Matt Patricia

NFC West Notes: Carter, Cards, Rams, 49ers

Closely connected to Jalen Carter ahead of the draft, the Seahawks decided to select Devon Witherspoon at No. 5. The Lions were believed to be targeting the Illinois cornerback at No. 6, and Tyler Dunne of notes the Seahawks were pleased rumors circulated they were eyeing Carter at 5. That said, some among the Seahawks did make a late push for the Georgia defensive tackle, per Dunne, who adds some teams viewed the polarizing prospect as “unapologetic” regarding the off-field incident that docked his draft stock. Carter faced misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing — in connection with a fatal crash that killed two members of Georgia’s football program in January — but said he did not encounter extensive questioning from teams about the January scene. The Eagles are not believed to have inquired deeply about the event.

Pete Carroll was believed to be onboard with the Seahawks drafting Carter, but the team passed on one of this draft’s top talents. They were not alone in doing so. The Lions were prepared to draft Jahmyr Gibbs over Carter, before the Cardinals sent them a trade offer for 6, and the Raiders and Falcons passed as well. The Bears, who were eyeing D-line additions in the draft, traded out of No. 9 to allow the Eagles to land this class’ top D-tackle. Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • The Cardinalstrade-up to No. 6 completed their Paris Johnson acquisition effort. After being tied to the Ohio State prospect in the days leading up to the draft, Arizona will likely move him into its starting lineup immediately. Johnson earned his high prospect ranking as a tackle, but Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic notes the Cardinals have not determined if the ex-Buckeyes blocker will start his pro career at tackle or guard. Johnson played guard in both 2020 and ’21, being a full-time starter at that position as a sophomore, before sliding to left tackle last season. The Cards have both their top tackles — D.J. Humphries and Kelvin Beachum — under contract and re-signed Will Hernandez this offseason. Josh Jones, a guard who slid to tackle to replace an injured Humphries, remains rostered as well. Regardless of where Johnson starts his career, he is expected to become the Cards’ long-term left tackle, McManaman adds.
  • Staying on the topic of Cardinals positional uncertainty, Zaven Collins began working as an edge rusher when the team convened for its offseason work, Darren Urban of notes. The 2021 first-round pick spent his first two NFL seasons as an off-ball linebacker, but the Cardinals have Isaiah Simmons and the recently added Kyzir White — who followed HC Jonathan Gannon from Philadelphia — at the ILB spots. While Collins played 785 snaps at linebacker last season, he did line up as a D-lineman on 182 plays.
  • With Gannon and Cards DC Nick Rallis departing Philly, the Eagles hired Matt Patricia. Prior to that relocation, Patricia spoke with the Rams about a role on Sean McVay‘s staff, Albert Breer of writes. Patricia, who interviewed for the Broncos’ DC job and was on the radar for another role on Sean Payton‘s staff, has only previously coached for two teams (the Patriots and Lions) throughout a 19-year NFL career.
  • The 49ers added Brandon Allen as their fourth quarterback. While Allen would not be part of San Francisco’s active roster if every other QB on the team was fully healthy, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco notes the team gave the ex-Bengals QB2 $200K guaranteed. Allen spent most of the past three seasons as Joe Burrow‘s backup. While the 49ers have Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold on their roster, Purdy is not expected to be cleared until potentially September and Lance has been involved in trade rumors to the point John Lynch felt compelled to address those with the former No. 3 overall pick.

Eagles Moving Toward Matt Patricia Hire

A blurb indicating the Eagles hired Matt Patricia as a senior defensive assistant surfaced on the team’s website Thursday afternoon, Tim McManus of tweets, but it was soon taken down. But the veteran defensive coach is still on track to join the Eagles’ staff.

Nick Sirianni said (via’s Field Yates) the Eagles are moving toward a Patricia hire. The two-stint Patriots assistant and former Lions head coach emerged on the Eagles’ radar earlier this offseason. While a Patriots return also looked to remain in play for Patricia, he appears on the verge of joining a third team’s staff soon.

Patricia, 48, has worked for only the Patriots and Lions throughout his 19-year NFL career. His Lions HC stint did not last through its third season, and the veteran defensive coach’s return to New England brought one of the stranger chapters in recent coaching history. Bill Belichick eschewed a true Josh McDaniels OC replacement and instead gave Patricia offensive play-calling duties, a responsibility the assistant reluctantly accepted. The results, as expected, led to another shakeup on the Pats’ staff.

