Matt Patricia and Vance Joseph appeared to bury the hatchet Monday night.
Joseph, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, made headlines last week with his comments about Patricia’s performance as the Patriots’ offensive play-caller. The remarks were viewed by many as further evidence of Patricia being mocked for his conservative approach to running New England’s offense.
“I see an offense that’s running the football well,” Joseph told reporters during a news conference. “It’s a very conservative pass game. Lots of screens — a ton of screens. It’s like a defensive guy’s calling offense. It’s how a defensive guy would call offensive plays, right? Let’s not turn the ball over, let’s get four yards a play, let’s try to burn clock, and that’s what they’re doing. And that’s what he’s going to do on Monday night. He’s going to be patient, maybe take a shot from time-to-time, but for the most part, it’s run game, it’s quick game and it’s screens.”
Joseph’s comments clearly irked Bill Belichick and likely bothered Patricia, too. But ESPN cameras captured Joseph and Patricia sharing an embrace after New England’s needed 27-13 victory in Arizona on Monday.
Take a look:
That’s great and all, but Patricia kinda proved Joseph right Monday night, and not in a good way.
The Patriots’ offense was more conservative than ever before, running screens and short passes ad nauseam — potentially to Mac Jones’ dismay. The approach likely was caused by New England being down its top two receivers and again suffering from poor offensive line play, but those excuses only go so far.
Just check out these stats:
Patriots players downplayed the screen-heavy play-calling while speaking to reporters after the game.
“You get so caught up in the game you’re not really counting plays,” center David Andrews said. “… It’s not my job, I just try to go block people.”
Jones was complimentary of Patricia, saying his play-caller did a “great job” against Joseph’s defense. Belichick also didn’t have an issue with the conservative offense and made sure to point out that the Patriots executed a few long plays, including a pair of 30-plus yard completions to tight end Hunter Henry.
“I mean, we hit Hunter on a couple seams,” Belichick said. “It depends on what the pattern was we had called and what the coverage was, and I think Mac made a lot of good decisions. He got hit on the deep ball that was (intercepted). So, yeah, I don’t know.”
At the end of the day, all that matters is the Patriots got a victory over the Cardinals in a must-win scenario. They’ll look to polish off a West Coast sweep when they visit Josh McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday afternoon.