New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has received plenty of criticism this summer for his decision to not hire an offensive coordinator and instead cede play-calling duties to Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.
Both Patricia and Judge have never called offensive plays, and if they don't succeed this season, Belichick believes the blame should be placed on him.
"I think they’re both good coaches," Belichick told Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe. "Ultimately, it’s my responsibility, like it always is. So if it doesn’t go well, blame me."
Belichick added that he has found success with inexperienced coaches in the past:
“I don’t see it any differently than it was in the last 22 years. Look at our other offensive coordinators. We had Charlie [Weis]. Then Josh [McDaniels]. He’d never called offensive plays. Billy O’Brien [who succeeded McDaniels] never called plays in the NFL. Josh came back. We’ve changed coaches in every area, multiple times. Defensively, Matt Patricia had never called plays. Then he won a couple of Super Bowls. Brian Flores [who succeeded Patricia] had never called plays. That worked out all right. Steve [Belichick] has been calling defenses.
"We were pretty high up there statistically last year. We didn’t play well obviously in the Buffalo game and a couple of other games, but I wouldn’t say we had a bad year defensively. At least not statistically. We have plenty of coaches that didn’t have previous experience and it’s worked out pretty well with most of them, but not all of them.”
Losing McDaniels, who is now head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, has had a significant impact on the New England offense.
The unit struggled throughout training camp and the preseason. At one point, the offense looked "distressingly bad," per Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, who highlighted the offensive line's struggles.
Second-year quarterback Mac Jones has also been part of those struggles, but there's still going to be a "considerable" amount of weight on his shoulders this year to carry the offense, according to NFL Network's Mike Giardi.
New England will face a tough challenge to begin the season, squaring off against the new-look Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. The Patriots have not won a game in Miami since 2019.
Considering it could be a rough start to the year, Patriots fans might want to buckle up for a long season.