New England Patriots Add Cameron Achord and Atif Austin to the Staff

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FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: A New England Patriots helmet during the first half of the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The 2018 offseason has been no stranger to turnover for the New England Patriots. Fan-favorite names such as Nate Solder, Dion Lewis, and Danny Amendola have been replaced. Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, and Braxton Berrios were among many rookies added through the draft. The defense, by adding veterans Jason McCourty, Danny Shelton, and Adrian Clayborn, has been given a new look as well. The turnover is not done there, as plenty of names remain for the Patriots to sign.

However, player personnel is not the only aspect receiving its fair share of turnover in New England. The Patriots lost defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to the Detroit Lions and special teams assistant Raymond Ventrone to the Indianapolis Colts

With every loss comes another gain, especially with Bill Belichick patrolling the sidelines. Former linebacker coach Brian Flores has unofficially replaced Patricia, and Ventrone’s job will presumably be an outside heir.

Under the Belichick tenure the Patriots have always valued multiple different minds in the film room and on the sidelines to offer plenty of perspectives and analysis for the main staff. Per this trend, the Patriots have recently added two new coaches to the staff, adding Southwest Mississippi Community College interim head coach Cameron Achord as the replacement to Ventrone, and North Dakota State’s wide receiver coach Atif Austin as an assistant to running backs coach Ivan Fears.

While both are not household names – and likely will remain that way – the effect they should have in New England should be a positive, yet quiet, impact.

New England Patriots Add Cameron Achord and Atif Austin to the Staff

Cameron Achord

Reports had Achord joining the Patriots roughly a month ago, however the team has recently made the news official. Previously mentioned, Achord will serve as a replacement for Ventrone and should fit in seamlessly to the Patriots’ staff.

Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Achord has personal ties with Patriots’ special team coach Joe Judge, presumably helping his chances to join the team.

A former safety at Belhaven University, Achord went on to begin his coaching career at the University of Southern Mississippi. Moving to Southwest Mississippi as an assistant coach, Achord began to demonstrate his ability to handle an increasing workload efficiently and effectively. During his Southwest Mississippi tenure, Achord flashed the versatility Belichick usually preaches to his players. Achord served as a special teams, quarterbacks, running backs, and tight ends coach, and as the schools’ recruiting director. In 2017, the school named Achord their offensive coordinator. The Bears named Achord their interim head coach this previous season.

Achord will presumably not take on nearly the quantity or quality of responsibilities in New England. However, he will prove a valuable brain in the film room and an interesting tool on Joe Judge’s staff.

Atif Austin

The Patriots made an offer the Austin to join their staff within the previous month. Upon his acceptance, the plan is to use him as an assistant to running backs’ coach Ivan Fears.

Similarly to Achord, Austin played more than one role during his tenure at North Dakota State. Austin thrived at North Dakota State acting as both a wide receivers and special teams coach.

Prior to his time at North Dakota State, Austin held coaching roles at Stetson, Northern Iowa, and Southwest Minnesota State.

Last Word

While Achord and Austin do not hold flashy names, both possess qualities Bill Belichick looks for up and down his teams. Belichick values coaches that can not only teach players, but analyze multiple aspects of the game. This is exactly where Achord and Austin fit in. Expect them to have a positive impact on an already well-coached Patriots’ team.

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