The New England Patriots have no plan to replace former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, for now. Patricia left the Patriots and accepted a head coaching job with the Detroit Lions after working for six years as a defensive coordinator in New England. However, Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports said league sources informed him that the Patriots plan to enter the 2018 season without an official defensive coordinator. According to Robinson’s sources, linebackers coach Brian Flores will take on a bigger role as the Patriots’ main defensive play-caller, but won’t get the official defensive coordinator title.

This will not be the first time that the Patriots will play without an official coordinator. When Dean Pees left the Patriots after the 2009 season, Patricia was handed the duties of calling plays for two seasons while he was the linebackers coach and safeties coach. It was only in 2012 that the Patriots handed Patricia the defensive coordinator title.

Flores could be next in line

The 37-year-old Flores, who joined Bill Belichick’s coaching staff in 2008, was interviewed for the Arizona Cardinals’ head coaching job earlier this year. The Patriots could eventually promote Flores as their overall defensive coach, or hire someone from the outside, possibly Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, a close friend of Belichick.

Earlier, Gary Tanguay of NBC Sports Boston, said the Patriots already interviewed Schiano for the position. Schiano is raring to return to the NFL after his disappointing stint as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach from 2012-2013. Schiano recently finished his third year as Ohio State’s assistant head coach, DC, and safeties coach.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels accepted the head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts, but later decided to stay with the Patriots.

College coaches joining Patriots?

According to Doug Kyed of NESN, former Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema was spotted at the NFL Scouting Combine as a representative of the Patriots. It fuelled rumors that Bielema might join the Patriots' coaching staff for next season.

Bielema is not the only former college coach expected to join the Patriots' coaching staff. Mike Jurecki of Arizona Sports said former Arizona State head coach Todd Graham was also spotted with the Patriots' staff at the combine. Jurecki said Graham might join the Patriots as a consultant. Graham was Arizona State’s head coach from 2012 until 2017, before his contract was not extended following a 7-6 record.