Joe Judge

More Bill Belichick Fallout: Kraft, Falcons, Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Commanders

Plenty has emerged in the wake of Bill Belichick going from eight-time Super Bowl champion to unemployed, but as the legendary coach regroups, some additional information about what went down in Atlanta — along with other teams’ coaching searches — has come to light.

Connecting some dots based on what has previously come out this offseason,’s Don Van Natta, Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler report in an expansive piece that Falcons execs dissuaded Arthur Blank from hiring Belichick and Robert Kraft played a major role in the process that ended up veering away from an overqualified candidate who had initially appeared the favorite for the job Raheem Morris now has.

On the morning of the day Morris became the pick, Belichick still viewed himself as likely to land the job. Blank confirmed the 24-year Patriots HC did not ask him for personnel control, but power brokering — given Belichick’s outsized influence and experience — is believed to have still gone down in Atlanta’s front office. As a result, Belichick felt “blindsided” by the Morris hire.

CEO Rich McKay and GM Terry Fontenot did not want to work with Belichick, according to ESPN, which adds the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC was willing to work with the fourth-year GM (while confirming he and McKay’s less-than-stellar relationship). A previous report pointed to Belichick’s concern with Fontenot and the Falcons’ overall power structure. Fontenot, McKay and Falcons president Greg Beadles were part of the Falcons’ second Belichick interview.

Going so far as to reveal Falcons brass’ final rankings for the HC job, Fowler, Van Natta and Wickersham indicate Belichick did not finish in the top three for the Atlanta position. Beyond unanimous top choice Morris, Mike Macdonald and Texans OC Bobby Slowik respectively slotted second and third in this process.

Kraft is believed to have played a role in Blank backing off his initial hope to hire Belichick. A conversation between Blank and his longtime friend came after the Jan. 15 Blank-Belichick yacht meeting, and ESPN reports the Patriots owner warned the Falcons boss not to trust the accomplished HC.

Seeing as this comes during an offseason that has seen more information come out — via the much-discussed The Dynasty series — about Kraft’s issues with Belichick, it is hardly surprising the longtime Pats owner would provide such a warning. Robert Kraft, who considered ousting Belichick after 2022 (before son Jonathan Kraft advised against), referred to Belichick as “very, very, very arrogant, per ESPN. A Robert Kraft spokesman denied the owner, who was naturally complimentary of the game’s second-winningest HC upon the January separation, disparaged Belichick to Blank.

Belichick had already assembled a coaching staff, with some familiar names indeed believed to be part of it. Beyond plans to bring Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge aboard, former Texans VP (and Patriots staffer) Jack Easterby was on the radar to be part of a Belichick Atlanta staff. Falcons execs expressed reservations about this staff, with ESPN adding Blank also questioned why this group failed elsewhere. Belichick reportedly responded by saying this group was comprised of “better soldiers than generals.” Judge has since joined Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss staff. The Texans moved on from Easterby in 2022.

New Commanders GM Adam Peters, a Patriots scout in the 2000s, discussed the HC position with Belichick. Minority owner Magic Johnson pushed for Washington to hire the Maryland native, but Josh Harris — who spoke to Kraft about Belichick in December — had decided he would not make that move. We had heard previously the NBA and NHL owner wanted a more collaborative approach, which many current NFL owners prefer, rather than handing the keys to one person. With Harris wanting a front office-oriented leadership structure, Peters has final say on Commanders football matters. Belichick was not interested in the Chargers.

The three other NFC East HC jobs may well be open in 2025, and ESPN notes Belichick would be interested in the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants positions — should they open up. The Eagles did work on Belichick before determining Nick Sirianni would stay, with Jeffrey Lurie and Howie Roseman viewed as fans of the future Hall of Famer, and the former has been close with Jerry Jones for many years. Lurie looks to have joined the Falcons in expressing hesitancy in greenlighting a Belichick move that would bring major changes while qualifying as a short-term fix.

Belichick, who turned 72 on Tuesday, is now six years older than the oldest HC ever hired (Bruce Arians). Any team that considers a 2025 hire would be adding someone who will turn 73 before coaching his next NFL game.

A Belichick confidant also expressed doubt the former Giants DC would earn another HC job unless Jones signs off on a Cowboys hire. Mike McCarthy‘s lame-duck status will keep Belichick rumors going, it would seem, but for now, a TV gig appears in the works. Belichick is expected to join Peyton Manning‘s Omaha Productions for analysis-based work. ESPN’s Pat McAfee also announced Belichick will be part of his show’s draft coverage (video link).

