Much has been made this offseason about Bill Belichick electing not to name coordinators for both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. The buildup to who would be named defensive coordinator, particularly, was as hot a topic then as Logan Mankins is now and Tom Brady is always. The decision to not name a coordinator was like going to the movie theater after the Hollywood hype machine built a movie up, only for you to realize that you were sitting in a J-Lo movie. It was that depressing. But alas, though there are no coordinators by title, the men running the offense and the defense are beginning to emerge.
It was clear to those at OTA’s and mini-camp who was shouting out the plays for each side of the ball. No surprise, Bill O’Brien is still calling the plays for the offense and continuing to grow in that role. The hope is that he does a much better job diversifying the play calling so that fans watching the game at home can’t call the next play. He certainly has more weapons now with the young receivers and tight ends on-board. Josh McDaniels began his coaching career in a similar way, and was eventually named offensive coordinator after getting experience calling the offensive plays. The fact that O’Brien is making the calls on offense is no surprise, but what was unclear was who would be calling the defensive plays.
It appears that linebackers coach Matt Patricia will be handling the defensive play-calling. Patricia was seen barking out the calls for the defense and appears to be being groomed for the role of defensive coordinator. The other in-house candidate discussed this offseason, Pepper Johnson, continued his usual work with the defensive linemen. Pepper had my vote for DC but I’m not upset about Patricia getting the call. He is an extremely qualified coach and should do well. I’ll be keeping an eye on who’s doing the play-calling during training camp to see if Patricia is truly being groomed to be the DC or if he was simply handling the duties during mini-camp. If you’re not familiar with Matt Patricia or Pepper Johnson, take a look at a piece I wrote back in January profiling the two when they were viewed as the top candidates to be named defensive coordinator.