As expected, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge split offensive play-calling duties during the Patriots’ first preseason game. Up to this point, the defenses offered for Belichick’s bizarre coaching staff have mostly bordered on obsequious, with some pundits comically suggesting that it’s an advantage for the Patriots to lack an official coordinator.
Bill Cowher offered a more reasonable explanation in a recent interview with the “33rd Team.” The ex-Steelers head coach says Belichick it make sense for Belichick to choose familiarity at OC. Though Patricia and Judge lack offensive coaching experience, they know the Patriots’ system.
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“Let’s not think this is something he’s working on for the first time. He knew Josh McDaniels was going to leave pretty much after this season,” said Cowher. “So this is something he prepared for. I remember a lot of times when I went outside of my own building in terms of bringing in a new coordinator, you find yourself coaching coaches. I think for Bill, he didn’t want to change anything for the players.”
That’s not entirely true. The Patriots are changing their offense this training camp, which has reportedly resulted in some poor practice performances. But Patricia and Judge know what Belichick wants to implement.
Ultimately, Belichick possesses final say.
“He’s always been involved with the offense, in terms of what they’re doing philosophically,” said Cowher. “What he’s trying to do right now is getting a feel for who he’s more comfortable with calling plays. He’s going to be involved. He’s not making a quick judgment. We sit here and say it’s OK to have quarterback battles. What’s wrong with the concept of having two guys, and seeing who he’s more comfortable with calling plays, which is just as important as the quarterback who’s out there executing the plays?”
Last week, Belichick told reporters the Patriots were “going through a process” at coordinator; but on Monday, Patricia said he wasn’t engaged in a competition with Judge. He called it a collaborative process.
Cowher thinks it’s a valuable process for the Patriots to undergo.
“He’s got the quarterback. He’s got the system. Now who’s the guy I want that going to be able to run that system? I love it. I think it’s thinking outside the box,” he said.