Heading into the 2022 NFL season, the New England Patriots still don’t have defined coaching roles … at least externally.
Following offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels’ departure, head coach Bill Belichick has had to make a number of alterations to his staff, and it started with bringing back former special teams coach Joe Judge as well as elevating assistant Matt Patricia. Both of those guys will be helping out on offense.
As for the defense, fans know Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo will be involved, but again, the roles are not clear or defined, at least publicly. Maybe there’s more clarity behind closed doors, but the Patriots aren’t revealing any specifics.
Why? It’s the classic Patriot Way. However … it seems that whole mantra was more acceptable and understandable when this team was atop the NFL, bulldozing premier competition and constantly capturing conference championships and Super Bowl titles.
Now, it just really feels like hardo behavior, because it’s not like hiding coaching roles is going to give the Patriots the sort of advantage they need to stay afloat in a loaded AFC.
Why are the Patriots not revealing coaching roles to the media?
On top if that, there’s still no clarity with running backs coach Ivan Fears, who was said to be announcing his retirement after the 2021 season. Is he thinking about staying?
Nonetheless, it’s quite possible Belichick is going to see how his assistants fall in line between now and Week 1 before announcing more definitive roles, but do we really think any of these guys are going to impress to the degree where they’ll have some sort of a monumental promotion or personnel switch that alters the complexion of the staff?
It’s even more puzzling on the defensive side since both Steve Belichick and Mayo have been on New England’s staff — and handling the heavy lifting — since 2019.
Yet the fans are getting these bizarre responses just weeks after the NFL Draft when you’d imagine decisions of this magnitude should probably be closer to finalization.
Again … this isn’t your same New England Patriots. This team hasn’t won a playoff game since 2018 and are playing second fiddle to the Buffalo Bills (and possibly third fiddle if the Miami Dolphins take the expected leap) in the AFC East.
Playing games with the media is annoying in general, but at times many can admit that it’s earned depending upon a team’s success. This behavior just really feels like Belichick and the Pats are living in the past.