Bill Belichick elected to go with an unorthodox approach in 2022 by giving Matt Patricia the offensive play-caller duties. While New England has refrained from handing out coordinator titles in the past, the person pulling the strings typically had the expertise to whatever side of the ball they were coaching. For Patricia, he primarily made his way up the coaching ranks on defense, so this maneuver was a head-scratcher in the moment and it didn't get any better as the year progressed.
New England has since sorted things out by hiring Bill O'Brien to be the team's offensive coordinator in-title. Meanwhile, Belichick has also moved Joe Judge -- who serves as the quarterbacks coach in 2022 -- to an assistant head coaching role where he'll work more with special teams, an area of the game he is also more familiar with. But what of Patricia? With O'Brien in the fold, his role with the Patriots is a bit unclear and it doesn't seem like even Belichick knows what's next for him.
"Not sure," the head coach said when asked Monday if Patricia will be with the team next season.
The Patriots do not have a defensive coordinator in title, but the job is spearheaded by both inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo and outside linebackers coach Steve Belichick. So, that would seemingly eliminate the possibility of Patricia merely switching back to defense and reclaiming the job he had from 2012 to 2017 before departing for Detroit to take the Lions head coaching job.
Patricia does seem to be leaning toward coaching defense again, however. Earlier this offseason, the 48-year-old interviewed for the then-open Broncos defensive coordinator job under Sean Payton. The job since went to Vance Joseph, but Payton still left the door open for Patricia to join his staff in some capacity at the NFL Combine.
So, given that Patricia may be seeking a higher-profile job that's not available to him in New England, that could be why Belichick is unsure if he'll be with the team next season. If no job is enticing enough for Patricia to accept, it will be curious to see if Belichick keeps him aboard in more of an advisory role similar to what he had in 2021 when he first returned following his departure from the Lions.
Under Patricia last season, New England's offense was last in red zone efficiency and were 27th in the league on third down.