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5 things to know about Matt Patricia

Posted Jan 9, 2016

Patriots defensive coordinator has unique background

Throughout the Browns’ search for a new head coach, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down the candidates after their interview with the team’s search committee is complete. It continues today with a look at Matt Patricia, who has worked with Bill Belichick in New England since 2004.

1. The biggest storyline around Patricia is his unique background. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Troy, New York based private research university that touts itself as the nation’s oldest technological research institute. The athletic teams’ nickname is “Engineers.” After a season as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Patricia, an aeronautical engineering major, worked out of football as an engineer for Hoffman Air & Filtration Systems and made good money doing so. He got back into coaching permanently when he was hired by Amherst College to coach the defensive line. He made an $8,000 salary, according to the Boston Herald. Patricia also has a master’s degree in education from the University of Massachusetts.

2. Patricia bypassed a full-time coaching gig as the offensive line coach at Saint Lawrence University that would have paid “somewhere north of $30,000” to take an unpaid graduate assistant position with Paul Pasqualoni, according to The Herald. During his three seasons with the Orange, Patricia worked closely with Browns assistant offensive line coach George DeLeone, who was Syracuse’s offensive coordinator. His three years of hard work paid off, as Belichick, then in his fifth season with the Patriots, hired Patricia as a coaching assistant.

3. Patricia won a Super Bowl in his first season (2004) with New England. He was quickly promoted after one season and joined Dante Scarnecchia as an assistant offensive line coach. A center when he was a player, Patricia worked almost exclusively on the offensive side of the ball until 2006, when Belichick moved him to linebackers coach. The Patriots have been a top-10 scoring defense in nine of the 10 seasons Patricia has been on the defensive side of the ball.

4. In Patricia’s first season as defensive coordinator, the Patriots led the NFL with a 25 turnover differential. A consistently high ranking in that category is a major reason why Patricia’s defenses have limited opponents’ point totals despite relatively low rankings for yardage allowed through the air and on the ground. The hallmark has been consistency, as the Patriots rank eighth in points per game and seventh in yards per game since Patricia took over in 2012. The Patriots are second in takeaways during that period.

5. Patricia was a center and guard at R.P.I. and was a wrestler in high school. In his rise through the ranks, he hasn’t found much time for sleep, and that’s the way he prefers it. “Four hours is a good night,” Patricia told The Boston Globe at last year’s Super Bowl media day. “I enjoy sleep, there’s just really not a lot of opportunity to get it. It depends, it could be a couple hours, it could be an hour, it could be three. Four hours is nice, but it doesn’t happen all the time.”

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