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Perry: Patriots' coaching setup at Shrine Bowl raises a few questions

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Bill Belichick Matt Patricia

The buildup to the Shrine Bowl -- one of the country's top pre-draft collegiate all-star games -- kicks off later this week, with the game taking place on Feb. 2 out in Las Vegas. The Patriots will be there for it all as they are scheduled to coach the West team.

The coaching staff, however, will have a very different look compared to the last time the Patriots took the field in Week 18. Here are a few quick-hitting takeaways from the Shrine Bowl's announcement of the West coaching staff Wednesday...

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1. Bill O'Brien will be there. When the Shrine Bowl tweeted out the coaching-staff configuration for the Patriots, the team had not yet announced O'Brien's arrival as offensive coordinator. The Shrine Bowl, however, almost did it for them.

O'Brien is listed as being one of three Patriots coaches who will participate in a "supervisory role," along with Bill Belichick and Jerod Mayo. Right to work for New England's new head man on the offensive side.

2. Joe Judge and Matt Patricia aren't scheduled to be with the club. What does that mean for their long-term futures? 

As we reported earlier this week, there's a feeling in the building that Patricia will not be with the team in 2023, though the Patriots haven't yet announced anything relating to Patricia. Billy Yates is listed as the lone offensive line coach on the West team's coaching roster; he handled offensive line coaching duties for most of last season after it became clear Patricia needed to focus on his roles as play-caller and de facto offensive coordinator. 


Judge, meanwhile, might not be looking to go back to special teams after being head coach of the New York Giants and trying his hand on offense as the quarterbacks coach last season. Cam Achord is listed as a supervisor on special teams for the week in Vegas, and his assistant for the last few seasons, Joe Houston, will be the special teams coach.

Linebackers coach Steve Belichick and defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington aren't scheduled to be in Las Vegas either. Covington will be a defensive coordinator at the Senior Bowl on Feb. 4 in Mobile, Ala. No word yet on Steve Belichick's absence. (Update: Steve Belichick indeed is on the Shrine Bowl coaching staff, per our guy Tom E. Curran.)

3. Troy Brown will serve as head coach for the West. Brown has coached up a variety of positions since joining Belichick's staff in 2019. First it was as an assistant to wide receivers coach Joe Judge, who also had the title of special teams coordinator.

Brown also helped with returners that year. Then he handled running backs with Ivan Fears as well as returners in 2020. In 2021, he became a wide receivers coach and held the same role last season. 

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4. Ross Douglas gets a shot at something different. Douglass helped out with the receivers in 2022 after serving as a defensive assistant the season prior. Now he'll have a chance to coach quarterbacks and serve as offensive coordinator.

Douglas is young -- he graduated high school in 2012, played at Michigan and later transferred to Rutgers (leaving Rutgers with a master's degree in 2018) -- but he's had opportunities to handle a variety of roles in a short span.

5. With Mayo supervising, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino and safeties coach Brian Belichick will have an opportunity to serve as co-defensive coordinators. Belichick will coach linebackers and Pellegrino will handle the defensive line...

6. ... Along with a new face helping out. Keith Jones is listed as an assistant defensive line coach with Patriots assistant Joe Kim. Jones is currently named on the Arkansas football website as a graduate assistant. Unclear if he'll be helping the Patriots during the season, but he'll be on hand for the next week. 

7. Evan Rothstein will be making the trip. Some on the staff wondered what might happen with Rothstein if Patricia didn't return since Patricia worked with Rothstein in Detroit and worked closely with him on offensive game-planning during the 2022 season. But he's headed to the Shrine Bowl as the running backs coach. 


8. Nick Caley, who interviewed with the Patriots for their open offensive coordinator role, is not listed on the staff. The tight ends coach since 2017, Caley's contract with the team is up. Tyler Hughes, an offensive assistant the last three seasons, will take on the role of tight ends coach for Shrine week.