Belichick’s Patricia hire led to a sophomore regression from Mac Jones and played a role in the Belichick-Jones relationship deteriorating. Jones and Brian Hoyer voiced issues with the Patriots’ plan of putting Patricia and Joe Judge in charge of the offense, which dropped from 15th in 2021 to 26th last season. The Pats hired Bill O’Brien to pick up the pieces and are keeping Judge. But Patricia’s Lions contract helped the Pats keep him on staff. With the Detroit HC deal having expired, the longtime Belichick assistant entered an uncertain offseason.

The Broncos interviewed Patricia for their defensive coordinator gig and considered him for another staff position, but the team did not make a hire. That looks set to lead Patricia to Philadelphia. This will be an interesting fit due to the Eagles’ decision to extend Darius Slay. The Pro Bowl cornerback feuded with his then-HC during their Detroit overlap. Slay has not indicated the sides have repaired their relationship.

Patricia’s detractors and his odd 2022 aside, he brings considerable experience in having spent nine seasons as either a defensive coordinator or head coach (and one memorable year as an OC). Patricia served as the Pats’ DC during their 2014 and ’16 Super Bowl-winning seasons. Like most Belichick assistants given HC opportunities, Patricia failed upon receiving that chance. He went 13-29-1 with the Lions. But the Eagles lost two-year DC Jonathan Gannon this offseason. Consultant Vic Fangio also left for the Miami DC position, and Dennard Wilson — the team’s two-year secondary coach who was in contention to replace Gannon — also left. Should this Philly deal be completed, Patricia will work under Sean Desai, who will begin his second season on the coordinator level.

His resume speaks for itself. It gives you a great mind in there who’s done it at the highest level,” Sirianni said of Patricia (via The Athletic’s Zach Berman). “It gives you a great ability to bounce ideas off of with the defensive staff, and then it gives me a former head coach to bounce ideas off of as well.”

Tension Remains Between Bill Belichick, Mac Jones; Patriots Shopped QB?

The Patriots placed Mac Jones at the center of a historically unusual experiment last season, giving career defensive coach Matt Patricia the keys to the offense. It backfired, and Jones expressed steady frustration with the plan.

Jones’ irritation spilled outside the building, with NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran noting the former first-round pick was asking for assistance from coaches not on New England’s staff. Those efforts getting back to Bill Belichick has affected the sides’ relationship, Curran said during a WEEI interview (video link).

Alabama staffers received calls from Jones regarding the Patriots’ plan on offense, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms reports. This comes after a report that indicated Jones had said during the 2022 offseason he would be teaching the Pats’ offense to Joe Judge, who was moved into position as the team’s de facto quarterbacks coach following his Giants ouster. Judge remains on New England’s staff; Patricia is not currently with the team but has a potential path to stay.

This looks to be a storyline to monitor. Belichick has since shopped Jones this offseason, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who notes the 24th-year head coach has discussed his starting QB in trades with multiple teams. It is not known who Belichick discussed Jones’ potential availability with, but the Raiders were mentioned as a potential suitor before free agency. Las Vegas has since signed former Josh McDaniels pupil Jimmy Garoppolo. McDaniels worked with Jones in 2021.

The Texans also came up, per Florio. Houston GM Nick Caserio was not with the Patriots when they drafted Jones, but he obviously has deep New England ties due to his run as Belichick’s right-hand personnel man. Were the Patriots to attempt to trade Jones outside the AFC, teams like the Buccaneers and Commanders emerged as potential suitors. Those teams have since added Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett, respectively. These veterans would not seemingly be an impediment to a Jones pursuit, so how each organization proceeds in the draft could be relevant to the Patriots.

Jones talks may well have reached the offer stage, with’s Doug Kyed adding no offer was good enough to prompt the Patriots to act here. Tension remains between Belichick and Jones, per Kyed, who adds both Robert and Pats president Jonathan Kraft are fond of of the third-year quarterback. This makes it worth wondering if Belichick would have the green light to move on from the former No. 15 overall pick. Jones’ rookie contract can run through 2025, via the fifth-year option. After 2022, it cannot be assumed the Pats will pick up that option. The former national championship-winning QB’s deal has been mentioned as a barrier in the way of a Lamar Jackson pursuit; the Pats are one of the many teams planning to steer clear of the Ravens superstar.

