If the New England Patriots’ offense struggles this season, Bill Belichick wants you to blame him, not any of his assistants.
During an appearance Monday on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show,” Belichick directed the spotlight toward himself when asked about the Patriots’ still-mysterious offensive play-calling setup.
“Ultimately, I’m responsible for all of it,” the head coach said. “If you want to ask who’s in charge, then it would be me. I have the final say in everything. That’s the way it’s been, and I don’t see that changing.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean Belichick will be the voice in quarterback Mac Jones’ helmet on game days. The Patriots are operating without an official offensive coordinator, but the favorite to fill that role is offensive line coach Matt Patricia, who called plays throughout last Friday’s preseason game against the Carolina Panthers and has done so during most full-team practice periods this summer.
Belichick has taken steps to deflect responsibility away from Patricia, however, calling the Patriots’ play-calling operation a collaborative “process” between several members of the coaching staff. He also noted Patricia handled “communication with the quarterback” during the Carolina game but added: “As far as calling the plays, there’s a whole ‘nother process on that.”
Patricia, a former Patriots defensive coordinator and ex-Detroit Lions head coach, entered the summer with no offensive play-calling experience.
“The communication of the offensive and defensive staffs (are) critical to any process,” Belichick said on WEEI. “And ultimately who calls the plays — I’m not minimizing that, I’m not saying that — but there’s a process that goes to it. A lot of times the play-caller makes calls based on the recommendations or the information he’s received from other people on the staff. It’s a collaborative effort.”
The success of that effort will go a long way toward determining whether the Patriots can improve on their 10-win 2021 season. Jones has expressed optimism about New England’s new offense, saying last week that he’s seen encouraging “progress” after a sloppy start to camp.
“I think Matt, he’s done a great job,” the QB said. “He’s one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever been around in terms of football knowledge. … Hopefully we can grow for a long time.”
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