New England's coaching staff has been shaken up a bit, even if the names are not changing.
Ivan Fears, the wide receivers coach since 1999, has been reassigned as the running backs coach. Taking over as the wide receivers coach is Brian Daboll, who was promoted to a full-time position after working as a defensive coaching assistant last season.
Daboll will be assisted by offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, who ran the running backs in 2001. Weis also will continue to work together with Head Coach Bill Belichick with the quarterbacks, which the two did last season after the death of quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein.
In addition to being Daboll's first full-time coaching job in the NFL, it will also be his first work on the offensive side of the ball. A two-year starter at free safety in college at the University of Rochester, Daboll began his coaching career as the secondary coach at William & Mary in 1997 before moving to Michigan State in 1998 as an administrative G.A. In 1999 he became a restricted earnings coach for the Spartans.
Fears began coaching in the NFL in 1991 as New England's receiver's coach, and he then held the same post for Chicago from 1993-98 before rejoining the Patriots in 1999. While he has never been a running backs coach in the NFL, he was a three-year letterman as a running back at William & Mary before knee injuries cut his career short.
Under Fears' watch Troy Brown set the new single-season team record for receptions with 101 and had 1,199 receiving yards, the second-most in franchise history. Brown's two-year total of 184 catches are also the most in Patriots history.