The New England Patriots didn't just lose Super Bowl LII, which represented a chance at the franchise's sixth ring during the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era.
The franchise that has ruled over the AFC East for over a decade also lost two well-established coordinators as offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was named coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday, and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia became coach of the Detroit Lions on Monday.
Those departures could create an opportunity AFC East teams to close the gap on New England, which has been one of the NFL's best coached teams this decade, partly because of continuity.
This will be McDaniels' second head coaching job. He previously served as the Denver Broncos' coach during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Following a stop in St. Louis as the Rams coordinator in 2011, he returned to New England in 2012 and has been the architect of one of the NFL's most efficient offenses.
Patricia has been with the Patriots since 2004, when he was hired as an offensive assistant. He's served as New England's defensive coordinator since the 2012 season. This is his first head coaching job.
Their departure means change is definitely coming to New England's coaching staff, which will likely lose a position coach or two as they join the Colts and Lions in elevated roles. And don't be surprised to see the Colts or Lions sign a Patriots free agent or two as they work to bring New England's culture to their new teams.
It's doubtful that Brady will have to learn an entirely new offense, or that the Patriots will all of a sudden switch schemes because Belichick remains the captain steering that ship.
But new coordinators -- whether they are in-house hires or well-established coaches like Greg Schiano -- will likely want to put their own touch on the NFL's reigning dynasty.
It's hard to imagine that the Patriots would struggle replacing McDaniels and Patricia considering coaches want to be part of the Belichick coaching tree, which features Alabama's Nick Saban, Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, Houston Texans' Bill O'Brien, former New York Jets and Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini, former Browns coach Romeo Crennel and former Notre Dame and Kansas coach Charlie Weis.
It'll be interesting to see if a newcomer enrolls at Belichick University, and if they can keep the dynasty on track for another title run.
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