The New England Patriots had some of the NFL’s best special teams units this season, and the man in charge of them is expected to return in 2018.
The Patriots and special teams coach Joe Judge are in the process of finalizing a new contract, a league source told ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss on Thursday.
Judge, who has been with New England since 2012 and in his current role since 2015, was expected to join Josh McDaniels in Indianapolis next season. But following the offensive coordinator’s last-minute decision to bail on the Colts and remain with the Patriots, Judge reportedly is staying put as well.
Given head coach Bill Belichick’s affinity for the kicking game, it’s no surprise the Patriots typically employ an inordinate number of players who only contribute on special teams. This season, that list included seven-time Pro Bowler Matthew Slater, Nate Ebner, Brandon Bolden, Johnson Bademosi, Brandon King, Geneo Grissom and Nicholas Grigsby.
Kicker Stephen Gostkowski and punter Ryan Allen had excellent seasons in 2017, and Joe Cardona typically is an ultra-reliable long snapper, though all three made mistakes in New England’s 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.
The Patriots will lose at least one assistant coach this offseason, as defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was announced Wednesday as the new head coach of the Detroit Lions.
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