SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – When the McCourty twins played under Greg Schiano at Rutgers, what was his defensive coaching style?
“Verrrry aggressive,” said Jason McCourty. “Man-to-man and a ton of blitzing.”
“Cover-2. Blitz. Cover-2. Blitz,” summarized Devin McCourty.
Schiano’s addition to the Patriots coaching staff has not been announced, but he’s expected to be the successor to Brian Flores as the defensive play-caller.
Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots are inclined to put people in positions and let things play out so Schiano’s role may morph quite a bit. And it’s also not reasonable to expect that his coaching style with the Patriots in 2019 is going to align exactly with the way he coached while at Rutgers from 2001 to 2011.
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But both McCourtys expect the same strict approach Schiano exhibited when they were at Rutgers.
“He’s a very tough coach,” said Jason. “Big on discipline, big on doing things the right way so it seems as though he’ll fit right into the New England mold.”
“I remember when I got to New England after leaving Rutgers realizing that I was ready,” said Devin. “I was ready for the long meetings, the long days, understanding time management. He made us very pro ready.
“I don’t know how he’ll be with us as a coach in the NFL in New England,” Devin continued. “I’ve never experienced that. I had him in college and I knew him as a strict head coach who I had a ton of respect for. When I left, even though I probably hated some things, I realized when I got to New England (the preparation I got). I remember other guys saying, ‘Shoot, this is too hard.’ I was thinking, ‘This is easier than when I was at Rutgers.’
“I always had a lot of appreciation for him not caring how we felt as little 18- and 19-year-olds and instead preparing us and making us ready for the jump to the NFL on and off.”
Schiano’s style didn’t fly in Tampa where an assortment of Bucs players complained … and complained … and complained … about Schiano until he was fired after two seasons.
"He's trying to be Belichick,” the ever-available Michael Bennett complained in 2013. “Yeah, some people think Belichick's an (expletive), but he's a legend. When this guy acts that way, it's a whole different deal."
Bennett, of course, would go on to play for the Seahawks where he’d find a way to complain about the style of Schiano’s polar opposite, Pete Carroll.
Schiano did a lot of pounding the pavement and reassessing after getting fired by Tampa and he didn’t work again until 2016 when he went to OSU.
It will be interesting to see how well Schiano does in the NFL this time around, especially now that he’ll be working with players accustomed and adjusted to a demanding style.
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