Patriots Bring Back Former Assistant Coach

Getty Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots and Bill Belichick never seem to shun former assistants who look to rejoin the organization after failed runs as head coaches.

The latest example occurred this past week when the recently fired New York Giants head coach and former Patriots assistant Joe Judge was rehired in New England as an offensive assistant.

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Judge was with the Patriots from 2012-2019. He began his tenure with the team as a special teams assistant before graduating to special teams coordinator and a dual role as the STC and wide receivers coach.

Judge’s teams in New York struggled mightily. In two seasons as the head coach of the Giants, the team went 10-23 and never made the postseason under Judge. Many predicted Judge might land back with the Patriots after he was fired, and those predictions played out.

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Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia both returned to New England after being fired from the Denver Broncos and Detroit Lions, respectively. McDaniels had a one-year stop with the St. Louis Rams as their offensive coordinator before finding his way back to Foxborough, but the trend is alive and well.

McDaniels is getting his second or third chance at head coaching (depending on how you categorize his hiring and reneging with the Indianapolis Colts in 2018). McDaniels was hired to be the next head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, and he his taking a good portion of Belichick’s staff with him.

McDaniels has hired former Patriots wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi as the new offensive coordinator for the Raiders, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Also, McDaniels tabbed Carmen Bricillo to be his offensive line coach, a role he held with the Patriots last season.

Is Judge expected to replace McDaniels?

Judge and Patricia Might Be Stepping Up to Take McDaniels’ Spot

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Judge and Patricia (who returned to the organization last offseason after being fired by the Lions following a 13-29-1 stint as head coach) could collaborate to fill the gap left by McDaniels’ departure.

“The first domino in Bill Belichick’s plans to shape his offensive coaching staff after coordinator Josh McDaniels’ departure fell last week with the hiring of Joe Judge,” Reiss wrote.

“Could a second domino include senior football adviser Matt Patricia? Few, if any, truly know what Belichick is thinking. But the possibility of Patricia joining the offensive staff in some capacity has come up in conversations with smart NFL personnel projecting Belichick’s next move, and the thinking goes like this: With the Patriots set to retain the core of their existing defensive staff, but losing elite institutional brainpower/knowledge on offense without McDaniels and others, Belichick might view some combination of Patricia and Judge as his best option to spearhead the offensive transition.”

With both Judge and Patricia failing miserably in their attempts to be successful head coaches, that’s not a duo that is going to deliver a level of confidence in the minds of the media or the fanbase–at least not at first.

“The public perception of Patricia and Judge might not be high after their stints as head coaches with the Lions and Giants, respectively, but Belichick’s respect for their coaching acumen as assistants, how they fit in the Patriots’ culture and his trust in them is well documented,” Reiss added. “Such an approach, if Belichick ultimately moves in that direction, would come with risk.”

The risk is obvious, but it is important to remember that when McDaniels returned to the Patriots in 2012, he wasn’t exactly riding a wave of momentum. Still, he helped to play a role in three Super Bowl victories after he returned. Perhaps Belichick is hoping to see the same kind of resurgence happen with Judge and Patricia.

Maintaining Brian Hoyer is Crucial

Brian Hoyer is headed for free agency and the 36-year-old has no plans to retire.

He played an important role as a mentor and tutor for Mac Jones in his rookie season. With McDaniels moving on to the Raiders opportunity and with Lombardi also leaving, Jones will be hearing a new set of voices in his second season in the NFL.

Because of the transition, it would seemingly behoove the Patriots to try to re-sign Hoyer to a reasonable deal. There is a level of comfort between Hoyer and Jones that should be valued considering the latter is still in such a pivotal and formative stage of his career. It seems very possible he could one day join the Patriots’ coaching staff as a quarterback coach or an assistant in the future.

Perhaps re-signing him for another stint as Jones’ onboarding assignment could be the precursor to the next Hoyer-Patriots relationship.

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John Sullivan
John Sullivan
6 months ago

They don’t talk about about Mangini, no ,no,no. Never coming back or going anywhere.

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