Although we are deep into the Patriots’ upcoming season, discussing the utter disaster that was the 2022 season remains a topic of discussion.
Several new and returning coaches spoke to the media on Tuesday, with last year’s performance as one of the main talking points. Other than the obvious mess caused by Matt Patricia, not a whole lot has been said regarding Joe Judge’s performance impacting the team’s success.
We know that Patricia and Judge both remain employed by the team, but details about their new roles are yet to be shared by the team.
However, we did get a glimpse into what the former Giants head coach will be up to next season when special teams coach Cam Achord spoke to reporters this week.
"“I have to give credit for when I first got into the league. Joe Judge brought me in. I learned under coach and learned so much from him. Obviously, he’s a great coach, so any time you can add more coaches to help you, influence you and work together, it’s only going to make you better. The better coaches you have, the better coach you are. If it’s one of us, two of us, three of us, four of us – Troy (Brown) is working with returners. The more good coaches you have in the kicking game, the better you’re going to be.”"
Achord’s stance with the team came under fire after the Patriots’ special teams had an uncharacteristically terrible year. Not only did the punters struggle, but missed tackles and unforgivable mistakes led to three of the league’s six kickoff touchdowns allowed, two of which occurred against the Bills in the season finale in Buffalo.
Now that Achord shared Judge will be working closely with him next season, it brings optimism that a once highly-touted unit can work its way back to being the best in the NFL.
Ironically, special teams have suffered since Judge left to become New York’s head coach in 2020; now that he’s back, could they be in better hands?
Achord believes so.
"“Now, you have more eyes. It’s not just me watching a play. It’s not just me going over to coach and watching a play or going over to Troy, ‘hey, what did the returners see on the play’ or talking to Joe Houston, ‘what did you see?’ Now you have another set of eyes out there so you’re able to cover more. You’ll see at times at practice last year, I’m coaching 11 guys, Joe’s coaching 11 guys, Troy’s coaching returners.So you’re coaching a lot of guys at a time with two eyeballs so there’s going to be something that you’ve got to go back and watch film for… Now with another set of eyes, you’re able to see a little bit more, which is only going to help us moving forward.”"
Most fans hoped to see Patricia and Judge be removed from any coaching position altogether, preferably off the Patriots entirely, but moving them into roles that suit their strengths to benefit the team is a sensible idea. And hopefully, it’ll all pay off in the end.