The New England Patriots‘ coaching staff is suddenly in disarray following the departure of Josh McDaniels.
While losing a longtime offensive coordinator is a big blow by itself, McDaniels broke Bill Belichick’s cardinal rule of former assistants taking away members of his coaching staff when they leave for promotions with other teams.
In leaving for the Raiders’ head coaching job, McDaniels poached three Patriots offensive assistants, including wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi, assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo.
So you can imagine that Belichick is scrambling to find solutions.
Just how cornered is the six-time champ? Well, ESPN’s Mike Reiss understands Belichick has been consulting with former longtime sidekicks Ernie Adams and Dante Scarnecchia on a part-time basis.
Reiss added that soon-to-be retired RBs coach Ivan Fears will maintain contact with Belichick once he steps away from his everyday role.
The under-staffed Bill Belichick is seeking help from former Patriots coaches.
Adams is the big takeaway here, as he’s widely regarded as Belichick’s most trusted lieutenant. He served as the Patriots’ “football research director” for a period of time, though no one’s entirely sure what his responsibilities included.
Rumor has it Adams played a big role in the draft, but most recognize him for his work as Belichick’s top advisor.
Between convincing the Giants to hire Belichick as a special teams coordinator, leaving New York together to join Cleveland’s staff and reuniting in Foxborough at the turn of the century, Belichick and Adams go way back, and it should encourage Patriots fans the longtime friends are still chopping it up about football.
Scarnecchia is another admired former Patriots coach. The 74-year-old first joined the team in 1982 as a special teams and tight ends coach before he ultimately took offensive line coach duties, a title he would’ve held for all of the last two decades if not for a brief retirement stint spanning 2014-2015.
Fears, on the other hand, is another big loss. He just wrapped his 20th season as the Patriots’ running backs coach. Despite never working with a superstar talent, Fears is revered for maximizing production from the likes of Kevin Faulk, LeGarrette Blount, Corey Dillon, Dion Lewis, Stevan Ridley, and many more.
It’s unclear what impact Adams, Scarnecchia and Fears will have on the 2022 Patriots, but it’s evident Belichick is seeking out familiarity following McDaniels’ exodus. While Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, who are expected to join the offensive staff, bring valuable qualities to the table, they don’t have a track record of success akin to the veteran trio.
If Belichick could convince them to un-retire, something tells us he’d do it in a heartbeat.