2 Former Patriots Assistants Could Return to Bill Belichick

Getty Joe Judge

The New England Patriots‘ assistant coaches under Bill Belichick haven’t racked up wins and Super Bowl rings when they’ve become NFL head coaches. Many of the ones that have failed are finding themselves looking to potentially come back after underperforming when given their own teams to run.

The Athletic’s Matthew Fairburn mentioned 2 former Patriots assistants turned fired head coaches might be candidates to strengthen the team’s coaching staff.

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Watch For Potential Return of Joe Judge and Brian Flores

“This isn’t the most experienced staff Belichick has ever had, and a few of his old assistants are back on the market after Joe Judge and Brian Flores were fired from their respective head-coaching gigs,” Fairburn wrote. “There might be an opportunity for Belichick to strengthen his staff this offseason.”

Judge–who is still only 40 years old–served as the Patriots’ special teams coordinator from 2012-19 when the New York Giants hired him to be their head coach. He managed only a 10-23 record as a head coach with the Giants missing the playoffs in both of his seasons at the helm. At some point, he may want another crack at being a head coach, but it seems safe to say he might need to rebuild his resume before he gets another opportunity.

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Flores is in a different situation.

He too is just 40 years old, but he’s coming off a much more impressive run as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins. After back-to-back winning seasons with the Dolphins (10-6 and 9-8) Miami fired him after the final game of the regular season. He compiled a 24-25 record as a head coach and appears to have gotten a raw deal from the Dolphins.

His roots with the Patriots’ organization run even deeper than Judge. Flores started off as a 24 year old working as a scouting assistant with the Patriots in 2004. He has also been a scout, special teams assistant, assistant offense and special teams coach, defensive assistant, safety and linebackers coach before the Dolphins hired him to be their head coach in 2019.

Bringing him back into the fold seems like a great concept, but truthfully, Flores has a great chance to land one of the head-coaching jobs that are available in the NFL. He’d have to strike out in the interview process with all of the desirable spots before he’d consider coming back to New England as an assistant.

Whose Spots Could Judge and Flores Take?

“If Belichick determines coaching played a role in those mistakes, how much different will the staff look in 2022?,” Fairburn asked. “The special teams unit led by Cam Achord was one of the worst during Belichick’s time in New England. Jerod Mayo is a strong candidate for multiple head-coaching jobs. Running backs coach Ivan Fears is nearing retirement. It’s possible the Patriots will have coaches depart on their own, but it will also be interesting to see if Belichick feels the need to freshen up the staff with some new hires after the way the team finished the season.”

There would appear to be several spots opened up, not to mention potential departure of Josh McDaniels into a head-coaching opportunity. Still, it is far more likely we see Judge return as a special teams coordinator/offensive assistant than any sort of Flores reappearance in Foxborough.

After the poor run Judge had in New York, he’s seemingly in a position similar to Matt Patricia after he was fired by the Detroit Lions at the end of the 2020 regular season. Like Judge, Patricia’s run as a head coach was chock full of losses and devoid of playoff appearances. Patricia, who had served as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator during the heart of their dynasty, came back to New England as a special advisor to Belichick.

This seems like a potential fit for Judge too, but only time will tell.

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