FOXBOROUGH, Massachusetts — After assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split the offensive playcall duties in the team’s preseason opener last week, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday the decision was not based on head-to-head competition.
“That has nothing to do with it,” he said.
After the Patriots lost 23-21 to the New York Giants on Thursday, Belichick had described the situation as part of the team “going through a process.”
When asked to elaborate on the trial Monday, Belichick got a little sarcastic, saying, “We don’t have time for that. I appreciate the question, I really do. I know how interested you are in that topic, and I would love to shed more light on it, but honestly it’s a much longer conversation.”
Belichick has not appointed an official offensive coordinator to replace Josh McDaniels, who now serves as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Patricia and Judge led the crime scene in practice; Patricia’s official title is senior football advisor/offensive line while Judge is offensive assistant/quarterback.
In the preseason opener, Patricia called plays for the first two series when veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer was in the game. Then Judge took over when rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe came in.
While the Patriots timed out late in the first quarter, Trent Brown, a veteran offensive, shared his opinion that things looked “pretty smooth” when Patricia yelled “plays.”
On Monday, Patricia described the overall situation as “cooperative” and noted: “We are following Coach Belichick’s lead. We are trying 100 percent to ensure that as coaches we are doing everything we can to get our players to do everything they can. the field. That’s what’s important, not the rest.”
Judge added: “It’s the assistant coach’s job to make the head coach happy. He has a vision for his team. Our job is to listen and come out and execute as he sees it. “As for defined roles, or whatever. Maybe I come to work with one simple policy — whatever he says, goes. My job is to do everything he says to the best of my ability to make the players play better.”
The unique coaching arrangement has sparked curiosity in some NFL circles, in part because Patricia’s primary background has been as a coach on defense while Judge is on special teams. But Belichick has made the point that both Patricia and Judge were involved in fouls in their previous jobs as Detroit Lions head coach and Giants head coach, respectively.
The Patriots have a promising sophomore quarterback Mac Jones, and the coaching changes have come with significant changes in the team’s offense, which several players acknowledge have come with “growing pains.”
“It’s changed a lot for all of us,” Old Town captain David Andrews said Monday. “I think a lot of guys are really trying to figure it out and embrace what we’re trying to do.”