Patriots: Bill Belichick makes another bad decision ahead of the 2023 season

Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots
Miami Dolphins v New England Patriots / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

After the absolute disaster that was the Patriots' 2022 season, it was assumed drastic measures would be taken to improve the coaching staff and the roster, especially after Robert Kraft made his disappointments known.

Although Bill Belichick didn't do a lot in free agency, he did try to bring in talented and respected coaches to replace the unqualified ones he put in those positions last season, also known as Matt Patricia and Joe Judge.

The returns of Bill O'Brien and Adrian Klemm received a lot of positive feedback, with most believing the right guys were hired for the job at hand as the Patriots intend to become a competitive football team again.

It was a sign that the team was moving in the right direction and finally (somewhat) acknowledging the mistakes made last year.

It all continued to progress that way, with Patricia taking a job with the Eagles and Judge seemingly being left off the coaching staff list.

Things got a bit confusing in the spring, though, when it was announced Judge would be part of the Patriots coaching staff set to work the East-West Shrine Bowl. Although he technically wasn't going as a coach, he was given an advisory role which hinted he would likely remain with the team for the 2023 season.

Considering how poorly he performed as quarterbacks coach in his return season to the Patriots, the decision to take him on the trip didn't sit well with most fans, particularly when deciphering what his inclusion may have meant for his future in New England.

Fast forward to March, and things became even more puzzling when Albert Breer reported Judge would be taking on the role of assistant head coach after being relieved of his previous title.

Why would Belichick essentially promote a guy who very much contributed to all the struggles during last season? And why would Judge be given that title over Jerod Mayo?

That's where things become a little problematic.

At the end of last year, the Patriots uncharacteristically released a memo to the team's website detailing their intention to extend Mayo to "keep him with the team long-term." Because he had been set to interview for the head coach vacancy with the Panthers, it was believed this was New England's way of revealing a promotion was in place or even the early plans to make him Belichick's eventual successor.

As a former linebacker for the Patriots who retired and became the inside linebackers coach, it made sense for Mayo to have a more prominent role on the team. Like Judge, he was also part of the Shrine Bowl coaching staff and heavily involved in the pre-draft process earlier this year.

Rumors began to swirl about his title for the 2023 season, whether he became the defensive coordinator or took on an assistant head coach role. It seemed like he was being groomed to be the team's next head coach.

So why would Belichick seemingly give the stamp of approval and set the plans in motion just to put Judge in that role instead?

The only reason to explain this is that the Giants will still provide Judge's paycheck through the 2024 season. That gets the Patriots off the hook for two more years if they choose to keep him, and we know how much Belichick loves other teams to be the ones paying for his staff.

But could that be it? Because there doesn't seem to be any other logical explanation.

It would have made a lot more sense to put Judge back on special teams where he is knowledgeable and experienced and helped put together a successful unit for the team in the past—but making him the right-hand man of Belichick? Almost incomprehensible.

Hopefully, it won't be another massive mistake that we will talk about at the end of the year, and it's more about using Judge's (failed) experience as a head coach to take some of the load off Belichick's plate.

Otherwise, what is the point?

Why not allow Mayo to be mentored by Belichick, especially if he looks like the heir apparent?