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Monday, May 27, 2013
Patriots & the smaller coaching staff

By Field Yates

When members of the Patriots coaching staff traveled to Tampa Bay to spend time with the Buccaneers staff (and vice versa) earlier this offseason, the general sentiment seemed to be that it was a productive endeavor.

In addition, as previously mentioned by Mike Reiss, one notable difference between the two staffs was the size. The Buccaneers' coaching staff has 23 members, while Bill Belichick's staff is just 17 members (plus Jerry Schuplinski, who appears to be working in a quality control role, though the team has not formally announced his position).

The contrast in size got us thinking about coaching staffs around the league and wondering where the Patriots' staff stacked up in terms of size. As it turns out, Belichick keeps one of the smaller coaching staffs in the league. Below is the number of coaches on each staff around the NFL, largest to smallest:

Eagles -- 24
Seahawks -- 24
Buccaneers -- 23
Cardinals -- 22
Chiefs -- 22
Jaguars -- 22
Rams -- 22
Vikings -- 22
Broncos -- 21
Cowboys -- 21
Dolphins -- 21
Packers -- 21
Raiders -- 21
Ravens -- 21
Saints -- 21
49ers -- 20
Bears -- 20
Bills -- 20
Browns -- 20
Chargers -- 20
Colts -- 20
Giants -- 20
Jets -- 20
Texans -- 20
Titans -- 20
Lions -- 19
Bengals -- 18
Redskins -- 18
Falcons -- 17
Panthers -- 17
Patriots -- 17 (plus Schuplinski)
Steelers -- 15

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: The relatively small coaching staff for Belichick could be a reflection of how mentors and other head coaches that he has previously worked for operated. There's no right or wrong answer as it relates to how many coaches is ideal for a staff, but some prefer to keep a smaller group in order to more easily manage the staff and divide responsibilities. The introduction of more assistants can, at least in some ways, make it more difficult to assign duties to each assistant. The counter to that is a larger staff allows for more opinions, ideas and brainstorming topics. There's pros and cons to keeping a staff small or large, and it's interesting to see how each head coach has approached the decision. Perhaps it's coincindence, but the three largest staffs in the league are led by former college head coaches (Greg Schiano, Pete Carroll and Chip Kelly). With a roster that approaches (or even exceeds) 100 players at the college level, a larger staff is needed to oversee the team. That trio may have seen the value in a bigger staff and taken that mentality to the NFL level, even though rosters shrink down to 53 players during the regular season (they're currently at 90 players).