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New England Patriots players concerned about ‘direction’ of offensive coaching staff

Matt Johnson

The New England Patriots coaching staff underwent a huge overhaul this offseason. When play-caller Josh McDaniels left for the Las Vegas Raiders, he brought many top assistants with him. As the Patriots now prepare for the 2022 season, there are worries about the new staff assembled by Bill Belichick.

McDaniels is widely viewed as one of the brightest minds in the game when it comes to offense. New England lost its top offensive coordinator and a brilliant play-caller. But the departure also came with other blows for Belichick and New England.

When McDaniels left for Las Vegas, he also brought along offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, receivers coach Mick Lombardi and quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree. Instantly, crucial figures in the Patriots’ success on offense departed.

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The Patriots still don’t have an offensive coordinator. Joe Judge – fired this offseason by the New York Giants – and Matt Patricia, fired in 2020 by the Detroit Lions, are expected to have prominent roles working with the offense.

While New England lists Patricia as a senior football advisor and Judge as an offensive assistant, both are penciled in roles this season. Patricia will be coaching the offensive line, a role he last played for one year in 2005 for flipping to defense. Meanwhile, Judge will work directly with the quarterbacks.

There is great uncertainty regarding how this offense will look in 2022 and it’s not just a belief around the league.

Addressing concerns about the Patriots’ offense and its coaching staff, NFL insider Greg Bedard shared that some players are concerned about the situation and believe things aren’t headed in the right direction.

“I’ve heard from people in the last couple of days about what’s going on with the offensive coaching staff and the initial reports I’m getting back are not good at all. And that includes what they’re hearing from the players internally. It’s not going in a good direction.”

Greg Bedard of Boston Sports Journal (H/T NESN)

All of this comes after an offseason that caused frustrations for fans. With the passing attack in desperate need of reinforcements, the Patriots traded a third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for oft-injured receiver Devante Parker and many believe they reached for receive Tyquan Thornton with the 50th pick.

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During a time of so much uncertainty and skepticism, with the AFC stronger than ever, there are real questions surrounding the Patriots.

Who will be the New England Patriots offensive coordinator?

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It comes as no surprise that Belichick won’t provide clarity on who will be the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in 2022. As of now, it seems like New England intends to use a mix of play-callers with members of the coaching staff competing for a more prominent role.

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The timing is far from ideal. It’s widely recognized that the second year in the NFL is critical for a young quarterback. While there is a lot of optimism surrounding Mac Jones heading into the summer, Belichick hasn’t exactly built the ideal supporting cast around him.

There’s another wrinkle that is a bit concerning. As noted by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, the listed Patriots coaching staff for the 2022 season only has one assistant coach with direct experience working with quarterbacks. Cam Achord, New England’s special teams coach, worked with signal-callers at a junior college and as a graduate assistant at Southern Miss.

It’s possible the Patriots manager to silence the skepticism this fall with a well-executed offense that functions smoothly without a star player or offensive guru calling plays. If it falls short and this unit becomes a reason why New England doesn’t make the playoffs, Belichick will face plenty of earned scrutiny for months.