I’m a big fan of Mac,” Kraft said at the league meetings. “He came to us as a rookie. He quarterbacked in his rookie season and did a very fine job I thought. We made the playoffs. I think we experimented with some things last year that frankly didn’t work when it came to him, in my opinion.

Belichick’s unusual Patricia-based plan also may have bothered Brian Hoyer. The off-and-on New England backup was not on board with installing a former defensive coordinator as the play-caller, Curran adds. He was not the only one, with veteran NFL reporter Mike Giardi noting (via Twitter) every position group observed the dysfunction on offense last season.

The Patriots released Hoyer this offseason, eating $1.6MM in dead money to do so, and the 15th-year veteran agreed to terms with the Raiders on Tuesday. Following Hoyer’s 2022 concussion, the Pats used third-stringer Bailey Zappe in place of Jones. A mini-QB controversy developed after the Western Kentucky one-and-done won both his starts. Jones regained his job after recovering from the high ankle sprain he sustained, but Zappe is now believed to have a chance at pushing Jones this offseason.

A fourth-round pick who played one season of Division I football — albeit a record-setting showing in a pass-crazed offense — Zappe would be an underdog against Jones, who now has Bill O’Brien in place as OC. On his way out of Tuscaloosa in 2021, Jones helped teach Nick Saban’s then-new OC the Crimson Tide’s offense. After Kraft called Belichick’s decision to install Patricia as the Pats’ primary play-caller a mistake, O’Brien — in his second tour of duty as New England’s OC — is now in place to help clean up the mess.

After elevating the Patriots’ passing attack — at least, compared to their Cam Newton season — and helping the 2021 team to the playoffs, Jones has seen his New England tenure veer off course. It will be interesting to see how he, Belichick, Judge and O’Brien coexist moving forward.

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Addresses Bill Belichick’s Future

Well into the post-Tom Brady era, the Patriots face increased pressure to rebound from an 8-9 campaign last season. Recent remarks from owner Robert Kraft have led to the belief that head coach Bill Belichick is on the hot seat entering 2023, given the team’s struggles relative to their dynasty seasons.

Belichick sits at 329 career wins, leaving him 18 shy of Don Shula‘s all-time record. While most of that success came with Brady at the helm, New England has missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons and have gone four years since their last postseason victory. Kraft made it clear that past successes, rather than current performances, will not inform his moves in the near future on the sidelines.

“Look, I’d like [Belichick] to break Don Shula’s record, but I’m not looking for any of our players to get great stats,” Kraft said, via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe“We’re about winning and doing whatever we can to win… In the end, this is a business. You either execute and win, or you don’t. That’s where we’re at.”

The Patriots struggled on offense throughout the season in 2022, in no small part due to the team’s experiment with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge taking on unfamiliar coaching roles on that side of the ball. The latter will remain with the Patriots in 2023, taking on a position which will involve work with special teams, the area he excelled in earlier in his career. Patricia’s future, on the other hand, remains in the air.

“I think [Patricia] got put in a difficult position,” Kraft said, when speaking about New England’s longtime defensive coordinator. “I think it was sort of an experiment. I think he worked very hard at it. In retrospect, I don’t think it was the right thing.”

The Patriots now have Bill O’Brien in place as offensive coordinator, something which should yield an upgrade for that unit, though a competition for the starting quarterback role could ensue this summer. In any case, Belichick faces what Volin notes is essentially an ultimatum with respect to qualifying for the playoffs in 2023.

“My objective for our team is that we make the playoffs, because once you make the playoffs, anything can happen,” Kraft said. “It’s very important to me that we make the playoffs. That’s what I hope happens next year.”

New England is set to play in a highly competitive AFC East in 2023, which should present a challenge in meeting Kraft’s target. If they fall short of the postseason once again, however, Belichick’s job security could increasingly become a key storyline to watch.

Patriots Notes: QBs, Mayo, Patricia, JuJu

Mac Jones struggled mightily during his second season in the NFL. After earning a Pro Bowl nod and guiding the Patriots to a 10-7 record as a rookie, Jones went 6-8 while tossing 14 touchdowns vs. 11 interceptions in 2022. Rookie fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe started a pair of games while filling in for an injured Jones last season, winning both of his starts while tossing three touchdowns vs. one pick in those two games.

