It appears the Patriots are at least projecting that, when it comes to the offense, Matt Patricia will be the one pulling the levers. But when it comes down to it, will Bill Belichick be the one calling plays for the New England offense?
That has been a hot-button topic at Patriots training camp this summer. It’s still largely a mystery as to who will be in quarterback Mac Jones’ ear when the games begin. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported Wednesday night that Patricia has done the bulk of the play-calling in camp and is in line to do so during the season.
However, in a podcast interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King, Jones talked about the dynamic of the new-look offensive coaching staff. Josh McDaniels is gone, of course, with Belichick, Patricia and Joe Judge carrying that load. Asked about Belichick’s impact on the offense, Jones praised his boss, while also casually using the “P” word.
“It’s been good. I think you can learn from really good coaches regardless of if they’re a defensive coach or whatever, it doesn’t really matter,” Jones told King. “Coach Belichick has seen offense from way back in the day all the way to how it’s evolved.
“So he knows exactly the origins of it and also the defensive part, too, where he can analyze the defense and put us in a good position with the right play-call because he knows what the defense is doing.”
It’s that last sentence that really sticks out, of course. Reporters in Foxboro have said Patricia is on the radio with Jones, but Belichick is usually close by. It does make you wonder whether Patricia is just the middle man.
If Belichick is the one actually making the calls, that’s not entirely surprising. He is, after all, the head coach, and even when McDaniels was in Foxboro, Belichick obviously could dictate the offensive approach in a given game or situation. McDaniels could then carry out those wishes with the appropriate call.
But without any sort of official play-calling proclamation from the Patriots, the puzzle remains unsolved. As such, the offensive uncertainty lingers.
To his credit, Jones sounds committed to the process.
“I’m really comfortable with our offensive coaching staff,” he told King. “It’s just getting everything down, getting the play-calls down, there’s a bit of a rhythm to it. That’s what we’re going to work on. It’s a process, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but we’ve made good strides and we’ve just gotta continue to do that.”
The intrigue won’t dissipate anytime soon. And even if the responsibilities are bestowed upon Patricia, it’s impossible to deny the notion Belichick will have a far greater impact on that side of the ball than in years past.
How that might affect the rest of the team, especially the defense, is an entirely different conversation that’s probably worth having, too.