V’Angelo Bentley

Patriots Finalize Coaching Staff

With new head coach Jerod Mayo taking over after over two decades of Bill Belichick at the helm, the Patriots have solidified the entirety of their new coaching staff.

We already knew about the hires of offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, quarterbacks coach T.C. McCartney, running backs coach Taylor Embree, offensive line coach Scott Peters, and senior offensive assistant Ben McAdoo on the offensive side of the ball and defensive coordinator DeMarcus Covington, defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins, and inside linebackers coach Dont’a Hightower, as well as the retention of cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino and safeties coach Brian Belichick., on the defensive side, but below is the update on the rest of next season’s staff.

We were aware that former Rams assistant special teams coach Jeremy Springer had been going through an interview process, interviewing twice for the special teams coordinator position, but now we know that he will be heading special teams going forward in New England, replacing Cameron Achord in that role. He will be backed up by new special teams assistant coach Tom Quinn and special teams assistant and quality control coach Coby Tippett, after former assistant Joe Houston departed for the University of Florida. Quinn, a former long-time coordinator for the Giants, more recently spent last year on the Titans’ staff. Tippett was a coaching assistant in New England’s 2023 training camp and spent last season coaching cornerbacks at Tufts University.

On the defensive side of the ball, a few familiar faces stuck around and a few more were hired or promoted. The only new names here were defensive coaching assistants and quality control coaches Vinny DePalma and Jamael Lett. DePalma just finished his sixth year of playing linebacker for the Eagles at Boston College. He makes an extremely quick jump from playing in college to his first coaching position in the NFL. Lett most recently spent 2023 as a special teams analyst at the University of North Carolina. He has a litany of experience at other schools like South Alabama, Akron, Samford, Ohio, and Tennessee-Martin, but this will be his first NFL opportunity, as well. Last year, V’Angelo Bentley and Keith Jones held similar roles on the defense as fellows, but neither seems to have been retained.

Most of the new faces here are on the offensive staff. First, with former tight ends coach Will Lawing taking the offensive coordinator job at Boston College, former Saints senior offensive assistant Bob Bicknell will take his place. Bicknell’s extensive experience coaching the wide receiver, offensive line, and tight end positions sets him up well for his new role, though he hasn’t coached tight ends since 2011. Joining Bicknell in coaching receiving targets will be new wide receivers coach Tyler Hughes and assistant wide receivers coach Tiquan Underwood.

Hughes returns to the Patriots after a year as an offensive quality control coach at the University of Washington. Before that he had spent three years as an offensive assistant with New England. Underwood’s first NFL job came as an offensive quality control coach for the Dolphins back in 2019. Since then, he’s been coaching receivers at Rutgers and Pitt. The two replace the last two coaches for the position, Ross Douglas, who will coach the same position at Syracuse, and Troy Brown, who was not retained on the new staff.

Now, we did know that Robert Kugler would be joining the staff in some capacity about ten days ago, but now we have confirmation that he will come into the assistant offensive line coach position, the same one he held with the Panthers last year. This seems to indicate that last year’s assistant offensive line coach, Billy Yates, has not been retained after essentially taking over the position last year. Lastly on offense, the team will add Michael McCarthy to the staff as an offensive coaching assistant and quality control coach. McCarthy used to be an NFL assistant coach with the Browns and Lions but has spent the last five years as offensive line coach at Brown.

Finally, with Mayo’s younger brother, Deron Mayo, being promoted to the head of strength and conditioning, meaning that the former head, Moses Cabrera, will not be returning, the Patriots have hired Brian McDonough to fill his place as assistant strength and conditioning coach. McDonough has been a consultant for the team for over 20 years, but he’ll now accept his first full-time role with New England.

There you have it: the Patriots 2024 coaching staff. The last few years of regression following Tom Brady‘s departure are now the last chapters of a previous book. It will be up to Mayo and company to write the first chapter of a new one in the 2024 NFL season.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/19/16

The Falcons worked out several safeties today, including veteran Dashon Goldson, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Goldson has already spent time with Atlanta this season, appearing in four games for the club earlier in the year. The Falcons also took at look defensive backs Earl Wolff and Floyd Raven as they seek to replace Kemal Ishmael, who was placed on IR last week.

