Though there's still hope the Patriots' offense will be fine in 2022 despite losing offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the unit's ability to stay above water likely rests on two main pillars: Mac Jones ascending in his sophomore season and the Patriots having the right man running the show from the sidelines.
Even if you're confident in Part 1 of that scenario, Part 2 appears to be very much in doubt to many observers, including some around the organization.
A source close to the situation told WEEI there's a strong likelihood that either Joe Judge or Matt Patricia will call offensive plays -- and that the outcome probably won't be pretty.
"'Coordinator by committee' is a recipe for disaster," the source said.
These comments follow ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky calling the Patriots' offensive coaching situation "the most concerning thing to me in the NFL" on Monday as New England went through its first OTA practice of the spring.
Judge took on the primary role of coaching Jones and the quarterbacks during that session while also calling plays during 7-on-7s and in later team segments. However, both Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick also appeared to call plays at points during team drills, with Patricia generally asserting himself on run plays. The arrangement could foreshadow Judge and Patricia serving as passing and run-game coordinators, respectively, while Belichick oversees the operation and potentially calls plays himself.
But no one outside of Belichick and the coaching staff truly knows how the responsibilities are being divided up, with Belichick suggesting the team is "months away" from firmly deciding who calls plays for the offense.
"Disaster" feels like an appropriate word for how bad this could look if the Patriots bungle the transition from McDaniels with Jones entering a pivotal point in his young career on a rookie contract.