New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick says splitting playcalls for Matt Patricia, Joe Judge isn’t rooted in competition

New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick says splitting playcalls for Matt Patricia, Joe Judge isn’t rooted in competition

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — After assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split offensive playcalling duties in the team’s opener last week, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Monday the decision was not based on a competition between them.

“It has nothing to do with it,” he said.

After the Patriots’ 23-21 loss to the New York Giants on Thursday, Belichick described the situation as part of the team “going through a process.”

When asked to elaborate on the trial on Monday, Belichick got a little sarcastic, saying: “We don’t have time for that. I appreciate the question, I really do. I know how interested you are in this topic and I would love to shed some more light on this. But honestly, it’s a much longer conversation.”

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Belichick has not named an official offensive coordinator to replace Josh McDaniels, who now serves as the Las Vegas Raiders head coach. Patricia and Judge led the offense in practice; Patricia’s official title is Senior Football Advisor/Offensive Line while Judge is Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks.

In the preseason opener, Patricia called plays for the first two series when veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer was in the game. Then Judge took over when rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe stepped in.

While the Patriots lost a timeout late in the first quarter, veteran offensive tackle Trent Brown shared his view that things were looking “pretty smooth” when Patricia Plays called.

On Monday, Patricia described the overall situation as “collaborative,” noting, “We’re following Coach Belichick’s lead. We’re trying 100 percent to make sure that as coaches we’re doing everything we can to allow our players to do whatever they can on the field. That is important, not the rest.”

Richter added: “The assistant coach’s job is to make the head coach happy. He has a vision for his team. It’s our job to listen and go out and act as he sees it. As far as defined roles or whatever, maybe I’ll come to work with a simple guideline: Whatever he says, go. My job is to do whatever he says as best I can so players can play better.

The unique coaching arrangement has sparked curiosity in some NFL circles, in part because Patricia’s primary coaching background was on defense while Judge was on special teams. But Belichick has pointed out that both Patricia and Judge were involved in offense in their previous jobs as head coaches for the Detroit Lions and Giants, respectively.

The Patriots have promising sophomore quarterback Mac Jones, and the coaching changes have been accompanied by significant changes in the team’s offense that several players acknowledge came with “growing pains.”

“It’s been a lot of changes for all of us,” longtime center and captain David Andrews said Monday. “I think a lot of people are really trying to figure it out and accept what we’re trying to do.”