Matt Patricia

Latest On Positional Roles For Joe Judge, Matt Patricia

One of the ongoing questions surrounding the Patriots this offseason has been tied to the specific duties assigned to Joe Judge and Matt Patricia. Clarity on the subject came recently when each of them spoke publicly about the team’s new-look offensive staff. 

“In terms of who is coaching each position, you’ll see me on the field with the quarterbacks” Judge said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. That role is significant in any case, but especially so in New England this upcoming season, given the importance of Mac Jones‘ development to the team’s overall success. The ex-Giants head coach has plenty of experience working under Bill Belichick, but has never served as a QBs coach before.

Patricia, meanwhile, revealed that he will be working with the team’s offensive line. That is a familiar position group for him, as he was an assistant o-line coach in 2005, but just as in Judge’s case, his role will be much different than the one he spent the most time with on the Patriots’ staff. The position will include a more simplified job description than those of head coach (which Patricia held in Detroit from 2018 to 2020) or defensive coordinator (which he held in New England for the six years prior to that).

Despite the announcements, nothing new was revealed with respect to play-calling duties. Reiss reported last week that Patricia seemed to be the favorite to fill the vacancy left by Josh McDaniels, though he acknowledged that Judge was a candidate as well. The latter indicated that a final decision on the matter of the duties – if not the title – of offensive coordinator has yet to be made.

“In terms of who calls plays, to be honest with you, that’s not the main focus right now” he said. “When Coach [Belichick] wants to go ahead and declare a role like that, he’ll tell us.”

Matt Patricia Favorite To Call Patriots’ Offensive Plays?

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.

Latest On Patriots Offensive Coaching Staff

With Josh McDaniels leaving New England for Las Vegas, the Patriots have a giant hole on their offensive coaching staff. In traditional Bill Belichick fashion, it sounds like the organization may be going with an unconventional route when it comes to McDaniels’ replacement(s). While Belichick hasn’t named an official offensive coordinator, the long-time head coach specifically singled out former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coach Joe Judge “as those whom he will be relying upon to help replace McDaniels,” per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

“We’ve had a lot of coaches take multiple responsibilities. I’m not really worried about that,” Belichick said today when asked about the lack of offensive experience for Patricia and Judge. “I think a good coach is a good coach. Matt is a great coach. Joe is a great coach. They’ll help us no matter what position they coach.”

Patricia had a brief stint as offensive line coach with the Patriots in 2005, but he moved to linebackers in 2006 and ended up staying on defense until getting a head coaching gig in Detroit. Similarly, Judge served primarily on special teams during his first seven years with the Patriots, but he took on the role of wide receivers coach in 2019 before leaving to coach the Giants.

When it comes to a lack of offensive coordinator, the Patriots took a similar route with their defense in 2021, with both Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick guiding that side of the ball (as Reiss notes, Belichick said today “that he doesn’t believe in titles”). The HC noted that all of 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. However, Belichick was tight lipped when asked who will call plays.

“We won’t be calling any for a while,” Belichick said. “[McDaniels will] be hard to replace, but I feel like we have really good coaches on our staff. … Everybody will have a defined role, like they always do. The offseason is the offseason and once we get on the field coaching players, game-planning and things that, it will all work itself out.”

Update On Patriots’ Coaching, Front Office Staffs

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.

 

Patriots Considering Moving Matt Patricia To Offensive Staff?

The Patriots have undergone plenty of change on the sidelines and in the front office recently. In trying to reshape the coaching staff, in particular on the offensive side of the ball, there seems to be a growing chance of Matt Patricia becoming more involved. 

[Related: Raiders Hire Josh McDaniels As HC]

As ESPN’s Mike Reiss writes, “the possibility of Patricia joining the offensive staff in some capacity has come up” within NFL circles. He served under the title of senior football advisor last year, following his return to New England.

The 47-year-old only spent his first two seasons (2004 and 2005) with the Patriots as a member of the offensive staff, and in a minor capacity at that. He is, of course, best known for his six years as the team’s defensive coordinator, which ultimately landed him his first head coaching job in Detroit. That certainly didn’t go according to plan, as the Lions finished last in the NFC North in his two full seasons, and he was fired in November 2020.

