For years, New England Patriots fans have largely believed Josh McDaniels would succeed Bill Belichick as head coach. Perhaps he will, but it seems another of Belichick’s current assistants may be in line to take on The Hoodie’s general manager duties.
One of the significant observations made during the early days of OTAs is how closely Matt Patricia had stuck to Belichick’s side. WEEI’s Ryan Hannable captured this snapshot that was a common sight in Foxboro.
The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin wondered aloud if Patricia was being “groomed to be Belichick’s heir.”
In Volin’s article, he quotes Belichick:
It’s good to have Matt Patricia back. He’s very familiar with our process, his process and all the things that go around that. He’s been really a very valuable resource and confidant, somebody to talk to who’s been through the same things that we’ve been through. His experience and perspective have been extremely valuable.
The former Detroit Lions head coach had a distinguished run as the Patriots defensive coordinator, but he didn’t fare well in Motown.
Still, Belichick brought him back to New England as a special assistant, and it is unclear what his role is with the team. However, Belichick has said he’d leaned heavily on him in player evaluations and other decisions.
When you group those events and comments with the optics from OTAs, it would appear something big is on the horizon for Patricia with the Patriots.
Patricia Seems Like a More Likely Candidate for GM
Would Patricia even want to return to the sideline after not having the best experience in Detroit? After having some experience assisting Belichick with front office decisions, would he be interested in taking what might be a move down the proverbial ladder?
Because of these factors, it would appear Patricia is better suited to be the team’s next general manager more than the coach who succeeds Belichick. It seems improbable Patriots ownership would allow the next person to wear multiple hats as Belichick has for the past two decades.
While the franchise has had unprecedented success, we’ve begun to see some cracks in that approach with drafting and personnel decisions that have been too formulaic and rigid.
There will likely be at least two people hired to do Belichick’s jobs once he walks away.
Where Does This Leave McDaniels?
McDaniels has twice taken other head coaching jobs, though he ultimately made a 180 in one situation. He applied for the Philadelphia Eagles job this offseason but didn’t get it.
It seems clear he’s looking to make a move back into head coaching as soon as the right opportunity presents itself. Would he wait for Belichick to walk away? Perhaps, but then maybe the bigger question is would he want to work for Patricia if the latter becomes the general manager?
There is an interesting dynamic at play here, and it’s even more intriguing when you consider Belichick’s sons are also a part of the Patriots’ coaching staff. Belichick doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon, but this will be an exciting story to follow over the next two to three seasons.