The Faces Behind the New England Patriots 2009 Coaching Staff

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The Faces Behind the New England Patriots 2009 Coaching Staff
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots change their coaching staff more than some people change their underwear.

It seems like almost every single year the Pats are looking for new coaches to step in.

After working under head coach, Bill Belichick, some coaches believe they have the ability to go out and coach their own team. See: Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Todd Haley, and finally, Josh McDaniels.

But you have to ask, do the Patriots just get lucky by continuing to sign such sought after coaches, or does Belichick just make these guys look so good?

The combined 2008 total record of Weis, Crennel, and Mangini was 20-25. Not really what they were used to in New England.

However, we still have to value the hard work these guys put in to help make New England such a successful football program. Now, let's take a glimpse of what the 2009 New England coaching staff has in store for us.

Who knows, one or more of these guys could be head coaches on different teams in 2010. So, let’s get to know them and love them while we have our chance.

Everyone already knows Coach Belichick, so I am going to focus on the other coaches on the staff who aren’t already known to the public.

 

2009 Assistant Head Coach/ Offensive Line Coach- Dante Scarnecchia

More commonly referred to as Scar, Coach Scarnecchia is the face of hard work. He will tell you himself he is not a talented coach. He shows up to work in the morning, and leaves late at night.

He spends multiple hours watching tape, coming up with the schemes, and visualizing how he can make his team better.

Although, most people do not see him around, you will always be able to find him cooped up in his office with a pencil in his hand and a pile of notes on his desk.

Here is a quote I found written by Michael Smith, writing for the Boston Globe.

"I don't know many guys that can outwork him," said Jeff Davidson, former New England's assistant offensive line and tight ends coach. "I think that's the No. 1 thing that you'd say about Dante, that he works unbelievable hours. That, to me, is what makes him a great coach."

One of Scar’s most talked about stories was his work with offensive lineman, Stephen Neal. Neal, a college wrestler, came to New England with hardly any football experience. Coach Belichick made it Scar’s project to transform the raw player into a quality lineman.

He had a lot of natural athleticism, but it was Coach Scar who really turned him into a football player. He spent several hours a day with Neal, working on his technique. Here is a quote a pulled from the Portland Express Herald.

"He doesn't accept the fact that you're making mistakes, doesn't accept the fact that I got beat on this play," said Neal. "He demands the best from you on every play. And even if you do a good job and your technique could be a little cleaner, he's going to let you know."

Scar’s coaching career started in 1970, when he was the offensive line coach at California Western University.

During the next 11 seasons, Scarnecchia spent time at Southern Methodist University, University of Pacific, and Northern Arizona. In 1982, the head coach at Southern Methodist University, Ron Meyer, accepted the head coaching job for the New England Patriots.

He brought the much respected, Coach Scarnecchia, along for the ride. He coached the tight ends and special teams for the next seven years.

Scar has outlasted Dick McPherson, Bill Parcells, and Pete Carroll as a Patriots coach. His most noted contributions to New England has been his success as the offensive line coach.

He also has experience as the defensive assistant, special teams, tight ends, and now assistant head coach.

Coach Scar is Belichick's most trusted assistant. He is one of the most respected figures in the New England organization. I am very excited to see all of his hard work translate to success in 2009, and hopefully he can win another championship with the Patriots.

 

Defensive Coordinator- Dean Pees

Coach Pees, also known as the coach in red, has been New England's defensive coordinator since taking over for Eric Mangini's job in 2006.

Ever since his first year in New England, Pees has sported a red shirt on the sidelines. It is said he does this so his elderly mother can see him easier on T.V when the camera zooms past the Patriots sideline.

Besides looking good in red on the sidelines, Pees is also a very talented coach. In Pees' first year with the Patriots, he broke a franchise record for fewest points allowed per game over the course of a season.

However, Pees' defense has taken a lot of criticism in the past for losing close games in the final minutes. The 2006 AFC Championship game was lost at the end of the game by the defense. The New England defense also let the New York Giants drive down the field to lose Super Bowl XLII in the final minutes of the game. 

Pees' coaching career started out at the high school level. After six years on the high school field, Pees was asked to be the defensive coordinator for the University of Findlay. He worked for Findlay for three seasons before taking the same coordinator job for Miami University(Ohio).

After impressing a lot of people with his work at Miami, Pees was hired as a secondary coach at the Naval Academy. He spent three years there until joining up with Nick Saban as the defensive coordinator for the University of Toledo.

After four years with Toledo, Pees was lured to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to coach under legendary coach, Lou Holtz.

Coach Pees finally got an opportunity to be a head coach when Kent State offered him the job to help rebuild their organization. Pees' first year at Kent State he led the Golden Flashes to a 6-5 finish, which was their best record in 14 years.

After turning around the Kent State football program in only six years, Pees was offered the linebackers coach for the New England Patriots in 2003.

This will be Pees' year to turn the New England defense back to the powerhouse it once was. They souped up the suspect secondary, and have some of their key linemen back. I expect the man in red to step up big this year and sport one of the best defenses in the league.

 

Wide Receiver Coach- Bill O' Brien

According to the Boston Globe, Coach O' Brien is the most likely candidate to take over Josh McDaniel's job as the offensive coordinator.

This opinion probably comes from his promotion last year to assist McDaniels with the offense. It has been said that O'Brien did call offensive plays at times during the season last year to get him ready to take over as the coordinator.

Coach O'Brien has been a part of the Patriots organization since 2007. He was brought on board after coaching for 14 seasons at the college level.

His first coaching gig came as a tight end and linebackers coach at the University of Brown. He then moved on to coach the Georgia Institute of Technology as an offensive assistant coach.

After seven years at Georgia Tech, he landed the spot to become the running backs coach for the University of Maryland. Only two years after arriving to Maryland, O’Brien accepted the offensive coordinator position at Duke University.

This was O’Brien’s last stint as a college coach. After two years at Duke, he was offered a job to become an offensive assistant for the Patriots in 2007.

 

Linebackers Coach- Matt Patricia

Patricia, dubbed the next great coaching prodigy under Belichick, is the youngest coach on the Patriots’ staff. He joined the team in 2004 and has quickly gained respect from the entire program.

His first role with the Patriots was to break down film, scout players, and help Coach Scar with the offensive line. Patricia’s second season with the Patriots he spend most of his time coaching the offensive line.

In 2006, his third season with the Pats, he was assigned the position of linebackers coach. Last season, when Coach Pees spent time in the press box, Patricia was relaying the defensive calls from the sideline.

Coach Patricia earned a lot of respect for his coaching success with Jerod Mayo. Coming into his rookie season, Patricia spent a lot of time working with Mayo, looking over game tapes and helping him in practice.

Before joining the Patriots, Patricia coached six seasons in the college ranks. His coaching career started as an offensive assistant for his alma miter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. 

After three seasons, he became the defensive line coach at Amherst College. He only spent two years at Amherst before joining the Syracuse Orangemen as an offensive graduate assistant. He spend two seasons at Syracuse before moving on to join the Patriots coaching staff.

Patricia’s future looks very bright. He is only 34 years old and already has a lot of coaching experience on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I would not be surprised if Coach Patricia would keep getting promoted up the ladder and eventually become a head coach for another NFL team.

 

The rest of the staff

Head coach- Bill Belichick

Defensive line coach- Pepper Johnson

Running backs coach- Ivan Fears

Tight ends coach- Pete Mangurian/ Shane Waldron

Wide receivers coach- Chad O'Shea

Defensive backs- Josh Boyer

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