With training camp right around the corner, the New England Patriots have answered some of the biggest questions this offseason: what will their coaching staff really look like? At least when it comes to official job titles we now know, with the team revealing its staff for the 2022 season on Thursday.
The list does not include any true surprises but it still gives fans and media alike some clarity. So with that said, let’s dig in.
Bill Belichick: Head coach. Belichick’s standing atop the coaching staff was never in question even with his 70th birthday in the rear-view mirror. The only uncertainty that still remains is how big his involvement on either side of the ball will be without any official coordinators announced.
Joe Judge: Offensive assistant/Quarterbacks. Judge previously confirmed that he will be working with the Patriots’ quarterbacks as well as the skill position personnel this season. Needless to say that the former special teams coach will be heavily involved on the offensive side of the ball despite not receiving the offensive coordinator title previously held by new Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.
Vinnie Sunseri: Running backs. Serving as Ivan Fears’ assistant a year ago, Sunseri was the lead candidate to take over the position group in 2022. Fears, after all, has retired from coaching earlier this offseason which in turned cleared the way for Sunseri to receive a promotion.
Troy Brown: Wide receivers/Kickoff returners. With Mick Lombardi joining McDaniels in Las Vegas, the Patriots made the expected move and elevated Troy Brown to the wide receiver position. He already worked with the position group last year, so that transition will be a natural one. Himself a prolific return man during his playing days, he will also continue to coach the team’s kickoff returners.
Ross Douglas: Wide receivers/NFL Coaching Fellowship. Brown taking over main responsibility for the wideouts has led to former defensive assistant Ross Douglas moving to offense as part of an NFL Coaching Fellowship. Despite a lack of experience on this side of the ball, he will now be the 1B at the position alongside Brown.
Nick Caley: Tight ends. Tight end is the only offensive position group not seeing any changes among its coaches as Caley will continue work with Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith and company again this year. He is a potential candidate to be elevated to the offensive coordinator role at one point in the future, but for now has seen no changes to his title.
Matt Patricia: Senior football advisor/Offensive line. The other mystery man on the Patriots’ offensive staff besides Joe Judge, Patricia will be working with the offensive line in 2022. As such he will help replace the departed Carmen Bricillo and work with the position group alongside assistant Billy Yates. Time will tell how much will actually be on his plate, though, especially considering that Patricia still appears to handle other responsibilities as well.
Billy Yates: Assistant offensive line. With Bricillo now with the Raiders, the door was opened for his former assistant to receive a promotion. However, Yates’ title remains unchanged compared to 2021: he is still assistant O-line coach, which means he will be helping Matt Patricia run the unit. That said, his role is a valuable one despite its seemingly lower-level status — as is his experience as a former NFL player.
Tyler Hughes: Offensive assistant. A former high school and low-level college coach, Hughes enters his third season with the Patriots. He has worked as an offensive assistant ever since his arrival.
Evan Rothstein: Offensive assistant. Rothstein arrived last offseason from the Detroit Lions, joining the team alongside Matt Patricia; his title in 2021 was the rather nondescript “Research and Analysis/Coaching.” He will serve in a different role this season, presumably one that is more hands-on.
DeMarcus Covington: Defensive line. As expected there were no changes along the defensive line. The 33-year-old Covington is entering his sixth season in New England and third working with the D-linemen.
Jerod Mayo: Linebackers. Despite receiving some head coaching interest this offseason, Mayo is staying put for 2022. His role apparently changed a bit compared to the last three seasons, however: Mayo will serve as co-linebackers coach alongside Steve Belichick moving forward instead of focusing only on the inside linebackers. He will also be serving as a de facto co-defensive coordinator together with Belichick, despite not getting that title yet.
Steve Belichick: Linebackers. After being listed as outside linebackers coach last year, the head coach’s oldest son will now also work with the entire position group. His job description ends there, but his responsibilities will go beyond it. He will likely again call plays on the defensive side of the ball and together with Mayo serve as the entire unit’s leading coaches. As such, he will be heavily involved in everything from game-planning to practice preparation.
Mike Pellegrino: Cornerbacks. Pellegrino has coached New England’s cornerbacks the last three years and was responsible for a position group that was among the best in the NFL. It may be in a process of change now, but the 28-year-old is still the one leading the charge.
Brian Belichick: Safeties. The youngest Belichick on the team’s staff has been coaching safeties since 2020, and it he will continue to do so this year as well. He has been on the team’s staff going all the way back to the 2016 season.
V’Angelo Bentley: NFL Coaching Fellowship. A former Patriots defensive back, the 28-year-old has since retired from playing and turned to coaching. He recently spent time as a graduate assistant at Penn State and will work with his former team’s defensive staff this season.
Cam Achord: Special teams coordinator. While the Patriots were uncharacteristically sloppy on special teams in 2021, they kept Achord in the fold for 2022. Will the decision pay dividends and New England’s kicking game return to its usual high levels of play? That will be seen and possibly decide Achord’s future with the organization. For now, however, he stays put as the unit’s coordinator.
Joe Houston: Assistant special teams. Houston is entering his third season as Cam Achord’s assistant. Like running backs coach Vinnie Sunseri, he joined the team from the University of Alabama.
Strength and Conditioning
Moses Cabrera: Head strength and conditioning. Cabrera joined the Patriots in 2011 and five years later took over the strength and conditioning department. He has run the show ever since and will continue to do so moving forward.
Deron Mayo: Strength and conditioning assistant. Jerod Mayo’s brother joined the Patriots in 2018 as Cabrera’s assistant. He will continue to serve in this capacity this season as well.
What does stand out about the coaching staff is the lack of coordinators on either side of the ball. While it appears that Joe Judge and Matt Patricia will be heavily involved on offense, neither of them carries the official coordinator title — which leaves open the question about who will be calling the shots.
On defense, the belief is that the Steve Belichick/Jerod Mayo partnership will continue to lead the way. Both on defense and on offense, however, it appears Bill Belichick will be involved quite a bit.