The Patriots do not plan to name a new defensive coordinator, but linebackers coach Brian Flores will call the club’s defensive plays, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Flores take over the duties of former DC Matt Patricia, who left New England to become the Lions’ head coach.
Flores, 37, had been viewed as the Patriots’ coordinator-in-waiting since Patricia accepted the Detroit job, and while Flores will continue in New England without a title promotion, he will accept new responsibilities. Well-respected in NFL circles, Flores interviewed twice for the Cardinals’ head coaching position despite never holding a coordinator gig. He’s spent his entire coaching career with the Patriots, beginning as a scout before moving to the coaching staff in 2008.
Bill Belichick has been known to give former assistants time to grow before placing them in coordinator roles. Patricia, for one, called New England’s defensive plays for two seasons before being given the DC title. Additionally, current offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels called plays for the Patriots in 2005 despite not having the official coordinator moniker.
Flores will have his work cut out for him in 2018, as the Patriots defense ranked 29th in yards allowed and 31st in DVOA a season ago. New England figures to lose starting cornerback Malcolm Butler to free agency, but linebacker Dont’a Hightower should return after injuries limited him to only five games in 2017.
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