Vinnie Sunseri

Washington To Hire Patriots’ Steve Belichick As Defensive Coordinator

Jerod Mayo was interested in retaining Steve Belichick on his first Patriots staff, but that will not happen. The interview Belichick took for a college position will lead to a Foxborough exit.

The second-generation NFL coach is leaving the Patriots to become the defensive coordinator at the University of Washington, per’s Matt Zenitz. Field Yates of indicates Belichick has since accepted the Huskies’ offer. This will mark a significant change for Steve Belichick, but given the developments with his father and the Patriots, it was not too difficult to predict he would also be leaving.

Steve Belichick, 36, worked as a defensive assistant under Bill Belichick for 12 seasons. While his tie to the all-time coaching great undoubtedly aided this rise, Bill entrusted Steve as his primary defensive play-caller over the past four seasons. The Patriots did not employ a traditional defensive coordinator following Matt Patricia‘s 2018 exit, but Mayo and Brian Flores were viewed as the top assistants on that side of the ball. Steve Belichick, however, played a major role during the 2020s.

Moving from the defensive assistant level to the safeties coach position in 2016, Steve coached the Pats’ outside linebackers from 2020-23. Matt Judon and Josh Uche delivered productive seasons during that span, though the Pats were not able to increase Steve Belichick’s ring count from three to four in the ’20s. Mayo offered Steve and Brian Belichick, who joined the staff in 2017 and has been the team’s safeties coach for the past four years, jobs on his 2024 staff. It is not yet known how Brian will proceed, but Steve will land his first coordinator job.

Bill Belichick never coached in the college ranks, but his father spent decades on the Navy staff. The Huskies hired Jedd Fisch as HC to replace new Alabama HC Kalen DeBoer; Fisch was the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach in 2020. The Huskies are also hiring Patriots running backs coach Vinnie Sunseri to help out in the secondary, Yates adds. Sunseri, 32, has been with the Pats since 2020; he spent the past three seasons as their RBs coach but initially joined Bill Belichick’s staff as a defensive assistant.

This all comes as the NFL coaching carousel came to a stop with Bill Belichick without a job. The six-time Super Bowl-winning HC was planning to be selective, though teams were also leery of Belichick and the power he would want; only two — the Falcons and Commanders — talked to him about their HC vacancies. and it should not be expected he will join a team as an assistant. While Belichick has been an NFL staffer in every season since 1975, he has not worked as a coordinator since 1999. Bill, 71, is not planning to retire; a 2025 re-emergence — in what could be his last shot to land a third NFL HC gig — will be on the radar.

Additionally, the Patriots are hiring Packers defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery to work in the same capacity, according to’s Rob Demovsky. A Packers assistant since 2015, Montgomery worked under Dom Capers, Mike Pettine and Joe Barry. The Packers brought Montgomery up from the college ranks; he worked as a college D-line assistant from 2006-14. Montgomery, 44, will replace DeMarcus Covington, whom the Patriots moved into the DC role.

Circling back to the college ranks, two-time Patriots OC Bill O’Brien will make a rather pivotal change. After leaving the Pats to become Ohio State’s offensive coordinator, O’Brien is moving close to a deal to become Boston College’s next head coach, Rich Thompson of the Boston Herald reports. Prior to the Patriots hiring a new OC (Alex Van Pelt), O’Brien bolted for the Ohio State gig. The Packers’ decision to hire ex-Boston College HC Jeff Hafley as DC looks set to produce a ripple effect.

Coaching Notes: Patriots, Raiders, Jets, Dolphins

Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo worked in tandem to guide the Patriots defense during Bill Belichick‘s final years in New England. With the older Belichick gone and Mayo having been promoted to head coach, the younger Belichick was facing an uncertain future with the organization. While there were some rumblings that Mayo was interested in keeping Steve Belichick on staff, the Patriots linebackers coach is set to interview for a job at the University of Washington, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.

While the Patriots didn’t have a traditional defensive coordinator in recent years, Belichick and Mayo were both credited with running the group. Steve Belichick was the defensive play-caller over each of the past four seasons, leading some pundits to wonder if he could earn a promotion to full-time DC with Mayo now leading the way. There were also rumblings that the younger Belichick could join his father in a new landing spot. Ultimately, neither of those scenarios came to fruition, and Steve Belichick is now eyeing a role elsewhere.

Patriots RB coach Vinnie Sunseri is also set to interview with the University of Washington. The coach has experience working on both sides of the ball, and he worked alongside Jedd Fisch when the two were in New England.

Elsewhere on the Patriots staff, assistant special teams coach Joe Houston is leaving for the University of Florida, according to Charean Williams of Houston was set to be named Alabama’s special teams coach in 2020, but the Patriots convinced him to join their coaching staff. He’s spent the past four seasons in New England.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • The Raiders are hiring DeShaun Foster as their new running backs coach, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. After finishing his playing career with more than 4,500 yards from scrimmage, Foster joined UCLA’s staff in 2012. He’s spent most of the past 12 seasons with the Bruins, including the past seven as their running backs coach. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport adds that he expects the Raiders to also add Andre Carter to their staff. The former first-round pick previously served as the Jets defensive line coach.
  • The Jets have added Shawn Jefferson as their new wide receivers coach, according to Josina Anderson. Jefferson has been coaching since 2006, and he’s had stints as the WRs coach with the Lions, Titans, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, and (most recently) the Panthers. He had a previous stint with New York’s coaching staff, serving as the WRs coach/assistant head coach in 2019 and 2020.
  • The Dolphins are making some significant changes to their coaching staff. According to NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe, the organization has parted ways with offensive assistant Kolby Smith. Wolfe adds that offensive assistant Ricardo Allen, offensive assistant Mike Judge, and assistant special teams coach Brendan Farrell also won’t be back in 2024. Smith is a somewhat notable departure. After working alongside RB coach Eric Studesville this past season, he was interviewed for the Jaguars RB coach job.
  • The Rams have hired Giff Smith as their defensive line coach/run game coordinator, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The long-time coach had been with the Chargers since 2016, serving as defensive line coach and linebackers coach. He took on the role of interim head coach this past season following the firing of Brandon Staley, with the Chargers going winless in his three games at the helm. Per Pelissero, a number of teams reached out to Smith about joining their staffs, but the coach ultimately decided to stick in Los Angeles.

