While Bill Belichick has done his best work to keep those outside Gillette Stadium in the dark about who will be calling the New England Patriots’ offensive plays in 2022, a handful of training camp practices has put Matt Patricia at the forefront.
Patricia, who's official title is senior football advisor/offensive line coach, spoke with reporters before the Patriots' first padded practice on Monday — and he did so with a notable change. The former defensive coordinator and Lions' head coach was more upbeat than he's been in years past, choosing to answer questions about how he can use his defensive past to his advantage and the collaboration of the coaching staff in great detail.
With Josh McDaniels now in Las Vegas, Patricia joins Joe Judge and Bill Belichick in crafting this new “streamlined” offense. He alluded on Monday that he's enjoyed the collaborative effort.
"We all kind of work together," Patricia said. "It's a big divide and conquer at some points we have a lot of work to get done through the course of the night and everybody really understands what we're trying to do."
With a new-look offense being put in place, it's fair to ask if the blurriness among the coaching staff could cause challenges for players. Patricia believes the staff has done a strong job dividing duties and responsibilities.
"There is a share of responsibility that goes on in those situations, which is great," he said. "I think the good thing is that our offensive staff really tries to split a lot of our meetings and everyone gives input in different areas so that it's not just the same person all the time giving all the information. I think everyone has little areas of expertise.
"Part of this as a coach and developing coaches, you want them to grow too. You want them to get in front of the room and present an area — maybe the run game or pass protection or the routes or whatever it may be. We really look at it as shared responsibility right now."
Through it all however, remains the one constant of the Patriots' organization the last 20-plus years: Bill Belichick.
"We have an established culture here where we understand there's input that comes across the board," Patricia said. "Certainly when a hard decision needs to be made, we're lucky enough our head coach here is involved in all aspects of the game and has an expertise above anybody else, really to be honest with you in all of those areas. So when we need a push in either direction we can rely on him to get us through the sticky points."
Returning to New England last season, serving all of 2021 as a senior football advisor, Patricia is very familiar with second-year quarterback Mac Jones. Working more closely with the quarterback in year two, Patricia has been impressed with what he's seen.
"He really sees the game well for a young guy," Patricia said. "I've been around a lot of players and sometimes in that first year you're just trying to hang in there and absorb as much as you can. But I feel like he just blew right past all that and dove into the mentality of what he is. Competitive, sees the game really well and is intuitive."
As for helping Jones succeed, Patricia hopes he can transition some of his past defensive knowledge to help the offense.
"I've obviously spent a lot of time trying to get on the other side of that to give the quarterback a hard time and give confusing looks," he explained. "I think I have a lot of insight I can provide from some of those things that happened. Its very funny because when I switched originally from offense to defense (back in 2006), I had the linebacker room with [Tedy] Bruschi and [Mike] Vrabel and all those guys ... it was the same thing, let me tell what the lines looking at here..."
"Trying to put some of that knowledge on to the conversation so that when you see things on tape you're going 'That makes more sense now,' why we're doing that, or you reads may be here or your adjustment may be here or we may alert a play over here because what I see now a little bit differently."
While the Patriots' may be doing their best to shield any potential offensive play-caller, it sure does sound like Patricia is ready for his new role.