PALM BEACH, Fla. — New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday that Matt Patricia, the former Detroit Lions head coach and New England defensive coordinator, will be part of the team’s offensive coaching staff in 2022.
It’s a notable transition for Patricia, whose primary focus since entering the NFL in 2004 has been on defense.
Patricia will work alongside former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge, the longtime Patriots special teams coach, as Belichick reshapes his offensive staff following the departure of coordinator Josh McDaniels to become the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach.
Belichick hasn’t named an official offensive coordinator — he said Monday that he doesn’t believe in titles — but in his first public remarks since mid-January, he singled out Patricia and Judge as those whom he will be relying upon to help replace McDaniels. He deflected a question on which coach would call plays — a key role given the presence of promising second-year quarterback Mac Jones.
Belichick also said he will continue to meet with Jones himself, as he has with all quarterbacks throughout his 22 seasons as coach.
Specifically of the 47-year-old Patricia and his time with the Patriots, Belichick said: “It’s been awesome. He has a lot of experience — he’s done things when he was here, then of course he had his experiences in Detroit [2018-2020]. Then last year [with the Patriots as a senior adviser], things like the COVID rules and that type of thing. He’s been a big help to me and the organization.”
Patricia first joined the Patriots in 2004 as a general coaching assistant, before moving to assistant offensive line coach the following season. He was named linebackers coach in 2006 and stayed on defense.
Belichick doesn’t see this year’s transition for Patricia as anything outside the norm.
“We’ve had a lot of coaches take multiple responsibilities. I’m not really worried about that,” he said, pointing out McDaniels and current New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll started their careers as defensive coaches before moving to offense.
“I think a good coach is a good coach. Matt is a great coach. Joe is a great coach. They’ll help us no matter what position they coach.”
Reflecting Belichick calling Patricia’s position with the Patriots a “broad role,” Patricia is present with Belichick at the NFL’s annual meeting, which is rare for an assistant coach.
Belichick said his offensive coaching staff is likely complete, with Patricia, Judge, tight ends coach Nick Caley and receivers coach Troy Brown among those he mentioned. Judge has one year of experience coaching offense in the NFL — in 2019 as a receivers coach (in addition to special teams duties).
When asked who will call plays, an area in which he often cited McDaniels’ excellence, Belichick said: “We won’t be calling any for a while. … He’ll be hard to replace, but I feel like we have really good coaches on our staff. … Everybody will have a defined role, like they always do. The offseason is the offseason and once we get on the field coaching players, game-planning and things that, it will all work itself out .”
Belichick said the staff is working through the process of evaluating its system, a key part of any offseason, and that however the offense comes together to maximize Jones’ skills will be a reflection on him.
“Ultimately it’s my responsibility,” he said.