Curran: Belichick is the Patriots’ de facto offensive coordinator right now


We’ve spent the last several months bellyaching over the possibility of Joe Judge and Matt Patricia taking over the Patriots’ offense. But that person might actually be Bill Belichick.

On “Gresh & Keefe” Tuesday, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran shared his observations from the one day media members were permitted to observe OTAs (the scribes will return to Gillette Stadium next week). He says Judge was running the 7-on-7 passing drills, while Patricia called plays during the 7-on-7 running drills. That indicates Judge could be the team’s passing coordinator, whereas Patricia will handle the run game.

But when they went to a full 11-on-11 scrimmage, Curran says it was Belichick’s show.

“I think it will be a work in progress,” Curran said. “Bill’s break glass in case of emergency seems to be, ‘If I have to, I’ll do it,’ and I take that from him saying, ‘I’ve called plays, I’ve not called plays.’”

Belichick has been stubbornly evasive about the configuration of his coaching staff, grunting his way through questions about who will hold the play sheet every Sunday. Though Belichick is correct to point out the Patriots won’t even play preseason games for a while, it’s apparent the Patriots are taking the situation seriously, Curran says.

“He has a tendency to snicker [at us], while behind the scenes they’re working feverishly on the exact same thing we’re asking about,” he said. “So I understand his stance in, ‘Hey, we don’t have any plays to call right now,’ but meanwhile, Joe Judge on a conference call last week was detailing how much time he’s spending practicing calling plays, if that indeed falls to him.”

As WEEI’s Khari Thompson points out, teams that have switched offensive coordinators since 2017 have generally performed a little better on offense the following season. But of course, that depends on who’s actually calling the plays.

For now, it looks like that will be Belichick. At 70 years old, he’s seemingly adding more responsibility to his plate.

But it might be a better alternative than Judge or Patricia.

“It’s going to be all hands on deck, but I think until further notice, Bill Belichick is the de facto offensive coordinator and successor to Josh McDaniels,” Curran said.