Like much of his team’s fanbase, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reportedly is not pleased with the way New England’s offense has been run this season.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported Sunday on NBC Sports Boston that sources have told him Kraft is “not happy” with the Patriots’ controversial offensive coaching setup.
Offensive line coach/play-caller Matt Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge have led that group along with head coach Bill Belichick, and the Patriots have regressed from a borderline top-10 offense last season under former coordinator Josh McDaniels to one of the NFL’s worst.
Breer reported that these struggles and Kraft’s displeasure could lead to sweeping staff changes this offseason.
“My understanding is (Kraft has) made comments around the building that basically indicate he’s not happy with where the offensive coaching staff is right now, and I think that that could lead to shuffling at more than just the play-caller spot,” Breer said. “I mean, we could be talking about a new coordinator coming in with multiple new position coaches. I think there are several guys on the staff that are going to be reviewed after the year.”
Kraft reportedly is a fan of tight ends coach Nick Caley, the Patriots’ longest-tenured offensive assistant. Breer reported Caley, who was passed over for the OC job in New England last offseason, is a candidate to join McDaniels’ Las Vegas Raiders staff.
“The interesting part about this is the one guy I’ve heard that Kraft actually likes and would like to keep around is the tight ends coach, Nick Caley, who was up to be the coordinator a year ago and now is on an expiring contract and I think a lot of people expect would take a look at a job in Vegas in 2023.
“So you have a lot of moving parts here, and the indications that I’ve gotten are that Kraft has expressed to people within the building that he’s not happy with the offensive coaching situation, which of course mirrors how a lot of the general public feels.”
Breer said it’s unclear how Belichick plans to proceed at these key coaching spots and whether he and Kraft share the same view. Former Patriots OC Bill O’Brien has been rumored as a strong candidate to return to New England and replace Patricia, but O’Brien this week said he has not had contact with the Patriots since April.
“I think that’s the operative question here — how Bill responds to all of this at the end of the year,” Breer said. “I think when the year ends could affect all of this. They haven’t been in this position in forever. Normally, they have promoted from within. They haven’t been in a position to go chase assistant coaches on the market right after the season ends, and that market moves very quickly. The desired candidates in a lot of cases are gone within two or three days after the season ends. They have to take jobs when they can.
“So I think once we get to the end of the season, this can’t be a two- or three-week process of Bill trying to figure things out. He’s going to have to get pieces in place quickly whether they make the playoffs or not, and I just think a lot of this is going to come down to whether Bill does this on his own or not. Will Bill on his own volition go and change the offensive coaching staff, or is it going to take Robert Kraft going to him.
“And then if Robert Kraft goes to him, how does he address Bill Belichick? Is it an ultimatum? Is it a discussion? I think there’s a lot to be determined there, and how Robert Kraft approaches this if Bill doesn’t make the changes on his own is going to be very interesting and probably dictates which way this goes.”
The 7-8 Patriots must beat the 8-7 Miami Dolphins on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive.