Troy Brown

Patriots Notes: Covington, Brown, Wolf

Considering New England’s unconventional approach to their defensive coaching staff in recent years, it was uncertain how much control new defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington would have on Jerod Mayo‘s staff. It sounds like Covington will have full authority over his defense, as the coach revealed to reporters today that he’ll be the defensive play-caller this season (via Karen Guregian of MassLive).

It had been years since Bill Belichick employed a traditional DC, with Mayo and Steve Belichick most recently splitting the unofficial role. The younger Belichick was the one calling defensive plays, but he won’t be sticking around New England after taking the DC job at the University of Washington. Mayo himself could have been a candidate for the defensive play-caller role, but it sounds like he’ll be leaning on his DC during games.

This will be Covington’s first time serving in either of those two roles in the NFL. Following a one-season stint as Eastern Illinois’ DC, he’s served in a variety of roles on New England’s coaching staff.

On the other side of the ball, Troy Brown will be sticking around as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach (via Doug Kyed of the Boston Herald). The long-time Patriots WR transitioned to coaching following his playing career, and he’s guided New England’s wideouts since the 2021 campaign. With Mayo revamping the coaching staff, it was uncertain if Brown would be retained in his current role.

Elsewhere in New England, there’s been a bit of confusion surrounding who’s actually leading the front office. Eliot Wolf is expected to control the 53-man roster for at least the time being, and it sounds like the executive had some extra responsibilities while Mayo filled his coaching staff. The new Patriots head coach told reporters that Wolf participated in all of the coaching interviews this offseason (via Kyed).

The son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, Eliot Wolf spent more than a decade with Green Bay before joining New England’s operation. His experience with the Packers has clearly been reflected on the coaching staff, as the team has brought in ex-Packers assistants like Alex Van Pelt, Ben McAdoo, Jerry Montgomery and Alonzo Highsmith.

Patriots Notes: Bourne, Front Office, Brown

Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tore his ACL at the end of October, an injury that had especially poor timing considering his impending free agent. However, the wideout has made it clear that he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery, and he’s eyeing a return to New England in 2024.

Speaking to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, the receiver said he’s expecting to be ready for the start of next season. Bourne also discussed his upcoming unrestricted free agency, with the veteran stating his desire to stick with the Patriots.

“I want to come back [to New England],” Bourne said. “That is a goal of mine. I love being a Patriot — it’s a great environment for a person like me. Being a Patriot helped me grow into the player I am today. I’m thankful for the organization, but you never know. I’ve been in free agency before and I didn’t know what would happen. And I don’t know now.”

After spending the first four seasons of his career with the 49ers, Bourne inked a three-year deal worth up to $22.5MM with the Patriots. The wideout had an up-and-down three years in New England. He finished 2021 with career highs in receptions (55), receiving yards (800), and touchdowns (five). He found himself in the doghouse in 2022, but he rebounded in 2023, averaging a career-high 50.8 yards per game prior to his injury.

The wideout now has to navigate both his injury recovery and his impending free agency. Bourne told Reiss that he has a physical therapist living with him, and his current focus is on strengthening his quadriceps and legs in support of his knee.

“I was in the best shape of my life and the knee slowed me down a lot,” Bourne said. “It’s annoying to have someone always on me and bugging me, but I know what I need to get back to where I was when I got hurt. I’m embracing it now.”

More notes out of New England…

  • While it’s uncertain if the Patriots will make a move at general manager, Eliot Wolf is expected to control the 53-man roster for the time being. Reiss has provided a bit more insight, noting Wolf’s ascension is a sign the Patriots are focusing on more of a “Packer-based structure” to their front office. Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, spent more than a decade with Green Bay, and Reiss believes the Patriots are pivoting to a system that values the personnel department’s input vs. the head coach’s final say (a tactic that was impossible with Bill Belichick at the helm). Reiss notes that Wolf was also heavily involved with the head coaching process, and he subsequently worked with Jerod Mayo to fill out the coaching staff.
  • Speaking of the front office, the Patriots have added a familiar face to their operation. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 in Houston, the Patriots have hired executive Bobby Brown for a front office role. Brown previously served as the Patriots associate director of football administration, but he left for the Texans this past season to work alongside his brother, Andrew Brown.
  • The Patriots continue to add to their coaching staff. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the team has hired Drew Wilkins as their outside linebackers coach. Wilkins spent more than a decade on the Ravens coaching staff, where he worked alongside current Patriots star linebacker Matthew Judon. Wilkins spent the past two seasons as the Giants OLBs coach, but he was let go following New York’s overhaul of the defensive coaching staff.
  • Former Patriots WR Troy Brown has spent the past three seasons as New England’s receivers coach, but with his contract having expired and a new coaching staff in place, his future with the organization is in doubt. Reiss writes that Brown could be one of the few holdovers to stick around in 2024. Alex Van Pelt is now in place as the Patriots offensive coordinator, so there’s a chance the new hire decides to pursue his own WRs coach.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/23/23

Today’s minor NFL transactions from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Waived from IR with injury settlement: CB Kemon Hall

New England Patriots

New York Giants

  • Waived from IR with injury settlement: LB Troy Brown

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Commanders

Free Agents

The Broncos get an important piece back today in Purcell. The veteran defensive tackle found a strong role last year on in the Denver rotation. After passing his physical today, Purcell may be able to get his sea legs back in the team’s last preseason game, but they may choose to rest him following his return from a minor knee injury.

