Bill Belichick isn’t saying who the New England Patriots’ offensive play-caller will be this season. And if history is any indication, it could be a while before we find out.
Bob Socci, the Patriots radio play-by-play voice for 98.5 The Sports Hub, noted Tuesday that in Belichick’s first season as a head coach, with the Browns back in 1991, he refused to reveal details about Cleveland’s play-calling setup even as the preseason got underway.
Socci shared an article by Ed Meyer of the Akron Beacon Journal written after Belichick’s first exhibition game as an NFL head coach. Its lede: “Another CIA operation might be required to determine who is calling the plays for the Browns.”
“Bill Belichick, rookie head coach of the Browns, would not say he called plays in Monday night’s 23-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and he wouldn’t say he didn’t,” Meyer wrote.
In Meyer’s view, Belichick appeared to be calling offensive plays, with quarterbacks coach Gary Tranquill offering “input” from his seat in the coach’s box. (Also seated in that box: a young tight ends coach named Ernie Adams.)
The 1991 Browns, like Belichick’s current Patriots squad, did not employ an official offensive coordinator.
More than 30 years later, Belichick kept that same trademark tight-lipped approach Monday as he faced repeated questions about New England’s plan to replace longtime OC Josh McDaniels. Belichick would not disclose who the Patriots’ 2022 play-caller would be and sidestepped inquiries about whether he’ll handle those duties himself.
“I’ve called them and I haven’t called them,” he said. “And other people have called them and they haven’t called them. So, we’ll see.”
Monday’s one-practice sample size suggested Belichick will, at the very least, be devoting more time to New England’s offense this season. He spent the majority of the team’s first OTA focused on that side of the ball and could be seen relaying plays to quarterback Mac Jones during certain periods.
Joe Judge and Matt Patricia, who are coaching quarterbacks and offensive line, respectively, also called in offensive plays during practice, prolonging the mystery of who will take on that vital role this season.
“When we get to it,” Belichick said, “we’ll get to it.”