The New England Patriots have historically held specific titles pretty close to the vest under Bill Belichick. Despite there being offensive and defensive play-callers throughout the head coach’s tenure, the specific coordinator title has been one that has often eluded Belichick’s staff. For instance, there hasn’t been a defensive coordinator in title on the staff since 2017.
That said, Josh McDaniels had held the OC title throughout his second stint with the organization, starting in 2012 and running through this past season before he departed Foxborough for the head coaching gig with the Raiders this offseason. That departure has left a massive hole in New England’s offensive hierarchy and there have been questions about who will fill his shoes and continue to help mold quarterback Mac Jones as he enters a pivotal year in his development.
So far, those in a position to possibly adopt the offensive play-calling duties have been mum on the subject.
“I’ll tell you directly and honestly right now, nothing has been declared or decided or voiced to me,” Patriots coach Joe Judge told reporters Monday, via WEEI.com. “I know Matt (Patricia) is going to be the other one that’s asked or Nick Caley. Right now we’re all just working…like I said it’s mostly drills and skills we’re working offensively. I do think it’s critical for every coach on the offense to understand the game plan and be prepared as a play-caller. In terms of who calls plays, to be honest with you that’s not the main focus for us right now as an offensive staff. When Coach (Belichick) wants us to go ahead and declare a role like that, he’ll tell us.”
Judge did note, however, that he is working with Mac Jones and said “you’ll see me on the field with the quarterbacks.”
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Meanwhile, ESPN recently reported that it could very well be Matt Patricia, a former defensive play-caller, who assumes that role on offense this season. Similar to Judge, Patricia revealed his specific positional focus on the staff, which will be coaching the offensive line.
“I’ve been able to be out there with the offensive guys, working with the offensive line and just kind of help those guys and work some technique and talk about just basic fundamental stuff,” said Patricia. “Really working with those guys up front. Specifically kind of spending time with the guys up front with the offensive line, which has been great for me. I came here a long time ago and I came in as an offensive line coach.”
Of course, given the history surrounding Bill Belichick-led teams, there’s a strong chance they enter the season with no offensive coordinator in title and we’ll simply be scouring the sideline to see which coach is holding the play sheet to truly figure out who is running the show on that side of the ball.