Do the New England Patriots have Josh McDaniels to thank for the current uncertainty spread amongst the coaching staff? From an offensive perspective, you could certainly make that argument, as the longtime offensive coordinator brought several seasoned Pats assistants with him to Las Vegas.
The defense is its own disaster, as Bill Belichick seems uncertain of whether to promote inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo, or his son Steve, the outside linebackers coach, as defensive coordinator, so they’ll split the role.
Getting back to McDaniels, the now-Raiders head coach poached former Patriots receivers coach Mick Lombardi. He’ll now be McDaniels’ OC. Additionally, McDaniels hired former Pats offensive assistant Bo Hardegree as his quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo will take the same position.
It’s tough to say whether those three assistants would’ve taken McDaniels’ position as Patriots OC, but the tally could’ve grown to four if Belichick didn’t intervene.
According to Albert Breer of MMQB, the Patriots prevented tight ends coach Nick Caley from conversing with McDaniels’ Raiders.
The Patriots reportedly blocked tight ends coach Nick Caley from speaking to Josh McDaniels’ the Raiders this offseason.
Here’s what Breer said of Caley’s role.
"Tight ends coach Nick Caley’s role seems to be a little in flux. I’d expect he’ll have more responsibility in ’22. The Patriots blocked Caley from talking to the Raiders, and his role in New England this fall could dictate whether he stays put or goes to Las Vegas in ’23."
Credit to Belichick for being proactive in keeping what’s left of his coaching staff together, but Breer’s verbiage suggests Caley could seek greener pastures next offseason — perhaps with McDaniels in Sin City — if he isn’t given an increased role for 2022.
With Lombardi, Hardegree and Bricillo gone, Caley is now the most experienced offensive mind on Belichick’s staff, as he just wrapped his fifth season as tight ends coach after serving two years as a coaching assistant. Additionally, Caley has coached the Patriots’ fullbacks since 2017, so he’s been around the block.
While Caley has worked with the tight ends at OTAs this week, his official position for next season remains to be seen. With longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears expected to retire, or take a backseat as a coach at the very least, there are plenty of openings for a potential promotion for the 39-year-old Caley.
Like the offensive and defensive coordinator titles, nobody knows what the future holds for Caley. But the fact New England was ahead of the game in preventing him from talking to the Raiders suggests they have big plans for him.