American Football

Patriots’ East-West Shrine Bowl coaching staff is taking shape

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Patriots’ East-West Shrine Bowl coaching staff is taking shape
Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England’s staff will work with the West team next week.

The New England Patriots made a big addition to their coaching staff on Tuesday, hiring Bill O’Brien as their new offensive coordinator. How quickly the 53-year-old will take over the role remains to be seen, though, given that the move has not yet been officially announced.

While that appears to only be a formality at this point in time, it seems unlikely that O’Brien will be overly actively involved in the next big event on the Patriots’ schedule: the East-West Shrine Bowl this coming week.

New England’s staff will be coaching the West team between Saturday, Jan. 28, and Thursday, Feb. 2. With head coach Bill Belichick serving in a consulting role during practices and the actual college all-star game, his assistants will do most of the work.

What the group will actually look like in light of the O’Brien hiring remains to be seen. Recent reports by ESPN’s Mike Reiss and the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan, however, indicate that the staff for the East-West Shrine Bowl has already been decided upon:

  • Head coach: Troy Brown (Wide receivers/Kickoff returners)
  • Offensive coordinator: Ross Douglas (Wide receivers)
  • Defensive coordinators: Mike Pellegrino (Cornerbacks), Brian Belichick (safeties)

Unless the Patriots opt to make some last-second changes with O’Brien set to come aboard, those assignments can be seen as a sign that all of these coaches will be back with the team in 2023. The statuses of Mike Pellegrino and Brian Belichick were not in question, but the same was not entirely true for Troy Brown and Ross Douglas.

New England’s wide receiver group, after all, fell short of expectations in 2022 — just like the entire offense under de facto coordinators Matt Patricia and Joe Judge. The team did in fact interview two wide receiver coaches as part of its search for a new OC in Minnesota’s Keenan McCardell and Arizona’s Shawn Jefferson, but there is no indication at the moment that either of them will be brought aboard at this point in time.

That does not mean that Brown and/or Douglas will be back in 2022. The initial assignments as reported, however, point towards them returning for the 2023 season.

Of course, that might still change once the O’Brien hire and any potential follow-up moves become official. For the upcoming East-West Shrine Bowl, however, it appears New England will use the Brown-Douglas combo as part of its main coaching lineup.

The Patriots’ staff will be joined by the Atlanta Falcons’. The team of head coach Arthur Smith will coach the East team.

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