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Patriots Special Teams Coach Wants ‘Top 5 Level!’



FOXBORO — For freshly-minted New England Patriots special teams coordinator Jeremy Springer, the task of restoring prominence within the team’s third phase is exciting, yet daunting.


Once considered the the NFL’s gold standard in special teams preparation and execution, the Pats have significantly regressed in recent years.


Throughout past two seasons, the Pats special teams corps finished No. 28 in special teams DVOA in 2023, after finishing last the metric in 2022.


Still, Springer remains unafraid to set his sights quite high as he takes the reins of New England’s special teams this season.


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We want to get it back to the elite level it has been in the past,” Springer told reporters last Wednesday from the Gillette Stadium dais. “We want to be top-five unit.”


Though his goal may appear a bit lofty for first-season expectations, Springer remains confident that his approach will resonate with the Patriots unit.


For the past two seasons, the 35-year-old served as an assistant under Joe DeCamillis (2022) and then Chase Blackburn (2023) with the Los Angeles Rams.


While the Rams’ special teams unit ranked last (No. 32 overall) in special teams DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average),


Springer’s meticulous attention to detail, along with his communication skills made him a coveted coaching commodity during the offseason cycle.


Prior to his hiring in Los Angeles, Springer spent eight seasons at the college level with UTEP, Texas A&M and Marshall — presiding over some of the nation’s top ranked special teams units during that span.


Springer’s experience in coaching special teams at a high-level will be an asset as he looks to restore New England’s third-phase efficiency.


Under former coordinator Cam Achord — who had held the title since 2020 — the unit routinely struggled with tackling and undisciplined penalties.


Springer realizes that the key to his restoration plan is instilling a culture of fundamentally-sound football


The margin of error is so tight,” Springer said. “One play can cost you the game.


Our goal has to be making sure those errors don’t happen.”


While Springer’s mission is already difficult, an additional obstacle arrived earlier this week when longtime team captain and special teams ace Matthew Slater announced his retirement from the NFL — taking with him 16 years of third-phase excellence.


While the Pats coach has no illusion of replacing a team legend in such short order,


he is excited to begin working with Slater’s heir-apparent, All-Pro special teamer Brendan Schooler.


“I coached his brother at the University of Arizona … And also, Brenden was with us for three months until he transferred to the University of Texas,”


Springer said of his familiarity with the Pats ace. “So, I know Schooler from that standpoint.


I know what kind of guy he is; I know the kind of character that he has.


I think Slater molding him and what he’s done on the field, it’s just going to continue to progress. I know what kind of kid he is. I’m excited to work with him.”