Anybody who has ever played a competitive sport in their youth knows the importance of coaching. Coaching is not only teaching; it is coordinating, problem-solving, and leadership. The development, performance, and morale of a team directly correlate to the skill of a coach. Without a good coach, there is no good team, period.
Just earlier this off-season, the New England Patriots lost their Offensive Coordinator, Josh McDaniels, to the Las Vegas Raiders. Following this unfortunate transaction, Bill Belichick was expected to hire an Offensive replacement Coordinator, teach him the system, and move on. However, things have not shaped that way since.
Titles Are A Thing Of The Past, Patriots Fans
Nearly every NFL team today has the same coaching structure: An Offensive Coordinator, a Defensive Coordinator, a Special Teams Coordinator, a Head Coach, and a few assistants sprinkled in-between. Yet, despite the success this coaching system has had in the past (including with the Patriots), Bill Belichick doesn’t seem to like the traditional way teams have organized their vast array of coaches.
When asked about the possibility of not having a named Offensive or Defensive Coordinator on his team in a press conference, Belichick responded, “Yeah, I mean, I’m not big on titles.” Although it was quite a surprise to hear this statement front-and-center, Patriots fans were not entirely oblivious to a title-less coaching staff.
Once former Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia left for the Detroit Lions in 2018, Belichick refused to hire a replacement instead of bringing on a series of football-comfortable people to assist with running a defense. At the time, Belichick’s move was a shocker for everyone, but now it’s forgotten and adapted as time has passed.
Bill Belichick labels the coaching design as “streamlining,” which effectively means making a system more efficient by simplifying it. However, despite its claims of simplicity by Belichick, I am not sure the system will be better than before, not necessarily due to the design of the system, but due to the people running the system.
Who Will Be Running The “Streamlining” Project On Offense?
Matt Patricia, pictured when he was Defensive Coordinator with the team (via Pats Pulpit)
Matt Patricia, who has since re-joined the Patriots after his time in Detroit, was calling offensive plays at the first minicamp practice for the Patriots. Other online reports also state that Patricia was also in charge of coaching the offensive line. Patricia’s official title with the Patriots is “Senior Football Advisor,” although the actual meaning hasn’t been established.
Joe Judge, who is also re-joining the Patriots after his time with the Giants, is another candidate for leading the offensive play-calling. During OTAs and minicamp, Joe Judge was also helping to coach Quarterbacks. Unfortunately, the Judge’s official with the title is also vague, labeled as “Offensive Assistant.”
At this point, no positions are confirmed, and players have begun to notice. People familiar with the situation in New England have told the Gillette Gazette that players are “alarmed” and “concerned” with how the off-season has been coached so far.
No player wants to be in a system that is vague and unclear. Upsetting players with controllable problems is a recipe for disaster, and if Belichick wants to keep his players happy with him, he needs to figure things out quickly. As of now, his support system is not even close to functional.
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