Fifteen wins shy of Don Shula‘s career record, Belichick is believed to have informed allies he expects to land at least one interview next year. While the NFC East jobs are worth monitoring, the bumps the Patriot Way has taken — coupled with Belichick’s age and implied threat to organizations’ status quos — leave it far from certain he will have a third opportunity to lead an NFL team.

Ole Miss Adds Joe Judge To Staff

The Patriots have seen another of their prominent Bill Belichick-era staffers head to the college ranks. Following the exits of Bill O’Brien and Steve Belichick, Joe Judge is also jumping down a level. Ole Miss hired Judge, the school announced.

Judge joined the Lane Kiffin-led program this week. The Patriots had offered Steve Belichick an opportunity to stay, with Brian Belichick still on Jerod Mayo‘s staff. And they had given O’Brien a chance to stay on as well. Although some Bill Belichick-years staffers are still on Mayo’s staff, Judge will leave after his second stint lasted two years. O’Brien is now Boston College’s HC, while Steve Belichick is Washington’s DC.

Judge, 42, has a background with both Belichick and Nick Saban. That past will help land him a job under Kiffin, who was Alabama’s OC from 2014-16. The ex-Raiders HC has been Ole Miss’ head coach since 2020. Judge moved straight from Saban’s staff to Belichick’s; he has been at the NFL level since 2012.

The Rebels are adding Judge, who played in college at rival Mississippi State, as an analyst. Recent NFL HCs or OCs stepping back to the college level took place on Saban’s staff recently, with O’Brien, Brian Daboll and Steve Sarkesian working as Crimson Tide play-callers over the past 10 years. Judge will accept a lesser role at the SEC program.

Working primarily as the Pats’ special teams coordinator during his first stint, Judge flamed out as Giants HC. Late in the 2021 season, Giants ownership had been planning to retain Judge for a third year — after it had fired Ben McAdoo during his second season and Pat Shurmur after Year 2. But a brutal stretch following a Daniel Jones neck injury sank Judge, who went 10-23 as Giants HC; that included a tenure-closing six-game skid.

Bill Belichick rehired Judge and gave him a key role on offense, placing the longtime ST coach in charge of QBs, during a 2022 season that featured Matt Patricia make a strange transition to the team’s primary offensive play-caller. Judge held key input as well, with that being a source of tension for Mac Jones. Holding three Super Bowl rings, Judge joined the expansive list of coaches to fail away from Belichick. He will now have another opportunity to bounce back.

Latest On Bill Belichick, Falcons; Cowboys, Eagles Looked Into HC?

The Falcons look to be moving closer to one of the highest-profile coaching hires in NFL history. Arthur Blank has never hired a head coach that had held the position before, but this weekend’s second interview could well lead to an agreement.

Bill Belichick‘s upcoming meeting with a Falcons executive committee — after the first interview consisted of just Belichick and Blank — is expected to double as one in which the 29-year veteran HC inquires about how a prospective partnership would work rather than Falcons brass interviewing the accomplished leader, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes. Given Belichick’s experience, the Falcons needing to sell him as much as the other way around makes sense. It is not certain Belichick will not take other interviews, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio indicates league buzz is pointing to the six-time Super Bowl winner ending up in Georgia.

[RELATED: Falcons, Seahawks Showing Interest In Mike Vrabel]

Atlanta remaining in the thick of this pursuit despite Dallas and Philadelphia enduring embarrassing playoff losses is notable, and perhaps telling. Some in league circles believe the Cowboys and Eagles showed interest in Belichick, according to Florio. The Cowboys have since announced they are retaining Mike McCarthy for a fifth season, while the Eagles may be settling on Nick Sirianni retooling his staff. Philly is already believed to have put out feelers to coordinators, pointing to a Sirianni fourth season in charge. Thus far, Belichick has only met with the Falcons.

In order to fire coaches who have accomplished what Sirianni and McCarthy have, the NFC East teams would need to be confident they could lure a better coach. On the Belichick front, Florio adds the all-time great may be done with big-market media. After coaching 24 seasons in the Boston area, Belichick coming to Atlanta would bring a change of pace. That said, Belichick’s presence would naturally make whatever team he ends up a frequent topic of discussion. Low-key NFL teams certainly do exist; the Falcons have operated as one in recent years. But the concept of Belichick residing off the mainstream radar — as he changes teams and sits 14 wins shy of Don Shula‘s all-time wins record — would be difficult to imagine.

