Arbella Early Edition

Are Pats trying to replicate Sean McVay's culture on coaching staff?

The Patriots have interviewed several candidates with Rams ties, and that may not be a coincidence.

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As the New England Patriots work to fill out their coaching staff under new head coach Jerod Mayo, their interview process has featured a notable West Coast flair.

The Patriots conducted offensive coordinator interviews with Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley, Rams passing game coordinator Zach Robinson and Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, who spent three seasons as an assistant for Rams head coach Sean McVay from 2020 to 2022.

The Patriots also hired Rams assistant special teams coach Jeremy Springer as their special teams coordinator on Wednesday, meaning they've interviewed four current or former McVay assistants during this hiring cycle.

Coincidence? Our Patriots Insider Phil Perry thinks not.

"I wonder if the Patriots are trying to extract a measure of culture from the Sean McVay program," Perry said Wednesday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition. "They've interviewed Nick Caley, they've interviewed Zach Robinson, they're now hiring his former assistant special teams coach. They've interviewed all sorts of McVay people this cycle.

"Are they trying to take whatever it is (the Rams are) doing big-picture -- not just the Xs and Os, but culture-wise -- and implant it here in Foxboro?"

New England was a notoriously challenging place to work under head coach Bill Belichick, who demanded a lot of his coaches and players. After reports of significant dysfunction behind the scenes over the past two seasons, it's possible that Mayo -- the NFL's second-youngest head coach -- wants to shake things up.

And the Rams' way of doing things appears to have piqued his interest.

"A little bit more laid-back, as you might expect, than they are here in New England," Perry said while describing what he's heard about the Rams' culture. "They value hard work. Sean McVay can be an intense guy, but very easy to work with.

"People don't 'guard their desks,' which I think assistants here in New England might say has been happening over the course of a long period of time. 'I don't want to leave work because the boss hasn't left work yet, but I'm really done with all my work. So, I'm not sure what I'm doing here, but if I leave, I might get fired.' That doesn't exist in L.A.

"I think there's a lot more of an L.A. vibe, and I would imagine because it's a younger staff, a players-first or a players-coaches kind of vibe among the staff."

Belichick's Spartan approach obviously paid off in the form of six Super Bowls over 18 seasons. But the Rams are proof that other forms of "culture" can produce results: The Rams have made the postseason in five of seven seasons under McVay and won a Super Bowl in 2021.

If the Patriots hire Caley as their new OC, they'd have two former McVay staffers in prominent coaching positions, along with a 34-year-old defensive coordinator in DeMarcus Covington. Based on their recent results -- a 29-38 record since Tom Brady's departure in 2020 -- that change could be welcomed.

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