The New England Patriots sure have a lot of questions for a team that overachieved last season to the tune of finishing 10-7 and making the playoffs with a rookie quarterback and a middling collection of wide receivers.
Of course, the majority of those questions are centered around the coaching staff, which is dumbfounding on the surface given they have arguably the greatest head coach of all time in Bill Belichick running the show.
While the defensive staff has its own problems in regard to who’ll be calling plays, the pressing concerns lie on the offensive side of the ball after Josh McDaniels was hired as the Raiders’ head coach and took three assistants with him.
There’s growing speculation that Belichick will take over as the de facto offensive coordinator, which is crazy to think about. We’ve also heard rumors that Joe Judge, who was re-hired as an offensive assistant, and Matt Patricia could have a notable influence on the offensive side of things.
It’s not an ideal plan by any stretch, and Pats free-agent signing Jabrill Peppers echoed fans’ concerns by sharing how surprised he was to learn that Judge, his former head coach with the Giants, now has a say on offense.
Patriots free-agent signing Jabrill Peppers is surprised to see Joe Judge as an offensive assistant.
How surprised was Peppers?
"“A little bit,” he told the media on Tuesday. “But back in New York he kind of leaned toward the offense and favored them a little bit more. So it’s not too much of a surprise to me. But it will be interesting to see what he does on the offensive side because usually I know him as the head guy and the special teams guru. So, it will be interesting to see him on that side and talk a little smack to him.”"
As someone who played under Judge for the last two seasons, Peppers likely has a pretty good understanding of Judge’s limitations as an offensive mind. A former special teams coordinator with the Patriots who’s had a decade of experience in the ST department, Judge’s only experience on offense came in 2019 when he split time as the team’s special teams guru and wide receivers coach.
If that provided the impetus for his return as an offensive assistant, well, it’s easy to understand why Peppers was so surprised.
Perhaps Judge is secretly an offensive whisperer and will make everyone eat crow, but Peppers wasn’t out of line to be surprised by Judge’s newfound role.
In many ways, the former first-round pick is speaking for every Patriots fan who continues to question why the team is content on playing out the 2022 season with a collection of unproven assistants presiding over the offense.
When the Patriots run a QB sneak from their own goal line, you’ll know exactly who was responsible.