If Belichick is truly zeroing in on Atlanta, he would obviously bring credentials that lap the rest of Blank’s hires. The longtime owner saw this firsthand, via Super Bowl LI, and Belichick the coach would provide a major upgrade — particularly on the defensive side. The subject of personnel power would become more complicated. Belichick excelled for years in this area, his issues drafting first-round wideouts notwithstanding, but has struggled recently. The Falcons made a point to say GM Terry Fontenot was not leading this HC search but belatedly said the fourth-year exec’s role has not diminished. It would be interesting to see Belichick, 71, cede power to Fontenot, 43, with the Falcons. The NFC South club could also consider bringing in personnel staffers more familiar with the coach.

On that note, some around the league also believe Belichick would probably reunite with assistants Josh McDaniels, Joe Judge and Matt Patricia were he to become the next Falcons HC, Maske adds. Belichick’s sons, Steve and Brian, are believed to have an opportunity to stay in New England under Jerod Mayo. But it would stand to reason the assistants will be wanted in Atlanta should their father sign on.

McDaniels’ failures as a head coach aside, he provided considerable value under Bill Belichick in New England. The polarizing play-caller was on staff for all six New England Super Bowl wins, the final three coming when he was in place as offensive coordinator. The Patriots’ freefall post-McDaniels probably should not be overlooked. Patricia stands as a key of that downslide, with Belichick strangely installing him as the 2022 team’s primary offensive play-caller. Patricia and Judge, fired by the Giants after two seasons, held the keys on offense for the ’22 Pats edition. Belichick was believed to have wanted Patricia to stay in 2023, rather than the team hiring Bill O’Brien.

Would the Falcons be willing to go with a Patriots South setup? They would be far from the only team to sign up for a Patriot Way effort, but this endeavor would be a bit different, seeing as the architect would be coming rather than a lieutenant being tasked with replicating Belichick’s approach.

The Falcons have already interviewed six other candidates, satisfying their Rooney Rule requirements in the process. The team is set to meet with Rams DC Raheem Morris on Saturday. While Morris is a former Falcons interim HC who spent six years with the team under Dan Quinn, he may not have left on bad terms. But Belichick buzz has overshadowed the Falcons’ search thus far. We could be days away from the former Browns and Patriots HC receiving a third opportunity, one that would put him in position to break Shula’s record, which has stood since 1995.

AFC East Notes: Pats, Dolphins, Hamlin, Bills

The Patriots will join the list of teams to lose OTA days due to minor violations. The NFL docked the Pats two OTA sessions, Mike Reiss of tweets. New England did not practice Wednesday and will see another of its sessions nixed next week. The violation is believed to stem from the NFLPA expressing concern about the Pats’ meeting schedule. A 15-minute special teams meeting appearing on the team’s internal schedule was deemed mandatory in nature, and not voluntary, by the union, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes. Bill Belichick incurred a $50K fine, Greg Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal tweets, noting Joe Judge was involved in the violation as well (Twitter links). Pats players were aware they were being asked to stay longer than allowed, per veteran reporter Mike Giardi (on Twitter), with Reiss adding the team was fully cooperative with the NFL inquiry.

