FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Typically, Day 1 of training centers around the players: How are the new additions meshing? Do any of the carryovers from the previous year’s squad look primed for a breakout? Stuff like that. However, as the Patriots opened up the 2022 camp, one of the notable nuggets of the day revolved around who was pulling the strings, particularly on offense.
The offensive play-caller spot has been a central focus all offseason and intrigue has only grown with Bill Belichick not naming an offensive coordinator. Coming into camp, there was some question as to whether it’d be senior football advisor Matt Patricia or offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach Joe Judge.
Of course, given where we are on the football calendar, things could swing in a different direction entirely by the time Week 1 rolls around. That said, from what we saw on Day 1 of camp, it looks like Patricia holds that responsibility, while the title remains on the sideline.
During competitive drills, Patricia could be seen either speaking into a walkie-talkie seemingly calling plays into quarterback Mac Jones‘ helmet, or was physically inside the huddle. Meanwhile, Joe Judge worked primarily with the quarterback group as Bill Belichick loomed over and had his hands in the entire offensive operation.
“I think obviously Coach Belichick’s done a great job kind of explaining exactly what we want to do as an offense, and Matty P has seen so many different defenses along with Coach Belichick, so it’s like they combine their knowledge of how to attack the defense,” Jones told reporters when asked about collaborating with Patricia on offense.
“That’s something that’s really stood out to me. They’re great guys who, and Coach [Joe] Judge, they all bring this different energy to the room when they’re presenting. So, they all are trying to get us to work together and that’s the most important part, is we’re all on the same page regardless of who’s talking, who’s making the decision on a play or what not and it’s always an open conversation which I love.
While Jones may be hearing different voices throughout a given practice, series, or game, he noted that his job is to simply listen to the message and execute.
“I think plays are plays regardless of who’s telling you what the play is,” said the second-year quarterback. “You just listen for the formation, you know all that stuff in the play and then you execute the play. There is a rhythm to it and [Belichick, Patricia, and Judge] all have good rhythm in their meetings and talking through the plays, ‘alright you start here, we go here,’ you know type thing.”
With Josh McDaniels, Jones had one of the NFL‘s better offensive minds in his corner, which proved to be extremely valuable during his rookie campaign. He no longer has that with Patricia and Judge, but Jones will look to soak in the unique perspective they — along with Belichick — bring to the table as he looks to take a leap in Year 2.
“You want to listen to the good coaching that you can get from three coaches who have all been head coaches,” Jones said. “So, they’ve seen a ton, a ton of football and that’s what I’m just trying to take in, is what is something that each one of them said in a meeting that I can take with me, whether that’s about life or football and then apply it to the game.
“Like I said, they all bring a different perspective, but I feel like they’re listening to the players, ‘hey we kind of like this concept, alright let’s try it,’ or if they want to put in something else, they explain the why. That’s the important part for me is understanding why we’re doing something and from there, as a player, my job is go execute the plays.”