Still, Patricia is a trusted lieutenant of Bill Belichick, just like Joe Judge. It was announced last week that the latter is being brought back into the fold, also on the offensive staff. As Reiss notes, however, Judge’s only experience on that side of the ball came during one year as the Patriots’ wide receivers coach in 2019 before his similarly ill-fated stint as head coach of the Giants. Not surprisingly, given their inexperience, neither he nor Patricia have called plays on offense at the NFL level.

After losing not only longtime OC Josh McDaniels to the Raiders, but also a host of valued assistants on the offensive staff, many feel Patricia and Judge could help ease the transition to a new power structure on the sidelines. While Reiss stresses it surely isn’t the primary motivation, he also notes how both of them are still being paid by their former teams after initially signing five-year deals, which reduces the cost of their services for the Patriots.

Whatever changes New England makes, it could of course have a domino effect throughout the staff. As PFF’s Doug Kyed tweets, either Patricia or Belichick himself taking on a workload on offense would likely shift more defensive responsibility to position coaches Steve Belichick or Jerod Mayo. In any event, Reiss writes, Patricia shifting from a quasi-front office role back to purely coaching is a “scenario that bears watching”.

Latest On Matt Patricia’s Role With Patriots

After his disastrous tenure as the head coach of the Lions, Matt Patricia rejoined the Patriots in January. Of course, it was his time as New England’s defensive coordinator that led to Patricia’s rise to the head coaching ranks, and his disappointing two-plus years in Detroit did not shake Bill Belichick‘s confidence in his long-time lieutenant.

As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes, Patricia looks like he is being groomed for a major role with the Patriots, either on the coaching staff or in the front office. After former exec Nick Caserio became the Texans’ general manager earlier this year, there is a void in the New England front office, and Volin reports that Patricia is taking on some of Caserio’s responsibilities.

Perhaps most notable is the fact that Patricia has replaced Caserio as the “closer,” the man whose name is at the bottom of every free agent contract the Patriots signed this offseason. A former high-level NFL executive told Volin, “[t]he fact that [Patricia] is the one signing all of them, it certainly says that he’s intimately involved, and probably leading the internal organization around cap management and contract negotiations.”

Like Caserio and his predecessors, Scott Pioli and Floyd Reese, Patricia’s background is in the football side of things, not the financial/legal side. Belichick apparently believes that such an arrangement, which is fairly unique — most teams have their GM or salary cap administrator sign contracts — helps to expedite the process, since the “football guy” knows exactly who a player’s comparables are and how he fits into the team’s scheme.

Patricia, who was manning the phones during this year’s draft and who served as Belichick’s “sounding board” before the Pats selected Alabama QB Mac Jones, is not just being utilized in a front office capacity. Volin and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com noted that Patricia was standing alongside Belichick at practice this past week, and he worked with defensive linemen and observed defensive drills. Caserio also coached drills during his time in Foxborough.

To be clear, Eliot Wolf — who was hired last March — and assistant director of player personnel Dave Ziegler were also heavily involved in free agency and the contract process, so it’s not as if Patricia is a one-man show. Still, the 46-year-old has long been one of Belichicks most-trusted confidants, and he is presently looking like a real candidate to emerge as the team’s future GM or even head coach. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recalls, the Rams came away from their 2017 HC interview with Patricia thinking that he might make a great GM down the road.

Because Patricia will be paid by the Lions through 2022, Volin suggests he could be with the Pats for at least the next two seasons.

Matthew Stafford: There Were Teams I Didn’t Want To Play For

A few days ago we heard Matthew Stafford dish on his trade process, including about how he knew a move was possible prior to the 2020 season, and offer insights into a few of the potential destinations before the Rams eventually stepped up. Now Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press (subscription required) has published the second part of their interview, and there are more interesting nuggets to pore over.

There was a report that Stafford didn’t want to go to the Patriots, perhaps due to the presence of Matt Patricia. Albom asked him about that and while he didn’t specifically name New England, he did admit that there were certain teams he didn’t want to play for.

Well, what’s accurate is — and this is an incredible thing by them — I asked to go to a team that was ready to win a championship. And, you know, there were a few teams on that list. There were a few teams that were not on that list. And they were respectful of that and understood completely. I had thoughts and reasons for each one of them,” Stafford said while raving about how the Lions handled the situation.

It sounds like he saw New England struggle to field a competitive team in 2020, and wanted no part of it. Stafford also acknowledged that the Rams would’ve been his top choice all along, which was rumored to be the case. He did try to tamp down the speculation by speaking highly of Patricia.

