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The Search: Getting to Know HC Candidate Matt Patricia

Posted Jan 7, 2017

The Rams will reportedly meet this weekend with Patriots DC Matt Patricia, who has taken a unique path to becoming a HC candidate in the NFL.

The Rams’ search for their next head coach continues over the weekend, with the club reportedly meeting with Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to discuss the position. Here are a few nuggets to know about him.

1) Unique path to NFL defensive coordinator

Patricia has taken one of the more unorthodox routes to becoming a top-flight defensive coordinator, starting from where he went to college. Patricia attended and played offensive line at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering.

In other words, he studied to be a rocket scientist — certainly not the major for most who end up in the NFL.

While Patricia spent a year as a graduate assistant at RPI after finishing his time as a player, according to The MMQB, Patricia spent two years working as an application engineer for Hoffman Air & Filtration Systems in upstate New York before he latched on at Amherst College for a two-year stint as its defensive line coach. From there, Patricia worked three years as a graduate assistant at Syracuse before receiving his first job with the Patriots as a coaching assistant in 2004.

Patricia has been with New England ever since — as an assistant offensive line coach in 2005, linebackers coach from 2006-2010, safeties coach in 2011, and finally the defensive coordinator since 2012.

2) Very detail oriented

With his engineering background, Patricia inherently focuses on the little things. And that’s a significant part of what has made him successful as a coach.

Per the same MMQB article, Patricia’s time learning how to build rockets helped prepare him to spend hours studying film to break down NFL opponents. Patricia also helped bring New England’s film review system into the digital age, which in turn gave head coach Bill Belichick more time to gameplan each week.

But Patricia’s meticulous film study also helped him to coach the linebackers in his room. Now linebackers coach for the Texans, former Patriot Mike Vrabel told the MMQB Patricia, “always had us very prepared.”

3) With Belichick, has created strong defenses

While Patricia was not given the title of defensive coordinator until 2012, Belichick had reportedly given him play-calling responsibilities in 2010 following the departure of former DC Dean Pees.

Belichick is known for how he and his staff create opponent-specific gameplans for New England’s defense, and that approach has only increased with Patricia. After facing the Patriots in his third career start this season, Rams quarterback Jared Goff said he noticed the way New England continually mixes up its defense.

“They don’t really do the same thing twice often,” Goff said. “And do a good job up front with their games and were able to confuse us up front and do some good things.”

Since 2012, the Patriots have not finished outside the top 10 in points allowed. The 2016 season was the team’s best, as it finished No. 1 allowing just 15.6 points per game — 2.2 points better than the No. 2 Giants. Patricia’s unit also got off the field effectively, allowing the third fewest first downs this season (18.4 per game), and ended up No. 8 in total defense.