Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi was typically one to keep a small coaching staff. Half a dozen coaches wasn't uncommon under his watch.
The days of coaching staffs constructed in that way are long gone, as, for example, the current Packers staff includes 22 coaches.
That note comes from ESPN.com Packers blogger Rob Demosvky, who recently highlighted some interesting facts about coaching staff sizes around the NFL.
As it turns out, the Seahawks and Eagles each have 24 coaches in total on their staff, most in the NFL. The average NFL coaching staff is 20.1 coaches, per Demovsky, though that number could be altered as the remaining vacancies are filled in the coming weeks.
From a Patriots perspective, the current staff is 17 members (not including Ernie Adams, the team's Football Research Director). While the team has not filled the vacancies of linebackers coach Pepper Johnson and tight ends coach George Godsey, it did add defensive assistant Brendan Daly, who has experience coaching defensive linemen.
The team's current defensive line coach, Patrick Graham, was previously the team's linebackers coach. We point that out to note that one way the team could account for its defensive position responsibilities would be to shift Graham back to linebackers and have Ryan oversee the defensive line.
It's also possible that defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, who has always worked closely with the linebackers, will serve in a dual role as the team's de facto linebackers coach.
On offense, Brian Daboll continues to work as an offensive assistant, with an undefined role as it relates to a position. His duties this past season included working with the entirety of the offense, and as a well-regarded mind, he's certainly equipped to handle tight end duties if the team opts not to replace Godsey with another external hire.
There's no "right" way to construct a coaching staff at the NFL level, and while the Patriots could still add assistants to their staff to account for current vacancies, the team also appears to have an in-house route to fill the spots with some staff reshuffling, which would make the coaching staff one of the smallest in the NFL.