New England's Coaching Staff a Mix of New and Old

Nate OwenCorrespondent IMay 29, 2009

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots watches from the sideline against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium December 28, 2008 in Orchard Park, New York. The Patriots won 13-0.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

A new season already has a familiar pattern for the New England Patriots.

In an offseason where another up-and-coming coordinator left—this time Josh McDaniels—New England has again opted to fill his vacancy the same way they have in the past.

Similar to when Charlie Weis left four years ago, the Patriots enter the season with no official offensive coordinator.

But it was McDaniels, who officially served as quarterbacks coach in 2005, who ran the offense that year before being formally promoted to offensive coordinator the following year.

With McDaniels now the head coach of the Denver Broncos, New England enters the season with no official offensive coordinator.

Instead, Bill O'Brien was promoted from receivers to quarterbacks coach. It's entirely possible that his role during the upcoming season will be the same as McDaniels during the 2005 campaign.

While O'Brien is entering his third season with New England, Bill Belichick's other coaching slots are filled with veterans.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has spent much of his 36 seasons at the collegiate level, but was a relative newcomer to the pros when he replaced Eric Mangini as defensive coordinator in 2006.

A trio of stalwarts on New England's coaching staff are assistant head coach and offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, running backs coach Ivan Fears, and defensive line coach Pepper Johnson.

New England's offensive line has been consistently solid and while it boasts several high picks, Scarenecchia has taken his fair share of free agents and late round draft picks— such as Russ Hochstein and Stephen Neal—and turned them into solid NFL players.

Fears and Johnson have made their mark as well.

While the aerial attack has stolen the show recently, New England's rushing offense has quietly put up some nice numbers the past few seasons. 

On the defensive line, undrafted free agent Mike Wright has worked his way into a regular turn in the rotation.

New England will enter the 2009 season without special teams coach Brad Seely. Scott O'Brien enters his first year with New England after spending the past two seasons in charge of Denver's special teams.

Under Seely, who had held the position since 1999, the Patriots placed an emphasis on special teams play, with Belichick signing players specifically for their abilities on coverage units.

Entering the 2009 season, Belichick once again seems to have assembled the right mix of veteran savvy and youthful enthusiasm on his coaching staff.