Report: The Patriots Play-Calling Job is 'Trending' Toward Matt Patricia

Maddie Meyer. Getty Images.

It would appear that we may have a clue that could solve the greatest mystery in the history of NFL coaching, and that is who Bill Belichick's de facto offensive coordinator will be. 

I'd assumed that this drama would play out all offseason. And that until we get to the first preseason games, Belichick would leave it a unanswered riddle. So that everyone would waste their time and energy chasing their tails to crack this caper:

And to find the truth would require you to walk through an ancient temple, decoding an increasingly dangerous series of riddles that required you to kneel under buzzsaws, step on the stones that spell "J-A-H-O-V-A-H" in Hebrew, and walk across a camouflaged bridge. Only then would you find the eternal life that comes from knowing whether Matt Patricia or Joe Judge was being tasked with the awesome responsibility of replacing the irreplaceable Josh McDaniels. 

So far all we've had to go on is the two practices that have been open to the media, where it seemed to everyone like Patricia was calling the running plays, and Judge handled the passing downs. Which, just as a practical matter, would tend to tip off opposing coaches as to what's coming unless Patricia and Judge:

A) Hid behind screens, like those ones ladies in old Westerns changed behind

B) Learned ventriloquism 

C) Disguised themselves as one another, The Parent Trap-style. 

But it would appear we are already hearing from anonymous sources telling us who's getting Belichick's Final Rose:

Source (paywall) - Belichick has not yet decided who will call the plays during the season, but it’s trending in Patricia’s direction, according to a source. Patricia and Judge are each preparing for the possibility of calling plays, but Patricia’s workload this spring has suggested he’s the early favorite to handle that responsibility.

If true, this is really going to anger anyone who was a big fan of the job Joe Judge did with the Giants. But since no such person exists, we can instead call it a victory for the ones who loved Patricia's work in Detroit. But again, that description applies to no one. The Lions fired Jim Caldwell after the 2017 season in which they went 9-7 and finished 7th in the league in scoring and 13th in total yards. Under Patricia those numbers went to:

--2018: 6-10, 25th in points, 26th in yards

--2019: 3-12-1, 18th in points, 17th in yards

--2020: 5-11 (4-7 under Patricia before he was fired), 20th in points, 20th in yards

And in 2021, Patricia's quarterback in Detroit got traded to the Rams and won the Super Bowl. So there's that.

Regardless of how this plays out, it may very well be the boldest move in Belichick's career filled with them. You can draw a through line from the time he told his Giants that if Thurman Thomas rushed for 100 yards against them they'd beat the Bills in the Super Bowl, to benching Bernie Kosar for Vinny Testaverde, to keeping Drew Bledsoe on the bench in favor of Tom Brady, to not calling time out when the Seahawks were on the 1-yard line, his castle of success has been built upon a foundation of going against conventional wisdom. In this case, it would be handing an offensive system that has been the one true constant in Belichick's reign over to a man who has never run it, only practiced against it. Who has only been in the quarterback's room for 2 1/2 seasons, all of them failures by any objective measure. And now could be put in charge of the young quarterback whose shoulders carry the weight of the entire franchise. 


Even though Patricia is an actual rocket scientist with a degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic, no other head coach in any sport would dare attempt a move this audaciously ballsy. If it works, if the Pats are a Top 10 or even Top 15 offense under Patricia, the people screaming about what a blood-soaked disaster this is going to be will lose all their Belichick Criticism privileges for eternity. All the rest of us can do is trust Bill and pray to him that he's right.