Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was named coach of the Detroit Lions on Feb. 5, one day before offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reneged on a deal to become coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
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Patricia and McDaniels, though, weren’t the only members of Bill Belichick’s staff to attract the attention of the seven NFL teams seeking new coaches following the 2017 season.
The Arizona Cardinals interviewed linebackers coach Brian Flores 鈥?twice, no less 鈥?for their vacancy. And although they didn’t offer him the job, they were thoroughly impressed with the poise, polish and brainpower of the 37-year-old Brooklyn native.
Bill O’Brien orchestrated the offense for two seasons as the quarterbacks coach before being bestowed with the coordinator title in 2011. He’s now in his fifth season as coach of the Houston Texans.
That means in order for Jackson to get a start, either the Ravens have to be definitively eliminated from the playoff picture prior to the final week of the season, Flacco needs to play so poorly that he simply cannot be on the field anymore, or they need to have their playoff slot wrapped up prior to the final week of the year and he gets a courtesy start, Patrick Mahomes-style. The former scenario seems somewhat unlikely.
Those moves started the pendulum swinging from the height of Thompson conservatism in the direction of Wolf assertiveness. But unknown to us all is whether Gutekunst will allow it to advance further or just settle right in the middle.
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Here’s one way to tell which direction Gutekunst is headed: Will he continue to pursue roster improvement or just leave well enough alone?
When Thompson was in charge, player acquisition was pretty much over once the draft concluded. There are examples of him adding a veteran here or Bo Horvat Youth jersey there, but he never wanted to create an environment where the focus wasn’t on the development of players in their first, second or third years.
Any time you add a veteran, even a low-cost option, you’re slowing down the clock on a younger player’s advancement since coaches are more likely to favor a more reliable older player. Coaches think about winning this week and, given their freedom, will act accordingly.