Jones’ 2022 struggles can easily be attributed to the loss of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (and replacing the OC with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge), and when you consider New England’s first-round investment in Jones, it’s easy to assume that he’ll retain his starting gig heading into the 2023 campaign. However, coach Bill Belichick refused to give Jones a vote of confidence following the 2022 season, leading some to wonder if the Patriots could have a QB competition heading into next year.

In typical Belichick fashion, the head coach didn’t provide too much insight into the QB situation while speaking to reporters today, noting that “everyone will get a chance to play” and the Patriots will opt for “the best player.”

“If they earn an opportunity to play based on what they do in practice and all that, then they’ll get an opportunity to play,” Belichick said (via Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald). “Certainly the veteran players that have been on the team before, if they’re still on the team, they’ll all get an opportunity to play.”

It’s not a huge surprise to see Belichick playing coy, but as Callahan notes, Belichick definitively stated that Tom Brady and Cam Newton were the starting QBs throughout their respective tenures with the Patriots. Now, Jones certainly doesn’t have the resume of either of his predecessors, but it’s certainly interesting that Belichick continues to avoid answering questions about his quarterbacks depth chart.

While Belichick might not want to publicly support Jones, the QB has a fan in Robert Kraft.

I’m a big fan of Mac,” the Patriots owner said (via NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport on Twitter). “We experimented with some things last year that didn’t work. We made changed to put him in position to excel.”

More notes out of New England…

  • When Jerod Mayo rejected head coaching interviews and decided to stick with the Patriots, it was assumed the organization promised him a larger role…with some wondering if Mayo may have the inside track on succeeding Belichick as head coach. Kraft somewhat acknowledged as much during an interview on NFL Network, saying he views Mayo as a potential heir apparent to Belichick (via’s Judy Battista on Twitter). Kraft also told NFL Network that he doesn’t see a ceiling on Mayo’s coaching career. Following an eight-year playing career with the Patriots, Mayo joined New England’s coaching staff as linebackers coach in 2019. Recently, he’s served as the unofficial defensive coordinator alongside Steve Belichick.
  • Patricia earned plenty of criticism last season while serving as the team’s de facto offensive coordinator. The Patriots have since brought in Bill O’Brien to guide their offense, but there hasn’t been a reported resolution on Patricia’s status with the organization. Naturally, Belichick didn’t provide many additional details on the situation, telling reporters that he’s unsure if Patricia will be coaching for the Patriots in 2023 (via AtoZSports’ Doug Kyed on Twitter). After serving as the Patriots defensive coordinator for six years, Patricia returned to the organization in 2021 following a three-year stint as the Lions head coach.
  • New Patriots receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has incentives in his contract tied to receiving yards, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter). In 2023, the wideout can earn $750K if he hits 950 yards and he can earn another $750K at 1,100 yards. In 2024 and 2025, Smith-Schuster can earn $1MM for 800 yards, $1MM for 950 yards, and another $1MM for 1,100 yards.
  • James Robinson‘s new contract with the Patriots contains no guaranteed money, per Kyed (on Twitter). He’ll earn a $150K roster bonus if he sticks on the 2023 roster, plus $160K via a workout bonus and up to $680K in per-game roster bonuses.

Eagles Eyeing Matt Patricia; Return To Patriots Still In Play?

Matt Patricia has not landed a job just yet, but it should be expected the veteran defensive coach (feat. a memorable 2022 on the offensive side) lands elsewhere in 2023, Dan Graziano of notes. Patricia has met with the Broncos, but Sean Payton pointed to new DC Vance Joseph needing to sign off on a hire.

The Eagles also have Patricia on their radar. Nick Sirianni is aiming to add a veteran staffer for the linebackers coach position vacated by Nick Rallis, and’s Adam Caplan notes the Patricia addition is “probably going to happen.” The defending NFC champions would place Patricia as a senior member of the staff if hired, noting Sirianni is prioritizing experience for this hire.

This would be an interesting fit, given the Patricia-Darius Slay relationship from the duo’s Lions days. Slay’s dislike for Patricia was bad enough it affected the cornerback’s performance, per Caplan, and the accomplished cover man said he and Patricia’s relationship was “destroyed” as early as 2018, the latter’s first season as Lions HC. Ahead of Patricia’s final year in Detroit, the Lions sent Slay to the Eagles for third- and fifth-round picks. A recent Slay tweet regarding a Patricia Philadelphia arrival pointed to animosity remaining. Although Patricia would not be coaching Slay in Philly, this reunion would certainly bring an awkward component into the Eagles’ defensive equation.