He and I had a good relationship, no matter what anybody wants to say. I could go into his office and talk to him, he could get me on the phone whenever he needed to. I think we both grew in that relationship. I have a lot of respect for him and who he is, as a football coach and an unbelievable mind,” Stafford said of his former coach.

This Date In Transactions History: Lions Hire Matt Patricia

In 2017, Jim Caldwell led the Lions to their third winning campaign in four seasons. It wasn’t enough to save his job. The Lions fired Caldwell and replaced him with Patriots defensive guru Matt Patricia, three years ago today. 

Patricia had lots of hype heading into this cycle. He also had a longstanding relationship with Detroit GM Bob Quinn, who previously worked in New England. After working his way up through the Pats’ ranks, Patricia served as their DC for six seasons. During that period, the Patriots’ defense never ranked lower than tenth in points allowed. And, of course, his final day with the team nearly ended in yet another Super Bowl ring, before Nick Foles got in the way.

It seems like just yesterday that Patricia was regarded as the perfect fit. It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change in the NFL. After a combined 13-29 record and an ugly Thanksgiving Day loss, the Lions sent the 46-year-old packing. Now, he’s going back to New England to serve in multiple assistant coaching roles on Bill Belichick‘s staff. Meanwhile, the Lions are moving forward with Dan Campbell, who will have Jared Goff leading his offense.

Patriots To Bring Back Matt Patricia

Weeks after his foray into the head coaching world ended after three playoff-less seasons in Detroit, Matt Patricia found a familiar landing spot. The Patriots are bringing him back to join their staff, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe reports.

The longtime Patriots defensive coordinator will serve in a variety of roles, per McBride and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter). The Pats transitioned to Brian Flores as their top defensive assistant following Patricia’s 2018 exit and have seen Jerod Mayo rise into that role since. Patricia, however, served as New England’s DC for six years and spent his entire NFL coaching career with the franchise prior to relocating to Michigan three years ago.

Patricia will follow Josh McDaniels in trekking back to the Patriots after an HC tenure did not work out. McDaniels returned to the Pats during the 2011 playoffs, ahead of a divisional-round game against the team that fired him (the Broncos), and resumed OC duties in 2012. Patricia will rejoin a Patriots defensive staff that has gotten younger since his exit.

Patricia, 46, became the latest Bill Belichick assistant to struggle away from his mentor. The Lions went 13-29 under his watch and fired him after a Thanksgiving Day blowout loss. After coaching with the Patriots from 2004-17, he will have a chance to reboot his career and provide their staff with extensive experience.

Lions Fire Bob Quinn, Matt Patricia

Two days after the Lions endured a Thanksgiving blowout loss, they are making major changes. The organization announced the firings of Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will take over as interim head coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This will be Bevell’s first HC opportunity.

This move is certainly not unexpected, with the Lions on track to miss the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Ownership gave Quinn and Patricia a playoffs-or-bust-themed directive for 2020. After being routed by the Panthers and Texans over the past two weeks, the Lions are well off course.

Patricia’s ouster marks a second former Bill Belichick assistant to be fired in-season. Patricia coached against interim Texans HC Romeo Crennel on Thursday, doing so weeks after Houston canned Bill O’Brien. Patricia did not come especially close to achieving the kind of success O’Brien did and will not finish his third season. The former Patriots DC’s Lions tenure will wrap with a 13-29-1 record.

Quinn determined Jim Caldwell‘s back-to-back 9-7 seasons were not worthy of a fifth year, leading to the former Pats executive bringing in his former coworker. Although the Lions’ swoon last season could be attributed to Matthew Stafford‘s midseason injury, they have no such excuse this year. Stafford has started throughout, and the Lions will enter Week 13 at 4-7. Since Patricia’s hire, the Lions have blown an NFL-most 18 fourth-quarter leads, as Ed Werder of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter).

While Caldwell’s Lions could not build on their 11-5 2014 season, Patricia’s teams did not come close to a worthwhile follow-up effort. The longtime NFL defensive coach has seen his third Detroit defense drop to 30th in points allowed. The regression was not especially steep, with the Lions ranking 28th in defensive DVOA in 2018 and ’19.

Quinn’s firing makes for an interesting NFL GM landscape. Three jobs — in Atlanta, Detroit and Houston — are available before December. Quinn took over for Martin Mayhew in 2016; the Lions did not win 10 games in a season during his tenure.