Report: Matt Patricia 'early favorite' to call Pats' offensive plays originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Ahead of the 2022 NFL season, more attention has been placed on the New England Patriots' unconventional coaching staff than the roster.
Head coach Bill Belichick has yet to name an official offensive coordinator following the departure of Josh McDaniels, and it looks like he's content not giving another coach that title. Rather, it could be a tag-team effort from assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
Even if an offensive coordinator isn't named, it is expected that play-calling duties will fall on Patricia, Judge, or even Belichick himself. No decision has been made at this stage, but The Athletic's Jeff Howe reports Patricia is the frontrunner to take over that role.
"Belichick has not yet decided who will call the plays during the season, but it’s trending in Patricia’s direction, according to a source," Howe writes. "Patricia and Judge are each preparing for the possibility of calling plays, but Patricia’s workload this spring has suggested he’s the early favorite to handle that responsibility."
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Patricia has taken on various roles behind the scenes since rejoining the Patriots last year. He served as an offensive assistant early in his first tenure with New England, but he's spent most of his coaching career on the defensive side -- including a stint as the Patriots' defensive coordinator from 2012-17.
Given both Patricia and Judge's inexperience calling offensive plays, Belichick's unusual approach has invited plenty of criticism. The primary concern is that the coaching situation will put quarterback Mac Jones in a tougher spot as he enters Year 2 of his NFL career.
Regardless of who takes over play-calling duties, it appears Belichick will play an even larger role than usual. That's been the case in Patriots practices so far, during which he's been the de facto offensive coordinator.
We'll find out more when minicamp gets underway on Tuesday.