This could be the most ridiculous offseason for the New England Patriots coaching staff if all of these changes take place. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is expected to become the Detroit Lions head coach. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is expected to become the Indianapolis Colts head coach. Linebackers coach Brian Flores is in the running to be the Arizona Cardinals head coach.
And special teams coordinator Joe Judge’s contract ends after this season and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Judge “could leave New England after this season to join one of his fellow departing assistant coaches.”
Judge, a former special teams coach under Alabama’s Nick Saban, spent three seasons as the Patriots special teams assistant from 2012-14 under Scott O’Brien before taking over as the special teams coordinator. The Patriots special teams unit finished in the top eight of DVOA in all six seasons with Judge as a coach.
If Judge leaves, that means the Patriots would have to replace all three of their coordinators, which is a hefty ask for the sake of consistency. Hopefully the Patriots are able to reach an extension with Judge, who is from Philadelphia and went to school at Mississippi State; he shouldn’t have any familial ties to Michigan, Indiana, or Arizona.
But if Joe does depart, New England will likely promote Ray Ventrone, who has served as the Patriots special teams assistant coach for the past three seasons. Ventrone played in the NFL for a decade as a special teamer, so he has plenty of experience. New England could also ask O’Brien to return, just like they asked Dante Scarnecchia to come out of retirement. O’Brien is currently an area scout for the Patriots.