The New England Patriots have massive shoes to fill at offensive coordinator after Josh McDaniels was hired as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and brought three of Bill Belichick’s offensive assistants with him.
It’s unclear whether any of those coaches — Mick Lombardi, the Pats’ wide receivers coach for the last two seasons, offensive assistant Bo Hardegree, and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo — were in contention to succeed McDaniels as OC.
Regardless, their departures backed Belichick into a corner and there’s now widespread belief around the NFL that the coaching legend will assume offensive play-calling duties for the first time in his illustrious career.
As expected, Belichick was asked at the Annual League Meeting on Monday who he envisions calling plays on offense. Based on his hushed response, it doesn’t sound like the Patriots will have an offensive coordinator.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn’t say who would be calling offensive plays next season.
We don’t often endorse chaos, but Patriots fans are fully justified in being bewildered by Belichick’s answer. We like to think Belichick knows who’ll be calling offensive plays, but he doesn’t seem to want to tip his hand to rival coaches and he’s never been one to reveal secrets this early in the offseason. A classic answer, too, claiming nobody would be calling plays for at least four months since we’re in the offseason.
Either way, this is pretty alarming given Mac Jones is heading into his second season after thriving as a rookie under McDaniels.
It’s one thing to not have a defensive coordinator. While Belichick is widely perceived to be the mastermind behind the Pats’ defensive scheme, he’s always had someone calling the shots on that side of the ball.
Brian Flores held that title before he was hired by the Dolphins. In the years since, Steve Belichick has taken over the position with inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo said to have a prominent role with designing in-game adjustments.
The most likely non-Belichick OC candidates are Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who were recently re-hired by Belichick, but neither has an offensive background. Patricia, of course, used to serve as the team’s DC and Judge previously presided over the special teams unit before leaving for the Giants’ head coaching gig.
We don’t doubt that Belichick has a trick up his sleeve, but the lack of clarity concerning the offensive staff is, well, concerning. The draft is a month away and OTAs and mandatory minicamp will be here before we know it.
Belichick noted that New England’s staff is likely complete, so whomever the offensive play-caller will be is seemingly already on board.
It has to be Belichick then, no?