Is the next Patriots offensive line coach hiding in plain sight?

Perry: Is the next Pats offensive line coach hiding in plain sight? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Patriots are definitely doing their due diligence. And they should. But is there a chance that the offensive line coach they’re looking for is hiding in plain sight?

According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Ryan Wendell – a former Patriots lineman and current Bills assistant – was scheduled to meet the team in Las Vegas this week to open up the offensive line. ESPN’s Mike Reiss mentioned Mike Devlin and Tony Sparano Jr. as possibilities for taking the job. Adrian Klemm interviewed the team for opening offensive coordinator and may be called to coach the line.

But what about Billy Yates?

Perry: Pats thrilled to get answers, “no BS” leadership style from O’Brien

The team’s entire offensive coaching staff had what was a tough year in 2022, including Yates. But it would be safe to characterize the position the Patriots’ offensive line assistant coach has been placed in as difficult. He entered the year as an assistant, but ended up leading the room midseason while Matt Patricia—who had the title of offensive line coach—focused on his play-caller duties and in fact coordinator.

No easy task, especially in an offensive system that had been altered during the 2022 season. The system Yates coached as Carmen Bricillo’s assistant in 2021 — the system she knew from playing under Dante Scarnecchia and Josh McDaniels — was out of order. He was handcuffed, sort of, trying to teach patterns and protection plans that had been set up and supervised by Patricia earlier in the season.

But if the Patriots reverted to offensive line patterns deployed for most of Belichick’s tenure under new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, Yates would be in a different position. He is highly regarded by players and considered capable.

If it’s not Yates, the offensive line coaches carousel will continue in Foxboro. Scarnecchia last coached in 2019. He was followed by Cole Popovich and Bricillo. Patricia initially led the way last season before making way for Yates. That’s five coaches in four years. For consistency’s sake, keeping Yates would have merit.

Maybe Yates will end up keeping his assistant title. Since he played from 2003 to 2010, he has six years of NFL coaching experience. Devlin (who coached offensive line under O’Brien with the Texans) has a longer coaching resume, with 16 years in the league. Sparano Jr. (whose father was one of the most respected line coaches in the NFL before his passing in 2017) has been an offensive assistant for over a decade. Klemm also looks like a worthy choice to coach the position.

But rookie veterans David Andrews, Trent Brown and Mike Onwenu have all had a steady stream of changing rumors during their meetings over the past few years. If it’s interesting to curb turnover there, and if it’s the intention of returning to the Patriots’ latest offensive system, it would make sense for Bill Belichick to find a spot for Yates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *