Wide-Ranging Experience: While he played linebacker, Collier has coached a variety positions on both sides of the ball. Perhaps his best performance as an instructor came when he worked with defensive backs in New England. Under his watch in 2006, the Patriots set a franchise record for points allowed per game (14.81); in 2007, when New England was a win away from an undefeated campaign, Collier’s secondary thrived despite a number of key injuries. Only one team surrendered fewer net yards per pass attempt that season. The year before the Pats elevated him from assistant secondary coach to secondary coach, they finished 31st in yards allowed and 28th in touchdowns.
A Former Leader on the Field: The Buffalo native played college football at Northern Colorado. There, he was named an academic All-North Central Conference selection and was a three-year starter at middle linebacker for the Bears. His teammates referred to him as The Rev” because of his ability to give impassioned speeches before games.
Family Ties: Collier’s father, Joe Collier, was an NFL coach, too. He spent 20 years as the Broncos’ D-coordinator, and in that time, he helped lead Denver to three Super Bowl appearances and authored the famed “Orange Crush Defense” in the late 70s. His last two years in the league were spent in New England, where he briefly coached alongside his son in 1991 and 1992.
High Praise from One of the Best: Future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick credits Joe Collier for shaping his mind and said Joel’s experience “reminds me of myself growing up.”