Patricia, however, has spoken with multiple teams about a role, Graziano adds. Patricia’s Patriots contract has expired, and his most recent New England arrangement did not come with much compensation from the Pats. The Lions still owing Patricia money — as part of his five-year contract — aided the Patriots in paying their versatile assistant, with Ben Volin of the Boston Globe describing the situation as the AFC East team not needing to pay an offensive coordinator last season.

Patricia ended up the de facto Pats OC in 2022. As most assumed, it did not go well. The longtime defensive coach and ex-Lions leader, however, did not want to serve in that role, per Volin, who notes Patricia ended up doing so as a favor to Bill Belichick. The Patriots boss wanted a coach he could trust at the helm on offense. The Pats had lost longtime OC Josh McDaniels, and rather than hire a true play-caller, Belichick took the unusual step of putting Patricia in that post. The Pats have since added another ex-staffer, Bill O’Brien, to serve in this capacity.

Patricia gained considerable experience during his second New England stay, playing the lead role on offense with an emphasis on the team’s O-line while working in a front office capacity at points as well. He is the rare modern NFL coach to call plays on both sides of the ball. Patricia seems poised to head to a third organization soon, though Volin adds a path back to New England should still be open due to he and Belichick remaining close. The Patriots have already filled their O-line coach post, hiring Adrian Klemm, while the Broncos have added both inside and outside linebackers coaches.

Matt Patricia Still In Play For Broncos; Sean Payton Discusses Vic Fangio Pursuit

The NFL’s coordinator carousel is slowing down, after nearly two months of spinning. The ride left Matt Patricia without a position, with the Patriots hiring Bill O’Brien after using the longtime defensive staffer in the strange role of de facto offensive coordinator.

Another Patricia path closed when the Broncos hired Vance Joseph as defensive coordinator, bringing back the veteran coach four years after firing him as head coach. Patricia, however, is still in play to work under Joseph. Sean Payton confirmed Tuesday he plans to meet with Patricia about a staff position.

He and I are gonna talk this week, and I wouldn’t rule that out, though. If that were to possibly come to fruition, it would be for a few things,” Payton said, via the Detroit News’ Justin Rogers. “I’d certainly want to talk to Vance and our defensive coaches, but I know Matt well enough to know how smart he is and what he can contribute.”

Patricia, who also joined Rex Ryan and Sean Desai as candidates for the Broncos’ DC gig, has spent the past two-plus seasons back with the Patriots. Bill Belichick rehired him, following a rough go of it as Lions HC, and installed his longtime lieutenant at different positions. Patricia spent time in an executive role upon coming back to New England and was given significant responsibilities on offense last season, working as Belichick’s top assistant on that side of the ball. That unorthodox plan did not work out, and O’Brien’s arrival left Patricia in limbo. His Pats contract expired. Patricia’s Lions contract expiring also may have played a role in the veteran looking for a role outside of New England.

Payton and Patricia have not worked together; the latter spent 14 years with the Pats — six as DC — before landing the Lions’ top job. The Broncos are keeping two holdovers on defense — DBs coach Christian Parker and D-line coach Marcus Dixon — and have already added Greg Manusky and Michael Wilhoite to head up their inside and outside linebackers, respectively. Patricia, 48, would make sense as a senior defensive assistant, but Joseph will have to sign off on one of his competitors for the DC job joining the staff.

Although Payton made the rare move to bring a fired HC back to the same team that ousted him, he confirmed he wanted Joseph’s Broncos HC successor — Vic Fangio — to come back. Payton and Fangio were linked to joining forces back in December, but the latter received a host of opportunities and ended up signing a three-year deal with the Dolphins. Fangio is set to be the league’s highest-paid DC.

Do I think he would have been a great asset for us? Yes. We were planning, in this year/wave, if the right scenario came up we’d work together,” Payton said. “I think [the Denver fit] was just a little unique because it wasn’t too long ago he was here, but certainly I tried, talked to him, tried to twist his arm. I’m excited for his opportunity in Miami.”

Payton’s Patricia and Fangio comments made for an interesting morning for Joseph, who agreed to rejoin a team that sacked him four years ago. The initial report of Fangio agreeing to terms with the Dolphins surfaced Jan. 29; the Broncos hired Payton on Jan. 31. While Fangio’s Dolphins agreement did not become finalized for a stretch, it can be assumed Payton still attempted to pursue him for the Denver job. This all occurred before Joseph entered the picture. The Broncos’ Joseph interview request did not come out until Feb. 16. Payton confirmed Joseph’s time as Arizona’s defensive coordinator — a post the recent Cardinals HC candidate called “a tough job for a number of years” — did well to vault him past Denver’s other DC candidates.

