INDIANAPOLIS — Vance Joseph, not Matt Patricia, will be the Broncos’ defensive coordinator in 2023.
But that doesn’t mean Patricia won’t work for Denver in some capacity next season.
New head coach Sean Payton was asked about Patricia, who interviewed with the Broncos, while speaking with reporters Tuesday at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. Payton was effusive in his praise of Patricia, who became a proverbial punching bag this past season due to his struggles while leading the New England Patriots offense.
“He’s outstanding,” Payton said. “I’ve known him for a long time. We practiced against the Patriots. I think he’s extremely talented. He’s a guy that, I think they’ve won five Super Bowls while he was calling defenses. So, that was easy. Like, I knew right away I wanted to interview Matt. I knew right away I wanted to interview Vance. I’ve known those guys. Rex (Ryan) made a lot of sense.”
(For what it’s worth, Patricia was a staff member on three Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams.)
Payton then offered a surprising note: Patricia still could join the Broncos in a role other than defensive coordinator.
“I would say it’s a little early to answer that,” Payton said. “The question was: Do I still possibly envision a role for Matt? And we just got here. He and I are gonna talk this week and I wouldn’t rule that out, though. … If that possibly came to fruition, it would be for a few things. I’d certainly want to talk to Vance and our defensive coaches. But I know Matt well enough to know how smart he is and what he can contribute. So, we’ll see.”
Payton also was asked whether Patricia showed an interest in continuing to coach offense during his interview, but said the focus solely was on defense.
As for what role Patricia could fill in Denver, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport offered a suggestion during NFL Network’s broadcast from the combine.
“For me, it would make sense to bring him in, maybe as a senior defensive assistant,” Rapoport said. “Associate head coach, something in that role. Kind of over the top, taking a look at the defense from maybe a little further out than Vance Joseph does. That would make some sense. … I wouldn’t be surprised if Patricia ended up joining the Denver staff.”
Patricia’s future in New England appears to be in serious doubt.
That’s not surprising, considering there aren’t any openings on the Patriots’ defensive staff, and New England recently inserted Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator. Additionally, Patricia reportedly wants to continue coaching instead of moving back into a front-office role.
Following NESN.com throughout this week for more Patriots news from the NFL combine.