While New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick seemingly would rather reassign an assistant coach than fire them, Belichick might not have another choice as it pertains to 2022-23 offensive assistant Joe Judge.
It feels like Judge’s job security is among the biggest questions in the aftermath of a bombshell report from the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian published Thursday morning. The extensive feature story details the dysfunction of the Patriots’ most recent campaign, and Judge is among the most prominent topics.
The Boston Herald talked with multiple people inside the Patriots organization who took issue with Judge.
One unnamed source revealed that quarterback Mac Jones had a non-existent relationship with Judge, his position coach. It reportedly wasn’t uncommon for Judge and Jones to trade “profanity-laced outbursts” and one person told the Herald “Mac didn’t like him. At all.”
Jones, once perceived as a franchise signal-caller, might be the biggest indication of Judge’s standing from a player’s perspective, but he wasn’t alone in his feelings.
“(Judge) would speak extra loudly in meetings, trying to project like he was the guy,” one source told the Herald. “And I think that kind of rubbed people the wrong way.”
Another source said they believed fellow coaches grew frustrated with Judge because he tried to coach across multiple positions. Occasionally it would prompt said assistants to correct Judge during drills.
“I think there were times the coaches were frustrated, especially the ones who had been on staff in years past and knew what we had done,” a source told the Herald.
The Herald even reported that Belichick “would blast” Judge in practice. When Jones was injured with a high ankle sprain, players started to see less of the quarterbacks coach. They believed meant Judge was being “phased out.”
The Patriots announced Thursday morning the team had hired Bill O’Brien as its next offensive coordinator. The hiring of O’Brien initially was reported Tuesday but made official in the hours following the Herald report.
The addition of O’Brien makes the future of Patricia and Judge a bit more cloudy. For example, will Belichick allow O’Brien to construct his offensive staff? If so, it feels unlikely O’Brien would choose a defensive-minded assistant (Patricia) or assistant who is most familiar with special teams (Judge) to aid on the offensive side, especially considering how the 2022-23 campaign played out.
It also seems significant the press release named O’Brien the quarterbacks coach in addition to OC.
However, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Judge will be traveling to the Shrine Bowl with Jerod Mayo, Steve Belichick, Bill Belichick and O’Brien. Might that indicate Judge will continue to have a role on New England’s staff next season?
If so, it would be interesting to see how members of the organization react to Judge’s potential reassignment. It might not be what everyone wants, after all.