

"There's only one coach Belichick," said Patricia. "He's in New England. I'm Matt Patricia. I'm my own guy. I have my own style, but I'll take all those lessons about how to teach and coach that we had in New England that I think are strong."

Patricia also batted down a question about Belichick’s past assistants who struggled in head coaching spots elsewhere. 

“Whatever anyone’s done in the past, it doesn’t have anything to do with me,” Patricia said. 

Perhaps surprisingly, Patricia was not asked any questions about the Patriots’ benching of Malcolm Butler in their Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. He did stick a pencil behind his ear, though. 

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Which coaches will slide in as Belichick's top assistants?

Which coaches will slide in as Belichick's top assistants?

Now that we know, officially, that the Patriots have lost both of their coordinators of the past six seasons to head-coaching gigs, let's peek ahead to see who could slide in as Bill Belichick's top assistants for the 2018 season. 

OFFENSE
Chad O'Shea, wide receivers coach: O'Shea has been given the preseason play-calling responsibilities in the past, an indication that he would be called upon to serve as offensive coordinator should anything happen that would prevent Josh McDaniels from carrying out his game-day gig. O'Shea is instrumental in not only tutoring a position group that gets its cues from one of the most demanding quarterbacks in history, but he also makes critical contributions in game-planning and has been responsible for putting together the team's red-zone packages. O'Shea just finished his 15th NFL season and his ninth in New England.

Offensive notes: Jerry Schuplinski, who received some hard-earned recognition last season for his work with rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett, was a potential candidate for the offensive coordinator duties. Perhaps he would have been named quarterbacks coach and taken on the coordinator duties. (The Patriots went without an offensive coordinator in 2009 and 2010 and Bill O'Brien served as quarterbacks coach.) As the assistant quarterbacks coach, Schuplinski has been in meetings with Brady and McDaniels, and his work in helping young quarterbacks Brissett or Jimmy Garoppolo has been valuable. However, ESPN has reported that Schuplinski is expected to join McDaniels in Indianapolis. Schuplinski played his college football at John Carroll University, where he was teammates with McDaniels, Nick Caserio and director of pro personnel Dave Ziegler... Dante Scarnecchia will be 70 later this month. He told NBC Sports Boston that he could envision himself coaching next season, but he would not commit to 2018. Should he depart, coaching assistant Cole Popovich would be among the favorites to replace Scarnecchia.

DEFENSE
Brian Flores, linebackers coach: Flores already received interest from the Cardinals to interview for their head-coaching job before Arizona hired Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for the job. He could be due for a promotion. Like O'Shea for the offense, Flores has previously taken on play-calling duties for the defense in preseason games, indicating he would have been relied upon in Matt Patricia's absence. Flores joined the Patriots as a scouting assistant in 2004 after finishing up his playing career as a two-year starter at Boston College. He's in his 14th season with the Patriots and his 10th season as a coach. For the past two seasons, he's led the linebackers after serving as safeties coach for four seasons. During Super Bowl week last year, Flores reportedly had interest from the 49ers to take over their open defensive coordinator spot. 

Defensive notes: It has been reported that Greg Schiano could take on defensive coordinator duties for the Patriots. The former Rutgers and Buccaneers head coach has plenty of experience running a program and his most recent gig has been as the associate head coach/defensive coordinator/safeties coach at Ohio State. Schiano has a long-time supporter in Belichick and it would come as no surprise if Belichick found him a place on the staff. Schiano coached Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and safeties coach Steve Belichick in their Rutgers days...Belichick could opt to go without a coordinator and spend more (a lot more) time focusing on that side of the ball. In 2010 and 2011, the Patriots did not have a defensive coordinator. 

Special teams notes: It has been widely reported that Joe Judge could join Josh McDaniels in Indianapolis, but if he does not, he'd be expected to return to his role running the kicking game for the Patriots. His official title in 2017 was special teams coach. Perhaps, if he has an offer elsewhere and the Patriots want to keep him in-house, he could be named special teams coordinator. Should Judge end up with McDaniels, assistant special teams coach Ray Ventrone would be the logical choice to fill in. Ventrone just finished his third season as a coach. He spent nine seasons as a player, including parts of three seasons with the Patriots. 

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Exodus begins: Patricia leaves Patriots to become coach of Lions

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File photo

Exodus begins: Patricia leaves Patriots to become coach of Lions

Matt Patricia made it clear who he believes helped him most as he found himself being officially announced as the new Lions head coach on Monday.

The former Patriots defensive coordinator spent more than a third of his first statement as Detroit's sideline boss thanking his boss with the Patriots.

Here's Patricia's statement in full . . .

"I’m incredibly honored and grateful to be named Head Coach of the Detroit Lions. Thank you to Mrs. Ford and her family, Rod Wood, and Bob Quinn for their trust and support as we begin this new chapter of Lions football.

“This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today. My family is excited to become part of this wonderful city that displays so much passion for their teams.

"I can’t express enough appreciation to the entire New England Patriots franchise, particularly Robert and Jonathan Kraft and their entire family. I will truly cherish these last 14 years as a member of this incredible organization.

"Lastly, I’d like to express my appreciation and thanks to Bill Belichick. He’s been a remarkable mentor to me, not only as a football coach but also as a man and as a friend. I have learned immensely from his detailed leadership approach to the game, which has certainly shaped me into the football coach that I am today. Quite simply, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with, who I believe, is the greatest coach in NFL history.

"Now I turn all of my attention to the Lions. I look forward to the next chapter of my career in Detroit."

Patricia blamed himself for not having the Patriots defense ready as it allowed 41 points to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII. 

“Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job here with the defense,” Patricia said. “Look, that is a great offense, they are extremely talented. I have been talking about it all week how good they are.

“They just played really well, and we didn’t get enough stops. I give them all the credit. They played outstanding.”

After the game, before Patricia's signing was announced by Detroit, Patriots captain Devin McCourty said he hoped Patricia will find success in his next job.

"I'm fully confident in him," McCourty said, "so I wish him well and I hope he does a great job.”

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