Patriots Rumors: Matt Patricia Could Return as Offensive Coordinator Next Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2022

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 16: Senior football advisor/offensive line Matt Patricia of the New England Patriots walks onto the field prior to a game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 16, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The New England Patriots have struggled on offense this season, and NBCSports Boston's Tom E. Curran said on the Merloni, Fauria, & Mego show Thursday that Matt Patricia returning as offensive coordinator is a possibility for next season:

Merloni, Fauria, & Mego @MFMonWEEI

Tom E. Curran reveals there is still a possibility that Matt Patricia will return as the Offensive coordinator next season. <br><br>"I think that, from conversations that I've had Meg, I think everything is TBD."<br>-<a href="https://twitter.com/tomecurran?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tomecurran</a> <a href="https://t.co/tf2XQrEJhf">pic.twitter.com/tf2XQrEJhf</a>

He did add, however, that the Patriots may need to take a closer look at the coaching staff this offseason:

"I think that the biggest concern is that this is a very cloistered Patriots' society right now, and when you think about it, some of the biggest voices in it are people who are retreads, who are relied upon but not even paid by the team right now completely. Joe Judge and Patricia are both collecting from their former head-coaching jobs. So, to me, the world has to be opened up to new and fresh ideas, and I would imagine that Bill Belichick will probably do that if it keeps going the way it's going."

Patricia's official title is senior football advisor and offensive line coach, while Judge is considered an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach.

But for all intents and purposes, Patricia is the offensive coordinator and calls the team's plays on that side of the ball. As Arizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator Vance Joseph noted in the lead-up to New England's 27-13 win against the Cards on Monday night, Patricia's background as a defensive coach has shone through in his offensive style.

"I see an offense that's running the football well. It's a very conservative pass game—lot of screens, all kind of screens. It's how a defensive guy would call offensive plays—'let's not turn the ball over, let's get four yards a play, and let's try to burn clock,'" he told reporters last week. "That's what they're doing and that's what he's going to do on Monday night. He's going to be patient. Maybe take a shot from time to time. But for the most part, it's run game, it's quick game, and it's screens."

It is not an offense, however, that has been terribly effective overall. The Patriots rank 21st in pass yards per game (214.8), 23rd in run yards per contest (104.8) and 18th in points per game (21.2).

It has clearly caused frustrations for second-year quarterback Mac Jones, who was seen getting visibly frustrated on the sidelines during the team's 24-10 loss against the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago. At one point, cameras caught him appearing to say, "Throw the f--king ball! The quick game sucks!"

"Obviously, I just kind of let my emotions get to me," he told reporters after the game. "What I said was about throwing it deeper within the short game. I got to execute that part better. But it's the short game that we kept going to, which is working. But I felt like we needed chunk plays. I shouted that out to kind of get everyone going. That's emotional. That's football. I'm passionate about this game.

"Obviously, you don't want to let your emotions get the best of you," he added. "I think that's pretty much it. It wasn't directed at anybody. Just emotion coming out. We kind of needed a spark."

The stakes are high for the Patriots down the stretch. At 7-6, the Pats are currently the No. 7 seed in the AFC, with the Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) and New York Jets (7-6) nipping at their heels. The Pats have a tough close to the season, with the Las Vegas Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Bills looming on the schedule.

The Pats need the offense to produce. If it doesn't, missing the playoffs is a very real possibility. And if that happens, the Patriots will have to take a long, hard look at whether Patricia—whose coaching background is primarily on the defensive side of the ball—is the right man to be calling plays for the offense.