Why Won’t Patriots Give Assistants Titles? Mike Florio Floats Theory

'... You remove that storyline, you remove that avenue for criticism'

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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick continues to dig his heels in when peppered with questions about the make up of New England’s coaching staff.

Belichick, specifically, scoffed at the idea the Patriots haven’t yet named an offensive coordinator to replace now Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels. Belichick, while speaking with reporters during organized team activities (OTAs) this week, pointed to the fact the calendar hadn’t yet turned to June and the season remains months away.

“What plays are we calling? Minicamp plays?” Belichick retorted Monday. “… When we get to it, we’ll get to it.”

Well, whether Belichick likes it or not — in fairness, he probably doesn’t care — that sort of outlook will only contribute to the firestorm of speculation. And Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has joined those willing to partake, offering an interesting theory as to why Belichick’s staff remains set up the way it is. Offensive assistant Joe Judge acknowledged how coaches are working “collectively” as a “coaching unit,” which may not make fans feel overly confident.

Florio believes there’s a Belichick-centric reason for that.

“I still, at some level, believe that Bill Belichick is trying to centralize responsibility,” Florio explained on PFT Live. “He’s trying to reduce the pressure and the scrutiny of the individual assistant coaches because I think he knows. I think he knows. If he didn’t know before they got the crap kicked out of them by the (Buffalo) Bills in prime time to end their 2021 season, 47-17, it was something obscene like that. And his son Steve, supposedly is the de-facto defensive coordinator. That’s the type of performance that defensive coordinators get fired for.

“Well, Bill isn’t going to fire one of his kids,” Florio continued. “And if you ain’t gonna fire one of your kids, it makes it harder to hold other people on the staff accountable as well. And you remove that storyline, you remove that avenue for criticism, or at least you minimize it, if no one really knows what the various staff members even do. And I really think at some level, he is trying to protect himself, and the two kids of his that work for him, from an awkward spot by keeping it very deliberately confusing as to who is doing what. I feel like at some level, that’s part of the genius of Bill Belichick, circling the wagons around the coaching staff.”

Chris Simms agreed with the Florio’s take during the show. Simms expressed how he could see Belichick wanting to avoid setting up one specific coach as “the marked man.” It seems neither would be surprised it it happened to continue.

And perhaps for good reason. Given Belichick’s resistance thus far, there’s a good chance the Patriots will not replace McDaniels with any offensive coordinator. It will create an interesting dynamic regarding the offensive play caller, perhaps it will be Matt Patricia or Judge, but there remains the possibility that Belichick himself calls plays. Questions clearly are aplenty.

One way or the other, though, Belichick shielding others from the fire could result in himself getting burned the worst.

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