While on-field contact has triggered these penalties at various points in the recent past, the Pats’ violation is believed to pertain to only the meeting issue. This punishment certainly can be interpreted as steep for the reported infraction, though the NFLPA made reduced offseason work a key component during the 2011 and 2020 CBA talks.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • Austin Jackson is back at work for the Dolphins, per the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, participating in OTA sessions after undergoing reconstructive ankle surgery (Twitter link). Jackson did not undergo surgery upon initially injury his ankle — in Week 1 — as Miami’s starting right tackle attempted to return in Week 12. Jackson played 70 offensive snaps in that December game but did not suit up again last season. The Dolphins said before the draft they are planning to give Jackson another shot as their top right tackle, though they subsequently passed on his fifth-year option.
  • Miami did not draft a tackle, but the team did add ex-New England starter Isaiah Wynn. The former first-rounder is working at multiple positions during OTAs, Mike McDaniel said (via Jackson). League rules prohibit media from reporting which positions Wynn is playing, but the former Patriots left tackle did play guard for three seasons at Georgia. Wynn has spent most of his NFL time at left tackle and struggled on the right side following a 2022 position switch. The Dolphins have Terron Armstead locked in at left tackle, but the ex-Saints blocker has run into numerous injury issues during his career. He missed four games last season. Wynn’s Dolphins path could feature a starting right tackle role, a spot as the team’s swingman or potentially a guard gig. Left guard Liam Eichenberg has not solidified his position like right guard Robert Hunt has.
  • Damar Hamlin has made remarkable strides in his recovery and is fully expected to resume his career this season. But the Bills are playing it cautiously. Hamlin received full clearance to return and has worked out with teammates this offseason, but The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia notes the third-year safety is not yet participating in OTAs (Twitter link). Hamlin’s progress continues to be a situation to monitor in Buffalo, considering the historically rare circumstances he encountered after making a routine tackle in January.
  • A year after re-signing Matt Milano, the Bills let Tremaine Edmunds walk in free agency. The five-year starting linebacker signed a monster Bears contract and left a hole in the Bills’ lineup. Buffalo is likely to look in-house to replace Edmunds, with WGRZ’s Vic Carucci indicating Tyrel Dodson and 2022 third-round pick Terrel Bernard will compete for the middle ‘backer job. A former UDFA, Dodson made three starts last year. He played 220 defensive snaps. Starting one game as a rookie, Bernard played 110. The Bills also brought back veteran A.J. Klein, who has 82 starts on his resume (16 with Buffalo), in April.

Tension Remains Between Bill Belichick, Mac Jones; Patriots Shopped QB?

The Patriots placed Mac Jones at the center of a historically unusual experiment last season, giving career defensive coach Matt Patricia the keys to the offense. It backfired, and Jones expressed steady frustration with the plan.

Jones’ irritation spilled outside the building, with NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran noting the former first-round pick was asking for assistance from coaches not on New England’s staff. Those efforts getting back to Bill Belichick has affected the sides’ relationship, Curran said during a WEEI interview (video link).

Alabama staffers received calls from Jones regarding the Patriots’ plan on offense, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms reports. This comes after a report that indicated Jones had said during the 2022 offseason he would be teaching the Pats’ offense to Joe Judge, who was moved into position as the team’s de facto quarterbacks coach following his Giants ouster. Judge remains on New England’s staff; Patricia is not currently with the team but has a potential path to stay.

This looks to be a storyline to monitor. Belichick has since shopped Jones this offseason, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, who notes the 24th-year head coach has discussed his starting QB in trades with multiple teams. It is not known who Belichick discussed Jones’ potential availability with, but the Raiders were mentioned as a potential suitor before free agency. Las Vegas has since signed former Josh McDaniels pupil Jimmy Garoppolo. McDaniels worked with Jones in 2021.

The Texans also came up, per Florio. Houston GM Nick Caserio was not with the Patriots when they drafted Jones, but he obviously has deep New England ties due to his run as Belichick’s right-hand personnel man. Were the Patriots to attempt to trade Jones outside the AFC, teams like the Buccaneers and Commanders emerged as potential suitors. Those teams have since added Baker Mayfield and Jacoby Brissett, respectively. These veterans would not seemingly be an impediment to a Jones pursuit, so how each organization proceeds in the draft could be relevant to the Patriots.

Jones talks may well have reached the offer stage, with’s Doug Kyed adding no offer was good enough to prompt the Patriots to act here. Tension remains between Belichick and Jones, per Kyed, who adds both Robert and Pats president Jonathan Kraft are fond of of the third-year quarterback. This makes it worth wondering if Belichick would have the green light to move on from the former No. 15 overall pick. Jones’ rookie contract can run through 2025, via the fifth-year option. After 2022, it cannot be assumed the Pats will pick up that option. The former national championship-winning QB’s deal has been mentioned as a barrier in the way of a Lamar Jackson pursuit; the Pats are one of the many teams planning to steer clear of the Ravens superstar.

I’m a big fan of Mac,” Kraft said at the league meetings. “He came to us as a rookie. He quarterbacked in his rookie season and did a very fine job I thought. We made the playoffs. I think we experimented with some things last year that frankly didn’t work when it came to him, in my opinion.

Belichick’s unusual Patricia-based plan also may have bothered Brian Hoyer. The off-and-on New England backup was not on board with installing a former defensive coordinator as the play-caller, Curran adds. He was not the only one, with veteran NFL reporter Mike Giardi noting (via Twitter) every position group observed the dysfunction on offense last season.

