The Patriots are hiring Los Angeles Rams assistant special teams coach Jeremy Springer to be their next special teams coordinator according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Springer was part of new head coach Jerod Mayo's extensive interview slate over the last two weeks, as Mayo now reportedly has two big coaching pieces in place.
Springer has just two years of NFL experience, both with the Rams, after spending eight seasons coaching at the collegiate level. That experience included three seasons as the special teams coordinator at Arizona, during which time he oversaw former Patriots running back and returner J.J. Taylor as one of the best kickoff returners in the country. Springer had a one-year stop at Marshall coordinating their special teams before making the jump to the NFL.
He'll turn 35 next month as the youth movement among the coaching staff continues to take hold alongside Mayo (37 years old) and reported defensive coordinator hire DeMarcus Covington (34 years old).
This past season, the Rams ranked 32nd in the NFL in special teams DVOA as the team experienced season-long struggles in the third phase. The Rams rotated through two different kickers as they tried to find a spark, while their punt team allowed two different punt returns for touchdowns, including a walk-off by the Ravens in overtime in Week 14 and another by former Patriot Gunner Olszewski, now with the Giants, that nearly cost the Rams the game.
The Patriots have had their own struggles on special teams, ranking 32nd and 28th over the last two seasons. In 2023 the team drafted both kicker Chad Ryland and punter Bryce Baringer and the rookies predictably had their ups and downs. Still, both showed plenty of potential that Springer will now be tasked with further unlocking. Springer had notable success with kicker Matt Gay in 2022 when Gay hit 93.3 percent of his field goals, fourth-best in the NFL.
But the kickers are just one part of Springer's job, as he will look to get all phases of the Patriots special teams back on the dominant track they were for most of the last 20 years. The Patriots ranked in the top 12 in special teams DVOA in 17 of the last 23 seasons before the recent three-year decline that saw them rank first overall as recently as 2020. While signs seem to point toward veteran captain Matthew Slater's retirement, the Patriots have some solid foundational pieces to work with, including Brenden Schooler and Chris Board, as well as the anticipated return of standout returner Marcus Jones.