Patriots to hire polarizing Greg Schiano as new defensive coordinator in wake of Brian Flores exit
The former Rutgers coach will have some big shoes to fill
There are no days off for the New England Patriots, which explains why on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after wrapping up yet another Super Bowl parade in Boston, Bill Belichick is making a move to replace departed defensive coordinator Brian Flores. According to the Boston Globe, that move involves bringing in Greg Schiano as the new DC for New England.
Schiano is a polarizing figure for a number of reasons, but he has long garnered the respect of Belichick because of his work at Rutgers. Belichick has always loved Rutgers prospects, in part because of Schiano and his discipline.
Flores is a tough guy to replace and some big shoes to fill: he's leaving to coach in the same division, taking the head-coaching position with the Miami Dolphins not long after helping to engineer one of the most impressive postseason defensive runs we've seen in a while.
The Pats stymied Philip Rivers and the Chargers, shut out the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead for the first half of the AFC Championship Game and then obliterated the high-powered Rams offense, limiting Los Angeles to three points in Super Bowl LIII.
Back to Schiano though: he has current connections on the roster, as Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty and Duron Harmon, all pivotal figures on the Pats defense, played for Schiano at Rutgers. Also working for Schiano? Belichick's son, Steve Belichick, who is the team's safety coach.
Again, there is a clear connection to Schiano and Belichick here. The two have always been rumored as a pairing whenever Schiano has been out of work.
But he is controversial. The last time we saw Greg Schiano getting consideration for a high-profile job, it was the Tennessee Volunteers head coaching position. A. That doesn't mean he would have been a bad choice, just that there is a group of people out there who would prefer to see someone else hired, at least in some circles.
Much less concern should apply to the Patriots, where Belichick still rules the roost. On "Inside the NFL" on Tuesday night, NFL Films footage captured Belichick praising Flores and the defensive coaching staff for their work in calling the game against the Rams. Schiano will probably call the defense, but you can expect Belichick will have just as much input as he ever has, if not more.
"I think Coach Schiano is a great defensive coach and he's really coached all the positions — line, linebacker, DBs," Belichick said in 2015, via the Boston Globe. "He's had a lot of extensive work with defensive backs and I think he does a great job with them, but I'd say the overall way that he presents his program, the way he runs his program, runs his defense, teaches and so forth, that that's all a great part of preparing players either in a similar way that we do it or when he was in college prepared them to come into our program with some changes but minimal maybe compared to other teams."
Schiano was most recently defensive coordinator/associate head coach with Ohio State. Prior to that he was out of football for a bit after being fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during what can only be classified as an absolute disastrous stint. Tampa hasn't had a good run with anyone, so it might not be fair to pin it all on Schiano, but his time with the Buccaneers .
Before that, Schiano was at Rutgers, where he took one of the worst programs in college football and turned it into a surprising Big Ten powerhouse, winning nine-plus games multiple times during his tenure there. If he can keep the Patriots defense humming smoothly, expect him to get another look for a head coaching position.
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