Heading into his sophomore campaign, Mac Jones has seen some changes around him. The most prominent of those was the departure of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels, who left the New England Patriots to become the new head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
McDaniels leaving the team alongside several assistant coaches of his created some sizable holes on the offensive side of the ball — holes that have only partially been filled, at least on paper. One pretty big one remains open for the time being, though.
The Patriots will move forward without an official offensive coordinator, and who will call plays for the unit this year remains a mystery. That said, the start of training camp on Wednesday did give us some clues: offensive line coach/senior football advisor Matt Patricia was spotted talking into a walkie talkie during team drills, presumably sending play calls to the quarterback.
Whether or not Patricia will work as a shadow coordinator or not, he is heavily involved in the process. The same goes for head coach Bill Belichick and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge.
As far as Mac Jones is concerned, he seems quite happy with the current setup.
“Obviously, Coach Belichick’s done a great job kind of explaining exactly what we want to do as an offense. And Matty P has seen so many different defenses along with Coach Belichick, so it’s like they combine their knowledge of how to attack the defense. That’s something that really stood out to me,” Jones told reporters following Wednesday’s practice.
“They are great guys — and Coach Judge. They all bring this different energy to the room when they’re presenting. They’re all trying to get us to work together and that’s the most important part: we’re all on the same page regardless of who’s talking, who’s making the decision on a play and whatnot. It’s always an open conversation, which I love.”
Working with Belichick and Patricia in particular has allowed Jones to gain a new perspective on attacking defenses. Both of them, after all, have an extensive background on this side of the field.
Belichick is one of the brightest defensive minds the game has ever seen, while Patricia worked as defensive coordinator under him and helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls. Both of them, just like Joe Judge, also have experience in the head coaching department: Patricia coached the Detroit Lions from 2018 to 2020, with Judge leading the New York Giants in 2020 and 2021.
Accordingly, all of them have a different point of view when it comes to designing the New England offense this year — and to coaching its most important player.
“They all bring a different perspective, but I feel like they’re listening to the players — ‘Hey, we kind of like this concept.’ ‘Alright, let’s try it.’ — or if they want to put in something else they explain the why,” Jones said about them. “That’s the important part for me, understanding why we’re doing something. As a player, my job is to go execute the plays.”
Doing that will be easier if Jones is able to get a holistic view on plays, and understand not just the offense but the defensive side as well. Having Belichick and Patricia serve as mentors in that regard certainly cannot hurt.