New England Patriots

Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels talks to the media during the 2022 NFL Combine. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Last month, Josh McDaniels made headlines when he hired three former Patriots assistant coaches away from New England to join in him Las Vegas with the Raiders. Those moves – some of which were lateral for the coaches involved – have resulted in a near-overhaul of the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff.

Speaking with reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, Josh McDaniels shared a behind-the-scenes look at what went into those hires, including how much he spoke directly with Patriots head coach regarding those staffers. “I have great respect for Bill and that process. I spoke to him directly multiple times about any interest that I had in people that were there,” McDaniels explained. “I’ll keep those conversations private, but never want to do the wrong things relative to those things, obviously.”

“I feel very fortunate that I had an opportunity to add a few people that I’ve worked with before, specifically on the offensive side of the ball,” McDaniels continued. “Just try to do the right things relative to communicating with him – or any other coach for that matter – if you’re interested in somebody that works in that organization.”

McDaniels’ hires were highlighted by former Patriots wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi, who is now the offensive coordinator in Vegas. Quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo have also joined the Raiders in the same roles. Former director of player personnel Dave Ziegler was also hired by Vegas along with McDaniels as the team’s general manager, bringing the former Patriots staff total in the Raiders organization to five.

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.

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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.