Fangio, 64, coached the Broncos from 2019-21. Unlike Joseph, who was not with the team during GM George Paton‘s tenure, Fangio lost his job at the conclusion of Paton’s first season with the team. The Scranton, Pa., native worked with the Eagles as a consultant last season but planned on making a full-fledged DC return in 2023. The Dolphins paid him handsomely to do so.

2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker

As the head coaching carousel spun for several weeks, many teams made coordinator changes as well. Teams seeking new head coaches are conducting OC and DC searches, and a handful of other teams that did not make HC changes are also searching for top assistants.

This is a big year for offensive coordinator hires, with nearly half the league making changes. Here are the teams searching for new OCs and DCs. As new searches emerge, they will be added to the list.

Updated 3-1-23 (3:31pm CT)

Offensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals 

Baltimore Ravens (Out: Greg Roman)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Ben McAdoo)

  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach, (Rams): Hired
  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Interviewed

Dallas Cowboys (Out: Kellen Moore)

  • Brian Angelichio, tight ends coach (Vikings): Interviewed 2/2
  • Thomas Brown, tight ends coach (Rams): Interviewed
  • Jeff Nixon, running backs coach (Panthers): Interviewed
  • Brian Schottenheimer, offensive consultant (Cowboys): Hired

Denver Broncos (Out: Justin Outten)

Houston Texans (Out: Pep Hamilton)

Indianapolis Colts (Out: Parks Frazier)

  • Jim Bob Cooter, passing-game coordinator (Jaguars): Hired
  • Tee Martin, wide receivers coach (Ravens): Interview requested

Kansas City Chiefs (Out: Eric Bieniemy)

  • Matt Nagy, quarterbacks coach (Chiefs): Hired

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Joe Lombardi)

Los Angeles Rams (Out: Liam Coen)

New York Jets (Out: Mike LaFleur)

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Shane Steichen)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Out: Byron Leftwich)

Tennessee Titans (Out: Todd Downing)

Washington Commanders (Out: Scott Turner)

Defensive Coordinators

Arizona Cardinals (Out: Vance Joseph)

Atlanta Falcons (Out: Dean Pees)

Buffalo Bills (Out: Leslie Frazier)

Carolina Panthers (Out: Al Holcomb)

  • Ejiro Evero, former defensive coordinator (Broncos): Hired
  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): Interviewed
  • Marquand Manuel, safeties coach (Jets): Interviewed
  • Kris Richard, co-defensive coordinator (Saints): Interviewed

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans 

Los Angeles Chargers (Out: Renaldo Hill)

  • Derrick Ansley, defensive backs coach (Chargers): Promoted
  • Doug Belk, defensive coordinator (Houston): Interviewed
  • DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach (Patriots): Interviewed

Miami Dolphins (Out: Josh Boyer)

Minnesota Vikings (Out: Ed Donatell)

New Orleans Saints (Out: Ryan Nielsen, Kris Richard)

  • Joe Woods, former defensive coordinator (Browns): Hired

Philadelphia Eagles (Out: Jonathan Gannon)

San Francisco 49ers (Out: DeMeco Ryans)

  • Vic Fangio, former head coach (Broncos): On radar
  • Chris Harris, defensive backs coach (Commanders): Interviewed 1/31
  • Kris Kocurek, defensive line coach (49ers): On radar
  • Steve Wilks, former interim head coach (Panthers): Hired

Latest On Broncos’ Coaching Staff; Matt Patricia Still On Radar For Assistant Job?

1:13pm: If Patricia is part of Payton’s plans, it will not be as linebackers coach. The Broncos are hiring Michael Wilhoite for that position, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Recently dismissed by the Chargers, Wilhoite worked with the Saints from 2019-20. The former NFL linebacker was on Payton’s staffs then as a lower-level assistant; this job represents a title bump.

12:20pm: The Broncos’ Vance Joseph defensive coordinator hire removes some of their candidates from the equation, but it might not scrap partnerships will all of them. Matt Patricia may still be on the radar for a role in Denver.

