Despite two weeks remaining before the end of their 2020 season, the New England Patriots already know that one of their assistant coaches will not be back next year: as first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates and Adam Schefter, quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch will leave the organization to take over as the new head coach at the University of Arizona.
Fisch originally arrived in New England in January, shortly after the Patriots’ wild card playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans. While he was given no official title upon joining the organization, it later announced that he would serve as the team’s quarterbacks coach and thus be taking over a role that was held by offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels the previous eight seasons.
Under Fisch’s tutelage, the position struggled in Year One after future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. Led by Cam Newton and with backups Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer also seeing the field at times, the group combined to complete 64.7 percent of its pass attempts so far this year for 2,723 yards, 7 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Newton also added 489 yards and 11 scores on 122 rushing attempts.
Of course, those numbers are not necessarily indicative of the job Fisch has done in his first year with the Patriots. The team’s supporting cast, lack of a traditional offseason workouts and preseason games, and Newton’s Covid-19 diagnosis in October all contributed to the issues as well.
Arizona apparently also felt good about what Fisch would bring to the table. The school already invited him for an interview on Monday night; two days later a decision has been made in his favor.
Arizona had fired its previous head coach, Kevin Sumlin, earlier this month after starting the regular season 0-5. A 70-7 loss against Arizona State was the final nail in the coffin, leading to Sumlin’s dismissal with an overall record of 9-20 in three years. In order to fill his old spot, the school set its sights on numerous candidates. Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch was among them, and so was Jedd Fisch. He will now be a head coach for the first time in his career.
As for the Patriots, they will have a void to fill with no clear candidates to do that. While Josh McDaniels might take over again, other potential candidates include offensive assistant Tyler Hughes, current New York Giants quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and former New England offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.