The New England Patriots are bringing back a former NFL head coach to run their defense.
After three straight trips to the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots coaching staff has been plucked apart like a rotisserie chicken. The latest example was the Miami Dolphins grabbing defensive coordinator Brian Flores for their new head coaching job. That came a season after former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was named the Detroit Lions head coach. That is two defensive coordinators in two years for the Patriots.
On Wednesday the Patriots announced their newest defensive coordinator, former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, and most recently Ohio State Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator, Greg Schiano.
Schiano has been the Buckeyes’ defensive coordinator for two seasons. He took over the position for the departed Chris Ash, who left Ohio State to serve as Rutgers head coach. Coincidentally Rutgers is where Schiano truly made a name for himself.
The new Patriots defensive coordinator has roots throughout pro and college football. His career started at Penn State as a defensive back coach under Joe Paterno. After a brief stint with the Chicago Bears he returned to college at the University of Miami, where he served as defensive coordinator for a dominant stretch for the program. Prior to the 2001 season, Schiano was named the head coach of Rutgers University in New Jersey. It was fitting given Schiano had grown up in the state.
Schiano led the Scarlet Knights to their most successful period in football history. The turn-around was massive considering Rutgers was an after-thought in the college football landscape. In total, Schiano was at Rutgers for 10 years before leaving to accept a head coaching job with the Buccaneers.
Now returning to the NFL, Schiano will look to clean up his image. A lasting memory for NFL fans is Schiano’s Buccaneers attempting to disrupt quarterbacks kneeling at the end of games by driving the center back. That’s outside of what many consider sportsmanship in football.
Most recently the University of Tennessee was planning on hiring Schiano as their head coach in 2017. Instead the boosters and donors for the program took to social media to protest the hire. Eventually the Volunteers withdrew their offer to Schiano and he returned to Ohio State.
Back in the NFL, running a defense that just shut down a highly explosive offense, Schiano should be at home. He will fall right in line with the Patriots true leader of the defense, Bill Belichick. The two will make a happy pairing and continue the success New England has enjoyed in recent years.
For Schiano this was a no-brainer. The two people to last hold this job are head coaches in the NFL. This position is a fast track back to the ranks of head coaches for a guy who is only 52 years old and coming off a successful run as a collegiate defensive coordinator for a highly respected program.