It’s happening. The Patriots are bringing back Matt Patricia.
I mean, you probably felt this reunion coming deep in your bones, but now you know for sure.
The news broke in a Friday news dump — as is Patriots tradition — that MattPat was coming home, not to serve as the defensive coordinator once more, but to assist in “a variety of roles,” presumably…pertaining to the defense.
Also, former Lions staffer Evan Rothstein, a floater on the Detroit staff, will be coming with him.
Patricia’s tenure in Detroit would’ve left him “unhire-able” in the view of many, but Belichick has obviously always had a soft spot for the denizen of the laminated play sheet.
Throughout his time with the Pats, Patricia received plenty of praise for a “bend, don’t break” defense that eventually wilted over time, spectacularly imploding during a Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles that hilariously preceded his departure for the Lions. As a head coach in Detroit, he went 13-29-1 over the course of three seasons, an immediate downgrade from Jim Caldwell.
Patricia will reportedly evaluate defensive personnel as a major component of his new job in New England, which makes sense; after all, he’s always gotten credit for the elevation of Malcolm Butler, and likely always will.
Just under two months ago, when the idea of Patricia’s return was broached with Belichick after a thunderously boring victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the head coach insisted he wasn’t thinking past that game, telling gathered reporters, “Collectively as a staff, I think our defensive coaches really work well together.”
And yet, given the chance to poach an old friend after a season packed with unfamiliarity, Belichick unsurprisingly opted in. We’ll see how Patricia progresses in a reduced role after a humbling stint in the NFC North.