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Saints’ Michael Hodges is a key figure in Patriots DC search

The New Orleans Saints could lose yet another assistant to a promotion elsewhere around the league. ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports that linebackers coach Michael Hodges has interviewed for the New England Patriots defensive coordinator opening, along with several other candidates. Head coach Jerod Mayo will likely still call plays defensively, just like Dennis Allen has done, but there’s plenty of room for additions to his staff.

And Hodges is a key figure in the search. An internal option for the job, Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington, is expected to interview soon — but he’s worked with Hodges before. Here’s what Reiss had to say about the connection:

Some close to the situation say Covington, who attended Mayo’s introduction as coach Wednesday, is well-positioned to elevate to a defensive coordinator role. The interview with Hodges, who was co-defensive coordinator with Covington at Eastern Illinois in 2016, could be a tipoff that it might be headed in that direction.

That suggests there could be room for Hodges in New England even if he doesn’t get the job, possibly working with Covington again as co-defensive coordinators. That strategy didn’t work for the Saints in 2022 with Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard sharing the title, but it’s worked for other teams, and maybe that’s a situation Mayo could navigate more effectively than Allen did. Hodges and Covington doing well together in the past lends credence to the idea.

If Hodges believes this gives him a better path to advancement and calling his own plays than his current role in New Orleans, he owes it to himself to explore it. Former coworkers like Nielsen and Aaron Glenn have found success after leaving the Saints and getting out of Allen’s shadow. We’ll see if anything comes of this interest.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire