During the New England Patriots’ preseason opener against the New York Giants, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split offensive play-calling duties. Throughout the summer, it has been Patricia who has primarily handled the duties. Bill Belichick has not named (and likely won't) an official offensive coordinator yet, though.
As Brian Hoyer took the field to start Thursday night, Patricia, who’s official title is senior football advisor/offensive line coach, called the plays. He handled those duties for the opening two series with Hoyer under center, before handing them over to Joe Judge, who works under the title of offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, when rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe replaced Hoyer.
“I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do that,” Belichick said postgame. “We did a lot of things in this game that are going to be beneficial in the long run, whether it was on the coaching staff, playing time, playing positions, players that played and so forth. That’s all part of the process.”
As for Brian Hoyer, who was delivering the plays through the headset was the least of his worries.
“I mean, I just listened to my helmet and called the play that’s said to me, so whether it’s Matt or Joe or whoever it might be, I’m not concerned about. I’m worried about what defense they’re running, how we’re going to execute the play,” Hoyer said.
Despite dividing play-calling duties, both Patricia and Judge handled their other responsibilities when the defense was on the field. Judge was often spotted at the hip, sometimes accompanied by Belichick, of Zappe, while Patricia handled his offensive line duties with assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates.
As of Thursday night, having both Patricia and Judge share the responsibilities did not affect the communication throughout the offense.
“I didn’t think the communication was a problem. ... I thought we were on the ball quickly, had plenty of time to operate. We had to audible a few times and were able to do that. There’s plenty of room for improvement. I’m not saying we’re there yet, but getting there.”
While Patricia still seems like the favorite, Thursday night threw an interesting curveball into the equation. And Belichick (surprisingly) did not try to make the picture clearer.
“Don’t worry about that,” he said when asked if he knows who will call plays in the regular season. “We’ll work it out. ... We’re going through a process. Just like everything else on this team.”