The only team without an offensive coordinator, the Patriots are considering a radical approach to replacing Josh McDaniels. It is looking like either Matt Patricia or Joe Judge will call their offensive plays.
Despite each struggling as head coaches, Patricia and Judge are back in New England. Judge landed in Foxborough this year, with Patricia having worked in various roles upon returning in 2021. Although Patricia has gained experience on the front office side since returning to the Patriots, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com hears (via the New York Post) the veteran defensive coordinator is firmly in play to be the team’s offensive play-caller this season.
Patricia and Judge were running New England’s offense during recent offseason workouts, and Reiss slots Patricia as the favorite to be the team’s play-caller come September. Judge, who has more experience on the offensive side of the ball, should not be ruled out. The Pats going with either would represent an unusual move. Judge certainly had input in the Giants’ offense following Jason Garrett‘s ouster, though that Judge-Freddie Kitchens stretch was ignominiously highlighted by the Jake Fromm quarterback-sneak play calls against Washington. Patricia has not called offensive plays at any level.
With the Patriots from 2004-17, Patricia began his tenure as an offensive assistant but quickly transitioned to the defensive side of the ball. The 47-year-old Pats staffer was their DC from 2012-17, prior to becoming the Lions’ head coach. Judge worked with the Patriots from 2012-19, rising to the dual roles of special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach. He would also make for an interesting choice, but this unorthodox approach has been on the radar for a bit now.
Bill Belichick has said Patricia, Judge, tight ends coach Nick Caley and receivers coach Troy Brown will play significant roles in guiding second-year QB Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense. Of course, someone must sign off on the play calls. It would be one of the more fascinating decisions in recent coaching history to bestow that responsibility on a longtime defensive staffer.