There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick welcoming back his former assistants after they failed as head coaches.
Former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia and former New York Giants coach Joe Judge are back with the Patriots in 2022, and could play a significant role with the team after offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels joined the Las Vegas Raiders in the offseason.
Judge and Patricia are being considered to be the team’s primary offensive play caller in 2022, according to the Patriots’ beat writers.
The decision may come down to a “competition of sorts,” per Henry Coffey McKenna of Patriots Wire. It’s unclear how that will look. Will Judge and Patricia alternate as the team’s primary offensive play caller in training camp? How will Belichick measure success? Will it be based on the team’s offensive performance? Will Belichick solicit opinions from prominent offensive players?
Can Joe Judge or Matt Patricia succeed as an offensive play caller?
Are Judge and Patricia even qualified for this position? Patricia has not served as an offensive head coach since 2005, his second year with the Patriots. Following that season, Patricia moved to the defensive side of the ball. He worked his way up the team’s defense, eventually being named the defensive coordinator in 2012. Patricia remained in that role until the 2018 season, when he was hired as the Lions’ head coach. Patricia went 13-29-1 with the Lions before he was fired. He served as an adviser with the Patriots last season.
Judge made his name as a special teams coach. He has some offensive experience, serving as the Patriots’ wide receiver coach in 2019. Judge was hired by the Giants in 2020, and went 10-23 with the team before getting fired. He rejoined the Patriots last season as an offensive assistant.
Replacing McDaniels could prove difficult. McDaniels flamed out during his first stint as a head coach, but he’s led some successful offensives as a coordinator. It helps when your quarterback is future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
McDaniels, however, did oversee Matt Cassel’s big year in 2008. McDaniels also helped Mac Jones put up promising numbers as a rookie.
Whoever takes over for McDaniels will have big shoes to fill. Getting Jones to reach his full potential will dictate whether the Patriots will be perennial contenders over the next decade.
Jones’ success will also determine whether Judge or Patricia shake the “slappy” label and get another shot to be a head coach in the NFL.