The latest report released by the Boston Herald this week discussing the Patriots’ coaches and offense took the internet by storm, but not because it revealed much unknown information. Instead, the biggest takeaway from the piece was the confirmation of what those on the outside believed was going on within the team.
It’s not often, with the Patriots in particular, that fans and media members are ever correct with their assumptions about the team. New England is historically known for keeping any issues in-house, and players remain tight-lipped. But this season was different. The tension was evident all season long, even without candid takes from players when speaking to the press.
Although the report detailed much of what was rumored to be happening behind the scenes, it also highlighted the longstanding strained relationship between Mac Jones and Joe Judge.
Bill Belichick’s decision to re-hire Judge and Matt Patricia was initially criticized. Not only because both had been fired from their head coach positions with previous teams but also because they were put into roles they had no previous experience doing. But as the season progressed and the offense especially could not overcome the issues at hand, most of the blame and critiquing went towards Patricia, not Judge.
Because Patricia was calling the offensive plays, it makes sense that he became the primary target. The offense worked smoothly during the 2021 season under Josh McDaniels, an experienced and well-respected offensive coordinator. Watching the same team fall apart just a season later led to all the finger-pointing at Patricia and his overall inexperience working with an offense.
But why was Judge left unscathed? After all, he was the quarterbacks’ coach, and Jones’ regression was apparent from the season’s first game. So why did he seem to get a free pass from blame?
Apparently, behind closed doors, that wasn’t the case at all.
The tension between Jones and Judge began from a seemingly harmless comment made by the quarterback after the first OTA practice, according to Herald writers Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian. Their relationship allegedly progressed into testy interactions filled with expletives, and it was obvious to those in the building that Jones was no fan of Judge and his coaching.
The report also included a source detailing Belichick’s reaction to Judge, stating he would “blast him in practice” as most people became increasingly frustrated with him.
"“As Patricia came under outside fire as the face of the offense, Judge drew increasing criticism from within. Belichick would blast him in practice, and it wasn’t uncommon for Judge and Jones to trade profanity-laced outbursts. Jones’ trust in his position coach was effectively non-existent.“Mac didn’t like him,” one source said. “At all.”“(Judge) would speak extra loudly in meetings, trying to project like he was the guy,” another source said. “And I think that kind of rubbed people the wrong way.”“A lot of people were frustrated with (Judge),” a third added.”"
With the offseason well underway for the Patriots, the changes made to the staff are already taking place. Fortunately for Jones, he won’t have to worry about working with Judge for much longer, as Bill O’Brien was hired last week as the team’s new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Since those two positions were the roles of Patricia and Judge last season, it’s unclear what their future with the Patriots may look like.
It’s believed Judge is set to remain with the team, as he is currently representing the Patriots in an advisory role at the Shrine Bowl this week. For Patricia, however, his role within the team appears like a dead end.
His contract with the Lions recently ended, meaning New England would have to pay him if they want to keep him to remain on the staff. Beat reporters have suggested that he could be moved back into the Senior football advisor position he was titled with since his return in 2021, but nothing has been announced regarding his stance with the team at this time.