New England Patriots

Sep 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots helmet during the game against New Orleans Saints during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

While the Patriots have lost a number of assistant coaches this offseason, the front office took a big hit as well. Last month, former director of player personnel Dave Ziegler left to become the general manager of the Las Vegas Raiders. On Tuesday afternoon, the Patriots announced Matt Groh will be Ziegler’s replacement and take over as the team’s director of player personnel.

Director of player personnel is an important job in the NFL, as essentially an assistant general manager. Responsibilities can include negotiating contracts as well as scouting pro and college players. With Bill Belichick serving as both head coach and general manager for the Patriots, the role can have heightened significance in New England. Before Ziegler took over in 2021, Nick Caserio had held the job since 2008.

In terms of internal candidates, Groh was considered one of the favorites for the job when Ziegler left, along with scouting consultant Eliot Wolf. Groh and Wolf led the Patriots’ contingent at the Senior Bowl last week, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Groh, who is a native of Hingham, is being promoted from being the team’s college scouting coordinator last season. He’s been with the team since 2011, and had a number of different roles in the scouting department in that time.

Coming from a football family, Groh is the son of legendary defensive coach Al Groh. The elder Groh worked with Belichick on a number of occasions – he was the linebackers coach in New York while Belichick was the defensive coordinator with the Giants, then later joined Belichick’s coaching staff in Cleveland. They also worked together with the Jets and Patriots under Bill Parcells. Matt’s brother Mike is currently the wide receivers coach for the Giants.

While the Patriots are now set with the front office, they still have a number of moves to make regarding their coaching staff – specifically on the offensive side of the ball. Here’s a run-through of the offensive coaches they’ve lost or are expected to lose this offseason…

Patriots may need to replace over half of offensive coaching staff

  • This offseason has seen the Patriots offensive coaching staff shaken up in a major way. It began with the Raiders hiring former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who then took three assistants with him to Las Vegas. There is a potential retirement on the way as well, adding up to five of the nine primary offensive coaches from last season not being back in the building next year.

    The 2021 staff took many players new to the system – including a rookie quarterback – and built a unit that ranked six in scoring in the NFL. Who from that group won’t be or likely won’t be returning in 2022? Here’s a look…

  • Josh McDaniels

    Jul 30, 2021; Foxborough, MA, United States; New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reacts during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

    McDaniels, of course, highlights the group of departures this offseason. The former offensive coordinator turned Raiders head coach has been a part of the Patriots for almost the entire Bill Belichick era. Originally hired as a personnel assistant in 2001, McDaniels first defined coaching job with the Patriots was on the defensive side of the ball  as a defensive assistant in 2002 and 2003.

    It wasn’t until his fourth year that McDaniels became a part of the offensive coaching staff, when he was named the quarterbacks coach in 2004. Two years later, he had offensive coordinator added to his title, a role he held until leaving to coach the Denver Broncos in 2009. After a quick stop in St. Louis, McDaniels returned as the Patriots’ OC in 2012 and had held that role since.

  • Mick Lombardi

    Lombardi is getting a bump in title as he heads to Vegas with McDaniels. The Patriots’ wide receivers coach in 2020 and 2021, Lombardi will be the offensive coordinator with the Raiders in 2022.

    Lombardi’s NFL career began with the Patriots’ scouting department in 2011. In 2013, he left for a coaching role with the San Francisco 49ers, and later the New York Jets. He returned to the Patriots in 2019 as the assistant quarterbacks coach before moving to receivers the next year. Lombardi coached receivers with Troy Brown in 2021, making Brown a candidate to fill the role entirely in 2022.

  • Carmen Bricillo

    The Patriots will see a change with their offensive line coaching situation for the fourth straight offseason, as Bricillo heads to Vegas to be the Raiders’ offensive line coach. After spending 13 years coaching in college, Bricillo joined New England’s staff in 2019 as a coaching assistant.

    The next year, following the retirement of Dante Scarnecchia, he was named co-offensive line coach alongside Cole Popovich. Bricillo had ‘co’ dropped from the title when Popovich left the team before the 2021 season. Current assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates, who joined the Patriots last year, is a candidate to replace him.

  • Bo Hardegree

    After bouncing around the NFL as a quarterbacks coach and offensive assistant from 2014-2020, Hardegree was given both titles in New England in 2021. As the co-quarterbacks coach with McDaniels, he worked with Mac Jones during his successful rookie season. Hardegree will now work with Derek Carr as the Raiders’ quarterbacks coach.

  • Ivan Fears

    Dec 2, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears celebrates a win over the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Dec 2, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears celebrates a win over the Minnesota Vikings at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

    Although it’s not official yet, multiple reports have indicated Fears plans to retire at some point this offseason. The 67-year-old is one of the few staffers who has been with the Patriots longer than Belichick – he first worked for the team as a receivers coach in 1991 and 1992, then after a short stint with the Chicago Bears returned to that job in 1999 before taking over his current job as running backs coach in 2002. Vinnie Sunseri was the Patriots’ assistant running backs coach last year, and wide receivers coach Troy Brown has experience coaching the position as well.

Click here for complete New England Patriots coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.