The offensive line of the New England Patriots will reportedly have only one coach this season.
Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reported Friday that Cole Popovich, who was co-offensive line coach with Carmen Bricillo in 2020, won't be with the team in 2021.
Popovich, 36, had been with the Patriots since 2015, serving first as a coaching assistant and then as an assistant running backs coach in 2019 before shifting to the offensive line last season to help replace the retired Dante Scarnecchia. McBride reported that Bricillo will now coach the offensive line alone.
What's behind Popovich's departure from the Patriots? ESPN's Mike Reiss shed some light on the situation with this tweet Friday afternoon:
New England has reshaped its offensive line in the off-season, allowing left guard Joe Thuney to leave in free agency for the Kansas City Chiefs and bringing back left tackle Trent Brown from the Las Vegas Raiders via trade. Brown had been with the Patriots in 2018, helping the team win Super Bowl LIII before the Raiders made him the highest-paid tackle in the NFL.
Veteran center Ted Karras, who played three seasons for the Patriots before signing with the Miami Dolphins in 2020, returned to New England in free agency this offseason. The Patriots also re-signed center David Andrews, who along with holdovers Shaq Mason, Mike Onwenu and Isaiah Wynn, will help New England protect whoever winds up starting at quarterback.