It’s bit of a surprise to see Johnson get cut loose in Philadelphia. The 26-year-old lineman had recently been promoted to second-team left tackle. With the Eagles’ preseason finale tomorrow, he was likely set to get a strong share of snaps. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes the team could bring back soon, only cutting him temporarily to fix something to do with his paperwork.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/16/23

Here are today’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

Carolina Panthers

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

  • Waived from IR with injury settlement: WR Trey Quinn

Green Bay Packers

  • Waived from IR with injury settlement: WR Jeff Cotton

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Reverted to IR: CB Anthony Witherstone

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Signed: CB Matt Hankins
  • Waived/injured: CB Kemon Hall

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Fry goes unclaimed on the waiver wire after being waived with an injury designation yesterday by the Broncos. This could mean that Brett Maher won’t be able to run away with the job to replace longtime kicker Brandon McManus this year. With Fry remaining on the roster, Maher will need to stay sharp in order to stay the only active kicker on the team’s depth chart.

Guidry is expected to undergo surgery after injuring his knee in a joint practice with the Buccaneers today, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network. The Jets will hope he lasts through waivers as he has impressed so far in camp. If he does, New York will likely revert him to injured reserve in order to keep him on the roster.

Latest On Patriots’ Offensive Coordinator Duties

With former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels departing to take the head coaching gig in Las Vegas, the Patriots will be faced with the task of finding a new play-caller on offense. Well, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN, since the role has not yet been filled, it appears that head coach Bill Belichick, offensive assistant Joe Judge, and former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia are all currently sharing the duties of the role

That list of names may be bit surprising. Patricia is currently on staff as a senior football advisor, after a rough tenure in his first head coaching job in Detroit. While Patricia is know for his time in New England as a defensive coach, he began with the Patriots as an offensive assistant and, subsequently, assistant offensive line coach. Many believe that, in his return, he will work mainly with the team’s offensive line, once again.

Judge is another branch of the Belichick-coaching tree that has returned after a less-than-stellar stint as the Giants’ head coach. Judge worked with the Patriots’ special teams unit during his first tenure with the team, adding wide receivers to his docket in his final year before going to New York. Listed on the Patriots’ website as an offensive assistant, it’s presumed that Judge will be working directly with Mac Jones, Bailey Zappe, and the other quarterbacks.

Finally, the Hoody, himself. Belichick has never officially held play-calling duties. While it’s generally accepted that he’s always had an influence on the Patriots’ offense, McDaniels was always granted free-reign to call plays. Belichick hasn’t even coached with a focus solely on offense since he was the Lions’ receivers coach back in 1977. Besides that role in Detroit, as an assistant, Belichick has always coached defense and special teams. To his credit, though, in Belichick’s first head coaching job in Cleveland, he was heavily credited for his role in the offensive play-calling, though he claimed it was a group effort.

Besides the three named in Reiss’s article, tight ends/fullbacks coach Nick Caley is expected to take on increased responsibility. Troy Brown is in place to coach the wide receivers and kick returners. Ivan Fears and Vinnie Sunseri both share the oversight of the running backs. And Billy Yates holds the position of assistant offensive line coach.

This whole article may end up being a moot point if Belichick and company bring in an offensive coordinator ready to utilize the Patriots’ existing system and call plays in it. For now, though, the role is seemingly vacant, with Belichick taking a village approach to handle the duties.

Latest On Patriots Offensive Coaching Staff

With Josh McDaniels leaving New England for Las Vegas, the Patriots have a giant hole on their offensive coaching staff. In traditional Bill Belichick fashion, it sounds like the organization may be going with an unconventional route when it comes to McDaniels’ replacement(s). While Belichick hasn’t named an official offensive coordinator, the long-time head coach specifically singled out former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coach Joe Judge “as those whom he will be relying upon to help replace McDaniels,” per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

“We’ve had a lot of coaches take multiple responsibilities. I’m not really worried about that,” Belichick said today when asked about the lack of offensive experience for Patricia and Judge. “I think a good coach is a good coach. Matt is a great coach. Joe is a great coach. They’ll help us no matter what position they coach.”