The Patriots released Hoyer this offseason, eating $1.6MM in dead money to do so, and the 15th-year veteran agreed to terms with the Raiders on Tuesday. Following Hoyer’s 2022 concussion, the Pats used third-stringer Bailey Zappe in place of Jones. A mini-QB controversy developed after the Western Kentucky one-and-done won both his starts. Jones regained his job after recovering from the high ankle sprain he sustained, but Zappe is now believed to have a chance at pushing Jones this offseason.

A fourth-round pick who played one season of Division I football — albeit a record-setting showing in a pass-crazed offense — Zappe would be an underdog against Jones, who now has Bill O’Brien in place as OC. On his way out of Tuscaloosa in 2021, Jones helped teach Nick Saban’s then-new OC the Crimson Tide’s offense. After Kraft called Belichick’s decision to install Patricia as the Pats’ primary play-caller a mistake, O’Brien — in his second tour of duty as New England’s OC — is now in place to help clean up the mess.

After elevating the Patriots’ passing attack — at least, compared to their Cam Newton season — and helping the 2021 team to the playoffs, Jones has seen his New England tenure veer off course. It will be interesting to see how he, Belichick, Judge and O’Brien coexist moving forward.

Patriots To Retain Joe Judge

Most of the major coaching moves around the league have already taken place, but a notable development in New England will see one of their top assistants remain with the team. Joe Judge will occupy an assistant head coach role with the Patriots in 2023, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer (Twitter links).

Judge will work in part with the team’s personnel department, Breer notes. That setup will make his new role somewhat similar to that of fellow veteran staffer Matt Patricia in 2021 when the latter transitioned from the sidelines to the front office. Judge will still have on-field responsibilities as well, though, working alongside Cam Achord and Joe Houston to coach the Patriots’ special teams units.

Judge, 41, made a name for himself as a coach in the third phase during his first stint in New England. He worked his way up to the unit’s coordinator in 2015, working in that capacity until taking the Giants’ head coaching job in 2020. That move didn’t go as planned, and he was fired after two straight losing seasons. He returned to the Patriots this past offseason, still representing one of head coach Bill Belichick‘s most trusted lieutenants.

As was the case with Patricia, Judge spent the 2022 campaign in an unfamiliar role. The latter served as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach, and his struggles in that capacity resulted in tension between himself and Mac Jones. Overall, New England underwhelmed on the offensive side of the ball with Patricia and Judge playing central roles, so it came as little surprise when Bill O’Brien was installed as the team’s new offensive coordinator.

That will allow Judge to have a more comfortable assignment on special teams. The Patriots ranked dead last in terms of DVOA in the third phase in 2022, so there will plenty of room for improvement for the unit heading into next season. Judge will aim to help guide them to a rebound performance, while solidifying his place as a versatile, experienced member of the organization.

Patriots Notes: Coaching, Meyers, Lawing

The Patriots offense was in disarray in 2022, and Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald provided us with a peek behind the dysfunctional curtain. According to the report, the Patriots’ season was filled with tension on the offensive side of the ball, particularly between Mac Jones and coach Joe Judge.

The issues started in the spring, when Jones irked Patriots brass by indicating that he would be teaching the offense to his new quarterbacks coach. While the players and coaches would ultimately work together “in good faith,” the team was unable to overcome the shortcomings of Judge and de facto offensive coordinator Matt Patricia. The duo tried a simplified approach to Sean McVay’s offense in Los Angeles, but this resulted in an incomplete and underwhelming catalogue of plays.

“A lot of guys were getting worried because when we were in the middle of camp, we were wondering what the plan was for our offense. Because we hadn’t put enough install in,” a source told the Boston Herald. “We had a couple protections, a couple core run plays, but our pass game didn’t have much in it.”

While Patricia seemed to garner most of the criticism, the Boston Herald points a finger at Judge. Bill Belichick would later phase Judge out of the offense, but not before frustrations boiled over. Per the report, both Jones and Belichick got into shouting matches with the former special teams coordinator, and there were even occasions where positional coaches would have to correct Judge’s mistakes.

Ultimately, the relationships that underpinned “the offense became so strained, they engendered internal doubt” about Belichick’s decision making. The head coach was quick to make changes following the season; shortly after announcing that they’d be conducting an offensive coordinator search, the Patriots hired Bill O’Brien to fill the role. Still, both Judge and Patricia are expected to be back in 2023.

