Much of the talk around the Patriots this offseason revolves around the challenge of replacing Josh McDaniels‘ contributions to the team’s offense. Two of the assistants that will be tasked with working on the new-look staff are ex-Patriot staffers Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. As Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer writes, the specific roles for those two seem to have been identified.
As Breer notes, Judge is expected to work with the team’s quarterbacks, something he hasn’t done at any point in his coaching career. When it was announced that he would be returning to New England, it became clear he would work on the offensive staff in some capacity. His only role as a position coach with the Patriots came in 2019, when he worked with the receivers in addition to his more familiar special teams coordinator duties. Regardless of his experience, Judge will have a hugely important role, given that much of the team’s success will likely hinge on Mac Jones‘ development in his second season.
As for Patricia, Breer states that he will work with the offensive line. That would be a slightly more familiar spot for him, since he was an assistant with that position group in 2005 with the Patriots. Still, it’s a long way from the defensive work that earned him a head coaching job. In any event, that position change would confirm the recent belief that Patricia would be transitioning away from the quasi-front office role he took when retuning to New England back to the sidelines.
In addition, Breer writes that “the Patriots haven’t so much as talked to Adam Gase about their OC opening, and things have been quiet on the Bill O’Brien front as well”. That would suggest that their staff is more or less intact as is, something which ESPN’s Mike Reiss corroborates. With regards to the front office, Breer points out that Matt Groh being promoted to director of player personnel as Dave Ziegler‘s replacement – rather than the more experienced Eliot Wolf – is striking. He posits that Bill Belichick likely found Groh to be the safer option to remain with the team long-term, as Wolf has generated outside GM interest.
Overall, there is a degree of risk with entrusting these staffers with positions they haven’t served in during their ascension up the organizational ladder in New England. If it works out, the team’s offense in particular could be in position to take a step forward; if not, though, more shuffling along the staff could prove necessary this time next year.