Over the last two decades, the New England Patriots have developed a reputation for developing future NFL head coaches under the guidance of Bill Belichick. Former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was no exception, having overseen the Patriots’ defense from 2012 to 2017 before taking an opportunity as the head coach for the Detroit Lions.
Patricia coached the Lions to a 13-29-1 record from 2018 to 2020 and was fired 11 games into his third season. However, due to his production previously with the Patriots, Belichick brought him back to his coaching staff in January 2021.
ESPN reporter Mike Reiss spoke publicly about the intensity and leadership of Patricia and former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge, who has also rejoined New England in 2022, on the May 11 episode of NFL Live.
“Here’s something that was relayed to me, that if you were on the field for these (minicamp) sessions and closed your eyes and listened, you would know who the leading presence is for the offense among the coaches: The voices of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge standing above everyone else.”
Elaborating further, Reiss explained, “I’m told don’t be surprised if it’s Matt Patricia” who ends up calling plays in 2022.
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Can Patricia Fill McDaniels’ Shoes?
While Patricia has never dealt with the offensive side of the ball throughout all his years in coaching, it seems Belichick trusts him to do so. Patricia will have big shoes to fill with the departure of McDaniels. In 2021, McDaniels’ offense ranked 15th overall and averaged 27.7 points per game, according to StatMuse.
Patricia struggled as a head coach in Detroit. However, while heavily criticized by former players and media, Belichick has stood by his side after contributing to three of New England’s six Super Bowl titles throughout their previous run with the Patriots.
“He does a lot of things. Helps me in a lot of ways,” Belichick said on March 28 at the NFL’s annual meetings. “He does a lot of things. He has a lot of experience. He’s done things when he was here and then, of course, he had his experiences in Detroit. And then last year, with things like Covid rules and that type of thing, Matt’s had a lot of different roles for us, and he’s been a big help to me and the organization.”
Belichick Sets the Record Straight for Fans & Media
If you ask Belichick, this is nothing new for the Patriots. In the past, there have been several coaches who’ve carried multiple roles throughout the season. He mentions McDaniels and current Giants head coach Brain Daboll both playing parts in the defense before transitioning to the offensive side of the ball.
“We’ve had a lot of coaches take multiple responsibilities,” Belichick told reporters in March. “Josh and Brian Daboll were on defense and then went to offense, Matt was on offense and went to defense, and so forth and so on. I’m not really worried about that. I think a good coach is a good coach, and Matt’s a great coach, and Joe’s a great coach. They’ll help us no matter what position they coach.”
“Everybody will have a defined role like they always do. The offseason’s the offseason. Once we get onto the field, coaching the players, and game-planning and things like that, then that will all work itself out.”