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.

49ers Reduce Roster To 71

The 49ers parted with 15 players on Friday to bring their roster to 71, per a team announcement.


Released outright (vested veterans who are not subject to waivers):

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/22/16

Today’s minor NFL signings, cuts, and other moves..

  • The Bengals announced that they have formally cleared defensive tackle Brandon Thompson – previously on the PUP list – to return to practice. They now have an open spot on the roster. Thompson has spent four-plus seasons in Cincinnati, appearing in 39 games.
  • The Falcons announced the signing of punter Matt Wile to the 53-man roster. The deal could be a sign that Matt Bosher‘s hamstring will cause him to miss games. Before coming to Atlanta, Wile had contracts with Carolina and Dallas. He was a kicker at Michigan and a hopeful NFL kicker, but he’ll be punting for the Falcons.
  • The Jets signed wide receiver Jeremy Ross and waived linebacker Taiwan Jones. This marks the third time that the Jets have signed Ross in 2016. If the speedy wideout takes over return duties, the Jets could look to utilize C.J. Spiller in the running game.
  • The Lions announced that they have waived wide receiver Corey Fuller. The 2013 sixth-round pick had 18 catches for 288 yards over two-plus seasons in Detroit.
  • The Chargers have promoted cornerback Trovon Reed from the practice squad, the team announced. The former Auburn standout has yet to make an NFL appearance. The defensive back will be taking the roster spot of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, who was placed on the injured reserve today.
  • The 49ers have promoted safety Vinnie Sunseri from the practice squad, reports Matt Maiocco of (via Twitter). The former Alabama star last played in the NFL with the Saints in 2014. The 25-year-old will be taking the roster spot previously held by Eric Reid, who was placed on the injured reserve today.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Practice Squad Updates: 11/1/16

Here are today’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

San Diego Chargers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/24/16

Chicago Bears

  • Signed: OL Arturo Uzdavinis (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

New England Patriots

New York Jets

  • Signed: DL Brandin Bryant

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/6/16

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad signings and cuts from around the NFL:

Arizona Cardinals

  • Signed: QB Aaron Murray, QB Zac Dysert (team announcement)

Atlanta Falcons

  • Signed: WR Nick Williams (Twitter link via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution), DL Joe Vellano (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of
  • Cut: DT Joey Mbu (Twitter link via Vaughn McClure of

Baltimore Ravens

  • Signed: QB David Fales (Twitter link via Adam Caplan of, G Jarell Broxton (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun)

Buffalo Bills

  • Signed: LB Carlos Fields, DB Damian Parms (Twitter link via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle)

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: T Carter Bykowski (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press)
  • Cut: CB Tre Roberson

New England Patriots

New York Jets

New Orleans Saints

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: OL Takoby Cofield

Tennessee Titans:

  • Signed: WR Tre McBride (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of
  • Cut: WR Ben Roberts

Patriots Cut Aaron Dobson, Move To 53

The Patriots have announced the cuts that bring them down to 53, including the waiving of Aaron Dobson.

Dobson, 25, is a former second-round pick, but he hasn’t done much since joining New England in 2013. In three seasons with the club, the Marshall product has only posted 53 receptions for less than 700 yards. Most of that production came during his rookie season, as Dobson has put up only 16 catches during the past two years. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Dobson was set to earn about $872K in base salary.

Here’s the list of Patriots cuts so far today:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Sign Vinnie Sunseri

The Patriots have added a bit of depth to their secondary, as they’ve agreed to sign former Saints defensive back Vinnie Sunseri, the club announced today. New England also confirmed the previously-reported signing of rookie free agent offensive lineman Kyler Kerbyson.Vinnie Sunseri (Vertical)

[RELATED: New England Patriots depth chart]

Sunseri, 24, was a fifth-round pick out of Alabama in the 2014 draft, but he’s ended each of his first two NFL campaigns on the injured reserve list. As such, he doesn’t have much in the way of experience, as he has just nine career games under his belt (and all of that action came during his rookie season). Sunseri hasn’t been a defensive contributor — he’s seen only 11 defensive snaps in the NFL — but he did prove his worth on special teams, as he played on 37% of New Orleans’ ST snaps in 2014.

Special teams is the likely area of focus for Sunseri in New England, as well, as the club is well-stocked at the safety position, where Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Duron Harmon, Jordan Richards, and Nate Ebner make up the top of the depth chart. The Patriots are typically excellent on special teams, having ranked among the top-five in ST DVOA in every season since 2011. Sunseri worked out for the Pats back in May, so the club did get an up-close look at what he can do.

New England’s signing of Kerbyson had been reported on Friday. The former Tennessee Volunteer went undrafted earlier this year, but started all 13 games at left tackle during his senior season, during which he was named second-team All SEC.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.