Patricia had a brief stint as offensive line coach with the Patriots in 2005, but he moved to linebackers in 2006 and ended up staying on defense until getting a head coaching gig in Detroit. Similarly, Judge served primarily on special teams during his first seven years with the Patriots, but he took on the role of wide receivers coach in 2019 before leaving to coach the Giants.

When it comes to a lack of offensive coordinator, the Patriots took a similar route with their defense in 2021, with both Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick guiding that side of the ball (as Reiss notes, Belichick said today “that he doesn’t believe in titles”). The HC noted that all of Patricia, Judge, tight ends coach Nick Caley, and receivers coach Troy Brown will play significant roles in guiding second-year QB Mac Jones and the Patriots offense. However, Belichick was tight lipped when asked who will call plays.

“We won’t be calling any for a while,” Belichick said. “[McDaniels will] be hard to replace, but I feel like we have really good coaches on our staff. … Everybody will have a defined role, like they always do. The offseason is the offseason and once we get on the field coaching players, game-planning and things that, it will all work itself out.”

AFC East Notes: Brady, Winters, Brown

Tom Brady‘s impending unrestricted free agency will be the largest story of the offseason. It remains unclear whether he will be returning to the Patriots or looking for a new home outside of New England. One important element of negotiations revolves around Brady’s relationship with owner Robert Kraft.

A source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that he “wonders” if Kraft will instruct head coach and president Bill Belichick to do whatever is necessary to keep Brady in a Pats uniform. While little is known about Brady’s own preferences, the power dynamics within the organization itself could very well play a role as well.

  • Many expect Jets guard Brian Winters to be released to make $7MM in salary cap space, but Rich Cimini of ESPN notes that the organization might want to find a way to retain the guard at a reduced salary through a restructure. Winters, a seven-year veteran, has spent his entire career with the Jets and started 9 games for the team last season.
  • Former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown appears to be taking a larger role on the team’s coaching staff, per Mike Reiss of ESPN. Reiss noted that Brown, who has been on the Pats coaching staff in a limited capacity, was involved in meetings with prospects at the scouting combine.

East Rumors: Cowboys, Patriots, Giants

Cowboys scout Josh Brent was arrested for public intoxication on Sunday, Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reports (on Twitter). Brent became uncooperative and was tased, according to Watkins, who adds (via Twitter) he waits in a Carrollton, Texas, jail and may face further charges. This incident occurred in a Wendy’s parking lot, according to Dean Straka and Claire Cardona of the Dallas Morning News. (Video of Brent’s arrest, courtesy of WFAA’s Bradley Blackburn, can be seen here.) This may prove to be significant for Brent, who has a checkered legal history. The former Cowboys defensive lineman was convicted of intoxication manslaughter in 2012, when he was driving a vehicle that crashed, killing Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown. Brent served 180 days in jail for that crime. He has worked as a Cowboys scout since 2015. Brent, 31, also pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2009.

Here is the latest from the East divisions:

  • Jerod Mayo looks set for a key role on the Patriots‘ coaching staff this season, and some fellow recent acclaimed Patriot players may join him in the near future. Troy Brown, Deion Branch and Kevin Faulk helped run drills during Patriots offseason workouts, and Mike Reiss of notes spots are likely waiting for them on Bill Belichick‘s staff if they are ready to pursue coaching. Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge also instructs Pats wide receivers, leaving a possible role open. Both Brown and Faulk have been Boston-area media presences since their respective careers concluded. Neither played for another organization, while Branch returned to New England after being traded to Seattle in 2006.
  • Although the Patriots have 90 players on their offseason roster, they still have an open spot. Because fullback Jakob Johnson is part of the NFL’s International Pathway program, Reiss notes the Pats can carry 91 players this summer.
  • After passing on Josh Allen and to draft Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall, the Giants carry questions about their edge rusher situation going into training camp. Both Matt Longacre and Sam Acho could be low-cost fits to join the likes of Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden and Kareem Martin, per’s Matt Lombardo. A four-year Rams edge cog, Loncagre visited the Ravens this offseason, but they went with Shane Ray and Pernell McPhee instead. No known Acho visits have transpired since the Bears cut him in March. The Giants’ 30 sacks last season ranked 31st.
  • Also potentially on the Giants’ late-offseason to-do list: add a No. 3 wide receiver. Michael Crabtree and Dez Bryant represent the biggest names on the market, and Lombardo, citing the Giants’ No. 28-ranked 2018 red zone offense, views Crabtree as a fit for Big Blue. Fifth-round rookie Darius Slayton has impressed New York’s coaching staff thus far and appears to have a legitimate shot at commandeering the WR3 job, but the Auburn product has functioned more as a deep threat in his career.
  • It appears Daniel Snyder will have input in which quarterback opens the season as the Redskins starter.