Patriots Pregame Live

Why Brian Flores could be ‘interesting' coaching candidate for Pats

"You could see some things match up where Flores would be a good candidate."

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If the New England Patriots part ways with Bill Belichick this offseason, could they turn to a defensive-minded head coach to replace him?

Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo appears to be the favorite to replace Belichick as head coach in 2024, especially after team owner Robert Kraft called Mayo the "heir apparent" in March. But NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported Saturday that two former Patriots assistants -- Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores and recently-fired Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels -- "shouldn't be ruled out" as New England head coach candidates.

During Sunday's edition of NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Pregame Live, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer explained why he's particularly intrigued by Flores, who spent 11 total seasons on the Patriots' coaching staff, as Belichick's potential successor.

"Brian Flores is interesting because they thought a lot of him in the building here (in New England)," Breer said. "Of course, he did a great job in helping them win a championship as the defensive play-caller in his last year here (in 2018).

"Now, the lawsuit has complicated things for some teams, but maybe that wouldn't be as much of a complication for a team that knows him as well as New England does. Of course, he has ties in the area going all the way back to college."

Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and three teams in February 2022 alleging racial discrimination in those teams' head coaching searches. That suit is still ongoing and could complicate Flores' quest to become a head coach. But the Patriots' familiarity with Flores potentially could work in his favor, and as Breer explained, Kraft's decision to hire a less-than-popular head coach back in 2000 worked out quite well for him.

"What's really interesting about this one to me is, Bill Belichick wasn't exactly a hot name when Robert Kraft hired him," Breer added. "There were a lot of people who thought he made a mistake, especially after the way things ended with the Jets and of course the history that he had going back to Cleveland.

"So just as far as Robert Kraft's history of going the other way and getting it right in going the other way and hiring Bill Belichick, you could sort of see some things match up where Flores would be a good candidate.

"And I will say this for B-Flo, I think he has learned a lot over the last couple of years, both working for Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh two years ago, and then of course working for (Vikings head coach) Kevin O'Connell (in Minnesota)."

The Patriots naming Flores as their head coach over Mayo would be quite the upset based on Mayo's familiarity with this current team. But even if Mayo earns the head coach job, perhaps there would be a role for Flores on New England's defensive staff.

Check out the video above for more from Breer on Flores, McDaniels and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh as potential coaching candidates.

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