It was a special moment for Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia following the AFC Championship Game. After the trophy ceremony, Patricia and his young son laid on the confetti-covered Gillette Stadium field in what many expect will be his last home game with the Patriots. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Patricia will be named the Detroit Lions new head coach.
Enter, Brian Flores.
Most Patriots fans will remember Flores as the coach who yelled ‘Malcolm Go’ just moments before the game-clinching interception in Super Bowl XLIX. His name has surfaced recently as a potential candidate for the Cardinals head coaching position. However, with the news of Panthers defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks, being pegged for the job, there is now a clear and obvious path to Flores’ ascension to defensive coordinator.
Who is Brian Flores?
Flores’ path began at Boston College where he spent four years between 1999-2003, playing sparingly between 01-02. In 2004, Flores was hired by the Patriots as a scouting assistant. He climbed the ranks and became a pro scout for the Patriots in 2006. He made the jump to the coaching staff in 2008 as a special team’s assistant coach.
|2001||Boston College||Big East||SO||DB||11||1||4||4.0||0|
|*2002||Boston College||Big East||JR||LB||12||1||0||0.0||0|
Similar to the path that both Patricia and Josh McDaniels took, Flores started on the offensive side of the ball. Patricia was first an offensive assistant and McDaniels was a defensive assistant before jumping to the other side of the ball. Flores spent a season as an offensive assistant in 2010 before jumping to the defense in 2011. Starting in 2012, Flores spent four seasons as the defensive backs coach before being named linebackers coach in 2016.
Smart move for the Patriots?
The Patriots are no stranger to replacing coordinators and defensive assistants. Following their third super bowl victory in 2004, the Patriots watched both coordinators, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weiss, depart for head coaching jobs. Crennel left for the Browns and Weiss left to coach Notre Dame. History is likely to repeat itself this season with both Patricia and McDaniels. Coincidently, it could come after a third super bowl win in four seasons against the very same team they beat in 2004—the Philadelphia Eagles.
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The Patriots have managed to weather the departure of several integral members of the coaching staff in the past. Continuity goes a long way in accomplishing that. Bill Belichick often promotes coaches from within or brings in coaches that he has previously worked with. You will not see Belichick bring in someone like Rex Ryan or Jack Del Rio, despite their pedigree. Flores embodies those characteristics and prerequisites that Belichick looks for.
It is a smart and logical move for the franchise as they will certainly be in title contention next season. Considering the fact that Flores has already surfaced as a future head coaching candidate, the promotion may only be a temporary one. In the end, he could just be a placeholder for another Belichick down the road. For now, he will allow the Patriots to continue to grow on defense as he offers familiarity to both the coaches and players.