The demand for Bret Bielema’s services only will continue to grow.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano predicted as much Friday when he included the New England Patriots defensive line coach on his list of “13 NFL assistants who could get head coach interviews.” Following stints as head football coach at the University of Wisconsin (between 2006 and 2012) and the University of Arkansas (between 2013 and 2017), Bielema took his talents to the NFL last year, joining Bill Belichick’s staff as a consultant. Belichick promoted Bielema to his current role this season and has been helpful in turning the Patriots’ defense into one of the most fearsome units in recent NFL memory.
Here’s why Graziano believes Bielema’s resume and the performance of his players are bound to attract interested teams:
” … New England’s defensive performance this season (and the latter part of 2018) is the kind of performance teams want to try to get a piece of, and the construction of the staff doesn’t offer a lot of candidates,” Graziano writes. ” … Bielema is the most hirable of the bunch, and since he has 20-plus years of college coaching experience (including 12 as a head coach) before he was in New England, he doesn’t necessarily carry the stigma of past Belichick assistants who couldn’t hack it elsewhere.”
Whether Bielema leaves Belichick’s staff after just two years will depend on a number of factors, including where the job openings are and what future opportunities are available to him in New England. An NFL source told The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin in January Bielema expects to become the Patriots’ next defensive coordinator.
How the rest of the NFL season unfolds also will determine the fates of every NFL head coach and their assistants, so we only can wait and see what the future has in store for Bielema and others.