BOSTON (CBS) — As the Patriots prepare for an AFC Championship Game showdown with the Jaguars, a busy offseason looms for Bill Belichick.
The writing is on the wall for some big changes on Belichick’s staff, with both of his coordinators heading elsewhere to lead their own teams. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will reportedly take over the Indianapolis Colts while Matt Patricia will reportedly depart for the Detroit Lions. That will leave two giant voids on Belichick’s staff, which is looking to win their third Super Bowl together.
Per usual with Belichick, their replacements will likely come from inside Gillette Stadium.
Current wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea is the likeliest replacement for McDaniels at offensive coordinator. He’s been with the Patriots since 2009 and is wrapping up his 15th season in the NFL. He worked with the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings as an offensive assistant before joining the Patriots, and has 22 years of coaching experience overall.
New England receivers have put up some big seasons under O’Shea’s tutelage, though the guy throwing the football probably has a lot more to do that. Julian Edelman has a pair of 1,000 receiving yard seasons under O’Shea, and Wes Welker put up a two 120-catch seasons and set a franchise record with 1,569 receiving yards in 2011.
The Patriots had O’Shea call plays for the New England offense in their preseason finale this season, so it appears they were preparing for life without McDaniels before the 2017 campaign kicked off.
Things could be a little more complicated at defensive coordinator. Linebackers coach Brian Flores is the most logical choice, and he’s certainly earned the promotion after spending the last decade on the New England staff. He’s served as linebackers coach the last two seasons after spending four years as the team’s safeties coach. He joined the New England coaching staff in 2008 after spending four seasons in the team’s personnel department.
While becoming a defensive coordinator is the next logical step for Flores, the Boston College graduate is extremely well-respected around the league and is in the running for Arizona’s vacant head coaching job. If he departs in addition to Patricia, that would leave a giant void on the sidelines for New England. Cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer could be next in line, serving his current position for the last six seasons after joining Belichick’s staff in 2006 as a coaching assistant. But with no clear-cut replacement, there’s always the chance Belichick goes outside the organization or assumes defensive coordinator duties himself.
The Patriots are hoping their season continues for another three weeks, but whenever it comes to an end, Belichick is going to have quite a bit of work to do to fill out his coaching staff.