Following rumors that the Patriots were planning to hire Greg Schiano, many assumed that the long-time Rutgers head coach would become New England’s next defensive coordinator. However, that might not be the case. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes that Bret Bielema “has been telling people that he is going to become the Patriots’ defensive coordinator.”
The Patriots will have an opening at defensive coordinator following Brian Flores‘ forthcoming defection to the Dolphins. Even if Schiano didn’t take on the definitive title of defensive coordinator (similar to Flores), his experience and connection with coach Bill Belichick made it seem like he’d be a natural fit to oversee New England’s defense.
On the flip side, Belichick hasn’t traditionally followed this route. As Volin points out, the organization rarely makes an outside hire when it comes to coordinator positions. For instance, Bill O’Brien and Dean Pees both had to work their way through the organization before they had a chance at a coordinator gig (Pees had to take a job elsewhere for the opportunity).
That’s why Bielema would seemingly make more sense to take over the defensive coordinator role, although it’s worth noting that he hasn’t been with the organization all that long. The 49-year-old previously served as the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas, and he was hired as a consultant to Belichick earlier this season. There were rumors that Flores could end up taking Bielema to Miami to serve as the Dolphins new defensive coordinator, but the team ended up opting for Packers linebackers coach/run game coordinator Patrick Graham.
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