Matt Patricia's official title with the New England Patriots is senior football advisor and offensive line coach, but it appears he's now the team's de facto offensive coordinator as well.
Per multiple reports, Patricia was calling the plays during the team's preseason opener on Thursday night against the New York Giants.
ESPN's Mike Reiss offered more details on how Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge—the former head coach of the New York Giants—were handling the offensive possessions on Thursday night:
Mike Reiss @MikeReiss
On the first drive, Matt Patricia called the offensive plays. <br><br>During this time when the defense is on the field, Patricia huddles with the OL, and Joe Judge is with the QBs.<br><br>A snapshot of how the Patriots are divvying up the coaching duties. <a href="https://t.co/BJqEfK3ou8">https://t.co/BJqEfK3ou8</a>
Promoting Patricia to the offensive play-calling duties is a curious decision. In Patricia's first stint with the team, he largely spent time on the defensive side of the ball as the linebackers coach (2006-10), safeties coach (2011) and defensive coordinator (2012-17).
He then served as the Detroit Lions head coach from 2018 to '20, going 13-29-1. His offensive coordinators, Jim Bob Cooter (2018) and Darrell Bevell (2019 and '20), called the plays.
So it's a brand-new role for Patricia while he also handles his duties with the offensive line.
Tom E. Curran @tomecurran
Josh McDaniels - a very good offensive coordinator - rarely if ever left the side of the quarterbacks in between series. I still don’t get the upside of having Patricia, a first-year OC installing a new system, doing double-duty with OL. Asking an awful lot. <a href="https://t.co/M2FtBSy4hi">https://t.co/M2FtBSy4hi</a>
It's possible, however, that head coach Bill Belichick is essentially auditioning both Patricia and Judge for the role, as later in the game it appeared as though Judge took over the play-calling duties:
So there is some uncertainty surrounding who will be calling the plays in New England when the offense has the ball. Perhaps Belichick is giving both a shot to prove themselves in the gig, or maybe they'll split the duties, though that seems like an odd approach.
One would imagine Belichick would have the situation sorted by the start of the regular season to provide second-year quarterback Mac Jones and the offense with continuity.
But it's a bizarre situation, and one that would probably be an even bigger story if it wasn't happening under an eight-time Super Bowl champion in Belichick.