Bill Belichick is not expected to travel to Indianapolis this week to visit the NFL Scouting Combine, the New England Patriots confirmed. The Patriots head coach had been a regular participant in years past, but apparently is taking a different approach in 2023.
With Belichick and a majority of the team’s staff working from the home base in Foxborough, only four coaches are representing the Patriots this year. As previously reported, wide receivers coach Troy Brown, cornerbacks coach Mike Pellegrino, and special teams coaches Cam Achord and Joe Houston are at the Combine.
They are being joined by a fifth member of New England’s staff, even though his role for the upcoming season has not yet been announced. As noted by MassLive’s Mark Daniels, Joe Judge will join the other coaches in Indianapolis.
Judge had served as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach in 2022, but is being replaced by incoming offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. As opposed to Matt Patricia, who led the New England offense jointly alongside Judge last season, the 41-year-old is expected to remain with the organization at least in the immediate future.
Besides Judge and the four position coaches, the Patriots also have members of their scouting department and front office at the Combine. The team’s de facto general manager, on the other hand, is staying away.
Belichick not attending the event is noteworthy based on his history, but not necessarily surprising. He and the rest of his staff got a close look at several draft options already this offseason: the Patriots coached one of the teams at the East-West Shrine Bowl; additionally, defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington served as a defensive coordinator at the Senior Bowl.
While the Combine is about more than just getting to know draft prospects — it is seen as the unofficial start of free agency, for example — the Patriots deciding to change things up does make sense given these circumstances.