More notes out of New England…

  • Speaking of, Belichick had a much larger role on offense than he let on, according to Albert Breer of The head coach was “active on the headsets” during games, providing the same “oversight over the offense that he’d traditionally had over the defense.” Belichick even had a stint “moonlighting” as the offensive play-caller, which resulted in the offense occasionally looking “messy from an operational standpoint.”
  • For what it’s worth, Patricia’s contract has expired, according to Breer. This provides the coach with an open opportunity to pursue a different role elsewhere, something he may consider since he’s already facing a reduced role in New England. Tight ends coach Nick Caley also has an expiring contract, but Breer says the coach still has a chance to return to New England. Caley has received several OC interviews, including an interview for the Patriots job.
  • Top receiver Jakobi Meyers played through a small tear in his knee this past year, per Callahan and Guregian. Despite the inconsistent Patriots offense, Meyers continued to produce in 2022, topping 800 receiving yards for the second-straight season while also establishing a new career-high in touchdown receptions (six). The former undrafted free agent is set to hit free agency this offseason and should be in line for a significant pay day as one of the top available players at his position.
  • O’Brien is already starting to add to his new offensive staff. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss (on Twitter), the Patriots are adding Will Lawing to their offensive staff. The 37-year-old coach has worked alongside O’Brien at multiple stops, including Penn State, Alabama, and the Texans. Lawing held multiple roles during his time in the NFL, including tight ends coach. He spent the past two seasons as an offensive analyst at Alabama.

Coaching Notes: Colts, Rams, Patriots

The Colts are moving on to second interviews with some head coaching candidates, but they’re still hoping to get one individual in the building for a first interview. According to Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, the Colts still want to speak with 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans.

The Colts have been trying to nail down an interview with Ryans for a few weeks. The organization was expected to finally speak with him on Sunday, but with the 49ers advancing to the NFC Championship Game, the coach once again put his interview on hold.

The coordinator already spoke with the Texans and Broncos about their HC jobs, and he also postponed an interview with the Cardinals. As Maaddi details, NFL rules allow Ryans to have second interviews with the Texans and Broncos next week, regardless of the outcome of this weekend’s game. However, the NFL’s “window for first interviews” has close, so he’ll have to wait until the end of the 49ers’ season to speak with the Colts and Cardinals.

We heard earlier today that Ejiro Evero will be getting a second interview with the Colts, and per Maaddi, the organization is expected to advance “six or seven other candidates” to the second round. Another name that should get a second meeting with the organization is interim head coach Jeff Saturday, according to Maaddi.

More coaching notes from around the NFL…

  • Sean McVay continues to shake up his coaching staff, and that’s led him to an assistant coach in Chicago. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter), the Rams have requested permission to interview Bears assistant offensive line coach Austin King. The former NFL player would presumably be eyeing a promotion in Los Angeles, and he could fill multiple roles considering his experience coaching tight ends with the Raiders.
  • Former Patriots lineman Adrian Klemm previously interviewed for New England’s offensive coordinator job, a position that ultimately went to Bill O’Brien. However, it sounds like the Patriots are still considering recruiting Klemm to their staff. According to TheMMQB’s Albert Breer (on Twitter), another meeting is anticipated between the coach and the Patriots. Klemm spent the 2022 season as Oregon’s associate head coach, run game coordinator, and offensive line coach. He previously spent time on the Steelers staff, serving as assistant OL coach before earning a promotion to OL coach in 2021.
  • With O’Brien back in New England, focus turns to the status of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge after the duo led the Patriots‘ offense in 2022. ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes that Patricia should be able to carve out a role on New England’s staff in 2023 considering his familiarity with the organization and his relationship with Bill Belichick. However, since the Lions are no longer picking up the tab, it remains to be seen if the Patriots will be willing to compensate the coach accordingly. Meanwhile, Reiss could see see Judge sticking around New England, but the writer is skeptical about the coach returning to his natural ST role. Judge officially spent last season as the Patriots quarterbacks coach, a designation that “surprised people both inside and outside the organization,” according to Mike Florio of
  • There’s still no clarity on what Jerod Mayo‘s new role will be in New England, but he could be facing a significant promotion. Some pundits have suggested that Belichick could be preparing the former linebacker to eventually take over as head coach, and Breer tweets that Mayo was alongside his boss for all of the organization’s offensive coordinator interviews last week.

