The Patriots are not yet confirming the hiring of John Hufnagel as the team's quarterback coach, although the move could be forthcoming, as was reported in Wednesday's editions of the Boston Herald and the Providence Journal.
Hufnagel is still in the interview process, but is an obvious frontrunner to fill the position on the staff that has been manned by Head Coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis since Dick Rehbein's August 2001 death.
Hufnagel worked under Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville last year as the quarterback coach after spending the 1999 and 2000 seasons tutoring Tim Couch in Cleveland under Chris Palmer and serving in the same role, working with Peyton Manning on Jim Mora's staff in Indianapolis in 2001. In all three instances, he lost his job when the head coach was fired.
He was a college quarterback at Penn State from 1969-1972 before playing three seasons for the Denver Broncos and 12 in the Canadian Football League. He also began his coaching career in Canada in 1988 before joining Palmer's staff in Cleveland in 1999.
Belichick and Weis took over the quarterback coaching duties after Rehbein died during the 2001 training camp since it was too late to hire an assistant that would know the offensive system. To avoid coaching a coach during training camp, the Patriots filled the void with members already on staff, including Belichick.
Of course, New England went on to win the Super Bowl and decided to stick with that arrangement for 2002. After putting up 18 touchdowns with 12 interceptions with a passer rating of 86.5 and a team record 63.5 percent completion percentage in 2001 – his first as a starter – quarterback Tom Brady followed that with an NFL high 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2002 with an 85.7 passer rating and a 62.1 completion percentage.
Despite his success, the Patriots are looking to add a full-time quarterbacks coach to the staff, perhaps seeking someone who can help the inexperienced Rohan Davey's development while also working with experienced passers Brady and Damon Huard.