Patriots Assistant Coaches Won’t Reveal Roles For 2022 Season

'Honestly, I don't really know, and honestly, I don't really care'


May 16, 2022

The New England Patriots’ assistant coaches spoke with reporters Monday for the first time this offseason. They discussed moving on from the blowout playoff loss in Buffalo, integrating this year’s free agent pickups into the organization and what fans can expect from the team’s latest NFL draft class.

But when the topic shifted to positional responsibilities and roles for the upcoming 2022 season, most stayed tight-lipped.

“Honestly, I don’t really know, and honestly, I don’t really care,” Steve Belichick, New England’s outside linebackers coach and primary defensive play-caller in 2021, said when asked if his duties will change. “I just like coaching football. I’m happy to be on defense, but whatever I’ve got to do, I’m happy to do. I’m happy to be around football.”

Will Steve Belichick be the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, the responsibilities of which he’s shared with inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and head coach Bill Belichick for the past three seasons? (New England hasn’t had an official DC since 2017.)

“Fair question that I don’t have the answer to,” the younger Belichick replied. “If I am, great. If I’m not, that’s good, too.”

Mayo offered similar responses in his media session.

“Honestly, I just like to say I’m a football coach,” he said. “Not trying to be ambiguous here. I just like to say I’m a football coach. I coach football players. I’m a teacher. I’m a teacher, and I’m trying to get guys better each and every day.”

Mayo added, echoing his head coach: “We don’t do titles. We don’t have titles around here.”

Ditto for cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino (“That’s a good question. You’ll see”) and safeties coach Brian Belichick (“We’re all just doing whatever it is we’re asked”) when both were asked whether they’ll be continuing on in their 2021 positions, though Belichick did acknowledge he’s been coaching safeties this offseason.

Special teams coordinator Cam Achord directly said he’s “not going to comment on any coaching situations.”

The Patriots return their entire defensive and special teams staffs from last season, but they experienced significant turnover on the offensive side, with longtime coordinator/quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels taking over the Las Vegas Raiders and bringing three other New England assistants with him (Carmen Bricillo, Mick Lombardi and Bo Hardegree). Running backs coach Ivan Fears, whose Patriots tenure predated even Bill Belichick’s, also reportedly retired this offseason, creating another hole to fill.

New England’s offensive assistants were more forthcoming about their roles Monday, with headliners Joe Judge and Matt Patricia confirming they’re working with QBs and offensive linemen, respectively. Nick Caley continues to work with tight ends; Troy Brown and 2021 coaching assistant Ross Douglass are on wideouts; and Vinnie Sunseri, Fears’ understudy last season, appears poised to coach running backs.

Judge did add, however, that every offensive coach being able to work with every offensive position group has been “a main emphasis” for the Patriots this offseason.

“We want to make sure we can all coach all the players and that nobody is out there with a lack of knowledge in the offense,” he said.

As for who will be taking over play-calling duties from McDaniels, that remains to be seen.

“Look, I’ll tell you directly and honestly right now: Nothing’s been declared or decided or voiced to me,” Judge said. “… When Coach (Belichick) wants us to go ahead and declare a role like that, he’ll tell us.”

The Patriots also have yet to announce titles for any members of their coaching staff, save for Judge, who was introduced as an “offensive assistant” when he returned earlier this offseason following a two-year stint as New York Giants head coach. Judge previously served as New England’s special teams coordinator and also coached Patriots wideouts for one season in 2019.

With so much offensive brain drain, it’s been speculated that Belichick may devote more of his attention to that side of the ball this season. Steve Belichick pleaded ignorance on that.

“Honestly, I don’t really know what he’s going to do,” he said. “He wears every hat in the building. He’s always been involved in everything. … I wouldn’t anticipate that changing.”

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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