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Belichick: Patricia, Judge Splitting Patriots' Play-Calling Not Based on Competition

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 15, 2022

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

New England Patriots assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split offensive play-calling duties during the team's 23-21 loss to the New York Giants in Thursday's preseason opener, and head coach Bill Belichick shut down speculation regarding that decision.

"That doesn't have anything to do with it," he told reporters Monday when asked if they split the play-calling because there is a competition between them.

Rather, Belichick said it is all part of the Patriots "going through a process" that he didn't have time to explain further.

Having multiple coaches calling the plays for a team that has not officially named an offensive coordinator after Josh McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is certainly unusual.

It is even more unusual because Patricia, who is a senior football adviser/offensive line coach, has primarily been a defensive coach for much of his career, while Judge, who is an offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, has worked on special teams.

Patricia was also the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2018 until 2020, while Judge was the head coach of the New York Giants the past two seasons.

Both coaches said they are doing what Belichick wants in an effort to improve the team, and that apparently meant Patricia calling plays when quarterback Brian Hoyer was in the game and Judge doing the same when rookie Bailey Zappe took over.

Hoyer went 5-of-8 for 59 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions, while Zappe was 19-of-32 for 205 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

While the approach may be unorthodox, it is hard to argue with Belichick's track record of success.

He is arguably the greatest coach in NFL history with a resume that includes six Super Bowl titles, three Associated Press Coach of the Year awards and 19 playoff appearances. He has led the Patriots to nine Super Bowls in all and sports a sparkling 254-99 record with the franchise.

The offense will be a focal point in the early going of the 2022 campaign given the approach with multiple coaches, McDaniels' exit and the presence of second-year quarterback Mac Jones.

Jones helped lead New England to the playoffs as a rookie in 2021, but the coaching staff took a conservative approach at times as he became accustomed to the NFL level. Never was that more apparent than when he attempted just three passes during a December win over the Buffalo Bills.

Whether he can take a second-year leap with a new offensive coaching staff could ultimately determine the Patriots' ceiling as they look to compete with a different play-calling approach.

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