The Patriots are officially in the post-Josh McDaniels era on offense, so big decisions need to be made on the coaching staff for 2022. They’re reportedly close to making one, and with a name New England fans will recognize.
As first reported by Albert Breer of The MMQB on Twitter, the Patriots are “working on a deal to bring back” Joe Judge as an offensive assistant. Judge went 10-23 in two seasons as the head coach of the New York Giants before his recent dismissal, and will now land on his feet in New England, albeit with a lesser and more nebulous role.
Jeff Howe of The Athletic added that “nothing is set in stone yet” but the interest in Judge from the Patriots is real. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network later corroborated the original report, saying that Judge’s return to the Patriots “gives them added leadership on offense and allows them to move some responsibilities around.”
However, Rapoport also said that the Patriots “may not hire” someone with the title of Offensive Coordinator, much like they have lacked an official defensive coordinator since 2019. The last time the Patriots lacked an OC was the 2010 season, when Bill O’Brien ostensibly called the plays but held the title of Quarterbacks Coach.
As of Tuesday, Judge would join a coaching staff that includes offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, wide receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown, tight ends coach Nick Caley, quality control/quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree, receivers coach Mick Lombardi, running backs coach Vinnie Sunseri, and assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates. Longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears is expected to retire.
Judge had previously served as the Patriots’ special teams coordinator from 2015-19, but in 2019 also coached wide receivers. The Pats ranked in the top 10 in opposing yards allowed on both kick and punt returns in Judge’s last season coordinating special teams. In 2021, their ranking dropped to 14th and 15th, respectively, while they were the only team to have three punts blocked.
McDaniels’ presence at the helm of the Patriots’ offense provided stability. So, without an official replacement in 2022, it’s fair to wonder if a committee approach would threaten to disrupt that. But there’s plenty of time for more decisions to be made in the off-season.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A look at the Patriots' options to potentially replace Josh McDaniels
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