New England Patriots

Bill Belichick looks on during the 2017 AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

The Patriots still haven’t named a defensive coordinator. There’s a good chance it’s just going to be Bill Belichick.

According to the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, Belichick will call defensive plays for the Patriots in the 2019 season – at least to start. The Patriots have filled out their coaching staff after an offseason exodus, especially on the defensive side. But after the departure of Greg Schiano as would-be DC, Belichick will apparently take the reins.

It’s not an unprecedented situation. Belichick called the plays on defense to start the 2010 campaign, eventually handing the keys to Matt Patricia later in the season. That was the last time Belichick had that much responsibility on defense, though.

But, as a typically active and involved coach with the front-seven, Belichick isn’t likely to be hampered much calling the plays himself. Nonetheless, the 2010 Patriots defense started running smoother and performing better on the scoreboard once Patricia called the plays and Belichick could play his typical head coach role.

Here’s a rundown of the Patriots’ assistant coaches who were either hired or promoted this offseason, with their new roles.

Bret Bielema: Defensive line
Jerod Mayo: Inside linebackers
DeMarcus Covington: Outside linebackers
Mike Pellegrino: Cornerbacks
Joe Judge: Wide receivers (will remain special teams coordinator)
Cole Popovich: Offensive line assistant
Mike Lombardi Jr.: Quarterbacks assistant

Bill’s son Steve Belichick is still on board as safeties coach.

If Bill were to hand the defense over to anyone during the season, it would be Bielema. It would be a bit surprising if he considered his son ready to handle play-calling duties. Mayo, Pellegrino, and Covington could certainly use more seasoning.

On the plus side, Belichick is bringing back many of the same players he coached up to masterful effect in 2018, culminating with a dominating performance in Super Bowl LIII against the Rams. It’ll be intriguing to see how the season unfolds under the Patriots’ reformed coaching staff, particularly on defense.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at