Joel Collier returned to New England when he joined Bill Belichick's staff on February 23, 2005. Collier had previously spent three seasons (1991-93) in the Patriots' coaching and scouting departments before serving an 11-year tenure as an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins (1994-04).
In 2006, Collier's secondary contributed to a defense that set the franchise record in points allowed per game (14.81) and the defensive backfield was key in surrendering the fewest touchdown passes in the league (10). Patriots' opposing quarterbacks had the second lowest cumulative passer rating (66.1) in the league and lowest inside the 30-yard line (50.8). Collier's work with cornerback Asante Samuel helped him tie for the league lead in interceptions with 10 in 2006.
In 2005, Collier helped the secondary improve down the stretch after losing six players to season-ending injuries. In New England's last seven regular-season and playoff games, opponents averaged just 188 passing yards per game while throwing for a total of only five touchdowns. In those final seven contests, opposing teams were held to fewer than 200 total passing yards five times. The synergy that the group achieved was remarkable considering that 13 different starters were utilized during the season, including six starters at strong safety over an eight-week midseason span. Collier's tutelage helped cornerbacks Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs tie for the team lead with three interceptions apiece while combining to produce a total of 30 passes defensed.
Collier rejoined the Patriots in 2005 after completing a seven-year assignment as Miami's running backs coach, during which time he helped produce three 1,000-yard seasons and coached three different players who finished among the NFL's top five rookie rushers in their respective rookie seasons. Under Collier's tutelage, running back Ricky Williams recorded the top two rushing seasons in Dolphins history, notching an NFL-leading franchise-record 1,853 yards in 2002 and following that with a 1,372-yard effort in 2003. Williams earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2002, becoming the first Dolphins running back since Delvin Williams in 1978 to earn such recognition. Collier was also credited with assisting the development of former Miami fullback Rob Konrad, who became known as one of the league's top blocking fullbacks.
His experience on the defensive side of the ball includes a four-year stint as Miami's defensive staff assistant beginning in 1994. In that role, Collier helped to coach the Dolphins linebackers in addition to assisting with the overall football operation. In 1997, he was credited with assisting in the development of linebacker Derrick Rodgers, who earned Sports Illustrated's Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Collier spent three seasons in Foxborough as the Patriots' assistant running backs and receivers coach (1991-92) and as a pro scout (1993). He was hired as a member of Head Coach Dick MacPherson's staff in 1991, and his assignments included assisting wide receivers coach (and current Patriots running backs coach) Ivan Fears.
Collier began his coaching career in 1988 as a graduate assistant under MacPherson at Syracuse University before entering the NFL as an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1990.
Collier was a three-year starter at inside linebacker for Northern Colorado University. He was an academic All-North Central Conference selection.
Joel Collier was born on Dec. 25, 1963 in Buffalo, N.Y. He is the son of Joe Collier, who was on the Patriots' original coaching staff from 1960-61 and served as New England's defensive coordinator under Dick MacPherson from 1991- 92. Joe Collier was also head coach of the Buffalo Bills and a longtime defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos, where Joel served as a ballboy while growing up. Joel and his wife, Shirley Ann, have a son, Jeremy Grayson, and a daughter, Evelyn.