The former Lions HC and longtime Bill Belichick assistant has been connected to joining the Broncos as linebackers coach, Troy Renck of Denver7 notes. Sean Payton responded to a tweet questioning his methodical pace at filling out Denver’s staff, indicating he had 16 coaches in place. It would appear more names will surface soon. The team is still looking for an offensive coordinator.

Patricia, 48, interviewed Wednesday for the job Joseph just accepted. Although he worked with the Patriots’ offensive line last season — one that became a controversial campaign due to the longtime defensive staffer being the team’s de facto OC — the former head coach and longtime defensive coordinator has not held a position coach title since 2011, when he was the Pats’ safeties coach. Patricia has only worked for the Patriots and Lions during his lengthy NFL stay; the Pats brought him back shortly after his Lions firing.

Patricia is no longer under contract with the Patriots, and while it is believed he should still have a job under Belichick, the Lions no longer paying him a head coach salary would require the Pats to handle the entire compensation going forward. That should not be a major issue, given assistants’ salaries, but it certainly would be interesting if Patricia left New England for a non-coordinator job. His contract expiring would mean the Pats cannot block such a move, however.

The Broncos are also retaining two of their holdover defensive assistants. They will keep both defensive line coach Marcus Dixon and defensive backs coach Christian Parker, James Palmer of tweets. Parker, 31, interviewed for the DC job, providing an illustration of the team’s view of the young staffer, and will enter his third season with the team. He joined the Broncos during Vic Fangio‘s tenure; Dixon, 38, signed on under Ejiro Evero last year. This is Parker’s first job coaching a position, while Dixon — a former NFL D-lineman — coached on the Rams’ staff in 2021.

Although Mike Zimmer also interviewed for a separate staff position and would make sense in a senior defensive assistant-type role alongside Payton, his Cowboys coworker in the 2000s, the linebackers position is the top box for the Broncos now to check on defense. On offense, the team is replacing five-year wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni with ex-NFLer Keary Colbert, Matt Zenitz of tweets. Colbert, who played an auxiliary role for the Broncos’ receiving corps from 2008-09, spent last season as Florida’s receivers coach. He also mentored Drake London at USC. Colbert, 40, began coaching immediately after his playing career wrapped. Azzanni joined the Jets as their receivers coach recently.

Matt Patricia A New DC Candidate In Denver

As new Broncos head coach Sean Payton has continued building his new staff in Denver, two names have emerged as top candidates for the defensive coordinator position. Joining Rex Ryan and Vance Joseph as top options for the job, Patriots senior football advisor Matt Patricia spent today in Denver as a new candidate for the role, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Despite his successful tenure in New England as a defensive coordinator, which led to a head coaching job, Patricia found himself on the offensive side of the coaching staff this past year for the Patriots. The move to pair Patricia with offensive assistant Joe Judge to effectively serve as de facto offensive coordinator puzzled many and didn’t exactly deliver the desired results the Patriots were hoping for. Patricia garnered much of the criticism in his first return to the offensive side of coaching since he served as assistant offensive line coach in 2005.

With the recent addition of Bill O’Brien, back as offensive coordinator in New England for the first time in 12 years, questions immediately arose surrounding the future of both Patricia and Judge. Obviously no longer needed to call offensive plays, it’s widely been believed that both coaches would still be able to carve some role out to remain in New England. With the new update in Denver, it appears Patricia is trying his hand at other jobs in the NFL, as well.

Patricia is an intriguing candidate for the position. His tenure as defensive coordinator for the Patriots was largely successful. As defensive coordinator from 2012-17, Patricia’s defenses never finished worse than 10th in the league in points allowed, finishing first in the category in 2016. Despite the success keeping opponents out of the end zone, the defenses under Patricia finished in the bottom eight for yards allowed three times, including a 29th-ranked finish in his final season as defensive coordinator in 2017.

Besides Patricia, the Broncos have had seven other potential names mentioned for the position. Former defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was released from his contract and allowed to accept the same position in Carolina. Brian Flores cancelled his interview and accepted the defensive coordinator position in Minnesota. Former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was mentioned as a candidate, and Seahawks defensive assistant Sean Desai and Saints former co-defensive coordinator Kris Richard were both interviewed for the job, but to this point, Joseph and Ryan are considered the favorites with Ryan even undergoing a second interview last week.

It will be interesting to see how much Patricia factors into the decision as such a late addition to the search. For updates on the job, be sure to follow our 2023 Offensive/Defensive Coordinator Search Tracker.