Bill O’Brien “Primary Target” For Patriots OC Job

The Patriots are looking to revamp their offensive coaching staff, and it sounds like a familiar face is a favorite for the gig. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes that Bill O’Brien is the “primary target” for New England’s offensive coordinator job.

[RELATED: Patriots Will Start OC Interviews Next Week]

Curran notes that there are “other candidates with merit,” but there’s “unanimity on all sides” that O’Brien is the best person for the position. The main thing going for O’Brien is his relationship with the Patriots organization, especially when you consider Bill Belichick‘s penchant for bringing back former assistants. O’Brien spent five years with the Patriots, culminating in him becoming the team’s offensive coordinator. Following head coaching stints with Penn State and the Texans, O’Brien spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, a close confidant of Belichick.

Speaking of Alabama, O’Brien also has an advantage over the field thanks to his relationship with Mac Jones. While the QB prepared for the 2021 NFL Draft, he also helped O’Brien learn the Alabama offense following the coach’s hiring. O’Brien could look to add elements of Alabama’s quick-strike offense to the Patriots offense. While the familiar scheme would obviously benefit Jones, the offensive philosophy would also take better advantage of Jones’ game-management skills (vs. his average QB skills).

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Mike Reiss looks at a handful of additional potenital candidates for the offensive coordinator position. After O’Brien, Reiss lists former Jets head coach Adam Gase as a candidate considering his mutual respect with Belichick and his experience with Saban. Reiss also lists Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, former Jets/Cardinals associate head coach/receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, Cowboys QBs coach Doug Nussmeier, and current Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley as potential targets for the job.

In a surprising press release last week, the Patriots revealed that they would begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates. This follows a 2022 campaign where Belichick opted to go without an OC to replace Josh McDaniels and chose former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to lead the way. The results were ugly, as the inconsistent Patriots offense struggled for much of the year.

Patriots Negotiating New Contract With Jerod Mayo, Will Start OC Interviews Next Week

The Patriots are officially looking to shake up their offensive coaching staff, but they’re also hoping to retain a key defensive coach. The organization announced in a press release that they’ve begun contract negotiations with coach Jerod Mayo “that would keep him with the team long-term” (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Twitter). The team also announced that they will begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates next week.

While Mayo has served as New England’s de facto defensive coordinator (alongside Steve Belichick), his title has officially been “inside linebackers coach.” As a result, Mayo wasn’t only allowed to interview for head coaching gigs, but also defensive coordinator opportunities, and it seemed all but certain that his stint in New England was likely going to come to an end as he pursued a more significant title. The Browns previously requested a DC interview with Mayo, and we learned earlier today that the Panthers planned to interview him for their head coaching vacancy. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets, the Patriots don’t want to lose him for “anything short of a head coaching job.”

The former Patriots linebacker has had a quick accession through New England’s coaching ranks, culminating in his current role. It sounds like the Patriots are committed to keeping the Mayo/Belichick duo for as long as possible, and it will be interesting to see what title Mayo emerges with (assuming he sticks in New England).

With Josh McDaniels leaving for Las Vegas, the Patriots used a similar philosophy with their offensive coaching staff, relying on two individuals instead of one definitive offensive coordinator. The issue was that head coach Bill Belichick turned to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to run the offense. The results were disastrous, with QB Mac Jones taking a clear step back during his second year in the league. Naturally, this has led to plenty of speculation that the Patriots could look to shake up the staff, and the organization has now made it clear that they’ll be interviewing for a new OC.

Some names have already been floated as possibilities. Bill O’Brien, who worked his way up to offensive coordinator in five years with the Patriots, could be a candidate. The coach has spent the past two years as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and there were theories that O’Brien didn’t return to New England last offseason because Belichick didn’t want to compromise his relationship with Nick Saban. With O’Brien’s contract having expired, he’s now free to sign anywhere. Kliff Kingsbury is another candidate following his firing in Arizona. The former NFL QB was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. As Albert Breer of tweets, the Patriots will have to follow the Rooney Rule if they intend to give someone the title of offensive coordinator.

Either way, this is some “unprecedented” transparency by the Patriots organization (as Volin notes on Twitter), with Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweeting that the organization is clearly “being very intentional about getting the word out.” This follows rampant speculation that Robert Kraft has requested coaching changes, and the owner reportedly met with his head coach earlier this week. Indeed, Howe tweets that Kraft and Belichick “have been aligned in their vision for a new offensive plan” next season.