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Arnon Dror | What Greg Schiano Brings to the Patriots

The New England Patriots have been without a dedicated defensive coordinator since 2018, according to Arnon Dror. While Brian Flores did a wonderful job with the Patriots defensive line since he joined the coaching staff in 2011, his official title had been “linebackers coach” even after he took over defensive play calling duties last year. For Miami, Flores did his work well enough to justify his hiring as their new head coach. Image Source: USA Today’s FTW

Recently, the Patriots announced that they had hired their first full-time defensive coordinator since Matt Patricia, who has since left to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Greg Schiano, the Patriots’ new defensive coordinator, had the same role in Ohio State’s coaching staff. With Schiano at the helm of the Buckeyes’ defense, the team finished the 2017 and 2018 seasons ranked #5 and #3, respectively; the team posted a combined 25-3 record for both seasons. For Arnon Dror, Schiano’s performance at Ohio State is a sign that he can handle a high-profile program.

Another factor that intrigues Arnon Dror is Schiano’s familiarity with players and members of the coaching staff in the Patriots organization. Twins Jason and Devin McCourty, who play cornerback and safety, respectively, played under Schiano when he was the head coach at Rutgers, winning four straight bowl games along the way. Another Patriots safety, Duron Harmon, was part of the Rutgers team that won the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl. In addition, current Patriots safeties coach Stephen Belichick is also part of the Schiano coaching tree, being Harmon’s teammate as a long snapper.

However, familiarity and exposure to high-pressure environments are not the only things that Greg Schiano brings to the table. According to players he has worked with, Schiano is known for his tough, no-nonsense attitude. Former Buckeye Nick Bosa, who’s considered one of the top prospects in this year’s NFL draft, says, “He’s intense. Walk throughs for days. He’s very aggressive. Great guy. Smart coach schematically.” Arnon Dror considers this attention to detail one of the hallmarks of a thinking coach, something that other former Buckeyes players are echoing.

Dre’Mont Jones, another top defensive prospect, told NESN, “He can break down every single position and their job without hesitation… He’s very stern, I guess, very military-like.” While Bosa isn’t expected to be available when it’s the Patriots’ turn to pick, Arnon Dror thinks Jones might still be on the board by then, even after running just a 5.13-second 40-yard dash at the NFL draft combine. Should Schiano pick Jones, he’ll be working with four smart defensive players who could implement his preferred 4-3 formation perfectly.

Finally, Schiano is not just going to be your regular defensive coach. The Patriots lost Flores, defensive line coach Brendan Daly (to Kansas City), and cornerbacks coach Josh Boyer (joined Flores at Miami) during the off season. Arnon Dror argues that, with Schiano on board, having one head might turn out better than having three. In fact, because of his body of work at Rutgers, Tampa Bay, and Ohio State, Schiano has learned how to juggle different priorities, especially on defense.