Here’s more from the workout circuit:

  • Veteran linebacker Joplo Bartu met with the Dolphins today, per Caplan (Twitter link). Bartu has been in the league since 2013, and has 48 games of experience — including 28 starts — under his belt during time with Atlanta and Jacksonville. However, the 26-year-old Bartu hasn’t started a contest since 2014.
  • The Bears worked out a slew of players on Monday, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links). Chicago met with the following players today: defensive ends Jeoffrey Pagan and Mike Rose; linebackers Taiwan Jones and Frank Beltre; and defensive backs V’Angelo Bentley, Forrest Hightower, Dwayne Hollis, Rashaad Reynolds, and Mitchell White.
  • The Seahawks visited with free agent running back George Winn, tweets Caplan. Winn, who has bounced on and off the Lions and Giants practice squads this season, could add depth on a Seattle roster that has already lost C.J. Prosise and Troymaine Pope for the year.
  • Running back Terrell Watson tried out for the Eagles today, according to Caplan (Twitter link). Philadelphia recently placed RB Wendell Smallwood on injured reserve, meaning Watson — a former Bengals and Browns preseason star — could be a fit.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/22/16

Today’s minor moves:

  • The Chargers have officially placed tight end Jeff Cumberland on injured reserve after he tore his Achilles last week, the club announced today. To fill out their roster, San Diego agreed to sign defensive back Michael Lee.
  • The Jets have moved wide receiver Titus Davis from the exempt/left squad list to the reserve/retired list, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Jets head coach Todd Bowles said earlier this month that Davis had opted to retire.
  • The Broncos have waived former Colorado State guard Sam Carlson, Mike Klis of 9NEWS tweets. Carlson was removevd from the roster in order to create a spot for Henry Melton, who was signed yesterday.
  • The Buccaneers announced that they have signed tackle Kyler Kerbyson and waived/injured tackle Kelby Johnson. Kerbyson, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, was waived by the Patriots earlier this month. The Buccaneers also waived linebacker Cassanova McKinzy.
  • The Eagles have waived linebacker Deontae Skinner, the club announced. Skinner appeared in seven games for Philadelphia last year, but his roster spot will now go to veteran ‘backer Stephen Tulloch.
  • The Patriots have waived rookie cornerback V’Angelo Bentley, per a team announcement.
  • The Packers announced that they’ve released offensive lineman Matt Rotheram and long snapper Jesse Schmitt from their injured reserve list.
  • The Colts have signed wide receiver Justin Berger and waived fellow pass-catchers Andrew Opoku and Marcus Leak, the team announced.

AFC East Notes: Patriots, Fitzpatrick, Smith, Misi

About a year ago, ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss focused on Tom Brady‘s praise for unheralded Patriots running back Dion Lewis. The career journeyman’s pass-catching skills were clear, but the running back was also commended for his ability to take “a teaching point that was covered in morning meetings…and [execute it] on the field.”

We all know how that experiment ended up working. Lewis compiled 622 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns in seven games.

Today, Reiss decided to highlight some “under-the-radar” OTA participants who could play a significant role on this year’s squad. Among the candidates were cornerback V’Angelo Bentley (who adds versatility via the return game), receiver DeAndre Carter (played on last season’s practice squad), running back D.J. Foster (undrafted free agent received personal phone called from Bill Belichick to join team), and cornerback Jonathan Jones (most guaranteed money among undrafted players).

While the Patriots determine whether they’ve landed on any hidden gems, let’s see what else is happening around the AFC East…

  • We have conflicting reports as to whether Brandon Marshall‘s absence from Jets OTAs is related to the team’s contract talks (or lack thereof) with Ryan Fitzpatrick. One source tells Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (on Twitter) that there is “no story” with regards to Marshall not being in practice with his teammates. Eric Decker, however, is reportedly staying home to make a statement about his feelings on the Fitzpatrick situation.
  • Jets quarterback Geno Smith says that he is OK with his teammates voicing their support for Fitzpatrick, as Brian Costello of the New York Post writes. “When I’m out there on the field no matter who I’m with my job is to score points,” he said. “I have the utmost confidence in my abilities and myself. When the time comes when I’m out there, I’ll go out there and perform. As of right now, it’s about what we’re doing here and taking care of business.”
  • Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi was detained (but not arrested) by police following a fight outside a Fort Lauderdale nightclub on Sunday morning, according to a police report obtained by the Miami Sun-Sentinel. The report also indicated that the 29-year-old attempted to “flee a police officer” following the altercation. Misi could be in line for a team suspension, and it’s notable that the organization disciplined former defensive end Derrick Shelby following a fight outside the same club.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Patriots Sign Eight UDFAs, Cut Joey Iosefa

The Patriots have officially confirmed six previously reported contract agreements with their 2016 draftees, and announced that they’ve locked up two more members of their draft class. Having now signed third-round defensive tackle Vincent Valentine and sixth-round linebacker Elandon Roberts, New England has now secured all of its draft picks except for third-round quarterback Jacoby Brissett.

The Patriots have also cut running back Joey Iosefa from their roster, so he’ll become a free agent if and when he passes through waivers. Iosefa spent time on the Pats’ practice squad last season and was promoted when the backfield was hit hard by injuries. He had 15 carries on the year, with 14 of them (for 51 yards) coming in Week 15 against the Titans.

Finally, the Patriots filled out their 90-man roster by adding eight undrafted free agents to the mix. The club signed the following UDFAs: