Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores seems to have a future as a head coach in the NFL. But in the short term, he doesn’t have a future as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator. At least not yet.

That’s according to Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson, who spoke to two sources who said the Patriots are “preparing to go into a season without a defensive coordinator.” Instead of getting the official defensive coordinator title, Flores is expected to assume “primary defensive play-calling duties.”

It’s not an unprecedented move for Bill Belichick, as he ran the team for two years without an official defensive coordinator between Dean Pees’ departure following the 2009 season and Matt Patricia’s promotion for the 2012 season. But it is a bit surprising.

Flores, 37, is by many accounts a rising star in the coaching world — so much so that the Arizona Cardinals wanted to speak with him a second time after Flores impressed on his head coaching interview in January. That job eventually went to Steve Wilks, but the interest in Flores before he had ever even been a coordinator was notable, and it led many to assume that Belichick would elevate Flores for the 2018 season, after Patricia left to become the head coach of the Lions.

But that is not the case, at least not yet. Much like Belichick did with Patricia in those 2010 and 2011 seasons, the responsibilities will be added to Flores’ plate gradually.

Of note: The Patriots finished 25th in the NFL in total defense in 2010, and 31st in 2011. In terms of points allowed, they ranked eighth and 15th in those years, respectively.