Clarifying Corwin Brown's role on staff

When the Patriots hired Corwin Brown to join Bill Belichick's staff on Jan. 29, the team's announcement did not specify what Brown's duties would be. At that time, Brown had simply been added as a defensive coach.

The team has since added specifics, confirming the obvious that Brown will be working with the team's defensive backs.

Safety Brandon Meriweather had previously taken it one step further, saying Brown was the new "safeties" coach, which makes sense since that is the position Brown played in the NFL.

Brown is the most significant addition to the team's coaching staff in 2010. His presence gives the Patriots two coaches working with the defensive backfield -- Brown and Josh Boyer -- which marks the first time in Bill Belichick's tenure that he has two coaches with the same title working with the secondary. That could mean Boyer, the lone defensive backs coach in 2009, will focus more on the cornerbacks.

When looking at the composition of the coaching staff, one question that I'm interested to hear Bill Belichick answer is if he's created a new layer on the team's coaching ladder.

The progression traditionally goes like this:

1. Coaching assistant

2. Position coach

3. Coordinator/assistant head coach

4. Head coach

But I'm wondering if Belichick has created a "1B of sorts", and that's where Brian Ferentz, Brian Flores and Patrick Graham would fit. Last year, Ferentz, Flores and Graham had the title "coaching assistant".

This year, Ferentz is "offensive assistant coach" and is most often seen working with the tight ends; Flores is "assistant coach offense/special teams"; and Graham is "defensive assistant coach".

My hunch is that when Belichick assessed the coaching staff after the 2009 season, he might have felt that Shane Waldron (tight ends) and Boyer (defensive backs) were a bit young to be a pure position coach; that perhaps they were rushed into that role (Waldron is no longer with the club).

Perhaps that led to creating a new coaching "category" or designation.