It can be debated how much the Patriots are losing by getting two OTA sessions taken away from them. Nonetheless, the situation has exposed an embarrassing series of missteps by an organization that took pride in not making such gaffes.
According to ESPN, players were at the facility longer than they were allowed under offseason rules three times. Boston Sports Journal reported that Joe Judge scheduling 20-minute meetings with offensive and defensive players caused the infraction.
The Patriots got a pair of OTA practices taken away from them for violating league rules, and Bill Belichick was fined $50,000.
NBC Sports Boston Pats insider Tom E. Curran told Jones and Mego that a league official actually caught the Patriots at one point.
"From everything I understand so far, there was an NFL official in the building and they kind of were caught red-handed having these meetings,” Curran said. “I don’t think they got caught red-handed three days in a row, but I do know with the practices themselves, they’re supposed to videotape and share everything.
“So the Patriots were compliant with everything, so my guess is they got caught red-handed once, but he did this two other times. I don’t even know if there were tapes to turn over because they were only meetings, they weren’t even on the field.”
Judge being at the center of this is a terrible look for the Patriots. He was inexplicably given quarterback coaching duties last season, which failed, but reportedly is serving as assistant head coach this season.
Curran indicated that this might not have been an isolated incident for Judge.
“To me, it comes back to the decision was made by the coaches,” Curran said. “The decision made by Joe Judge, you can’t do something that’s outside the lines. And if you think it might be, you ask.
“And he did the same thing in New York, allegedly. That was part of the reason, my understanding from what I’ve heard talking to folks, Judge was involved in some penalties with the Giants, as well. Not loss of OTAs, but this was not the first time he had been in a situation like this with the league.”
This season was supposed to mark the turning of the page from some of the self-inflicted issues that have felled the post-Brady Patriots. Clearly, that hasn't happened yet, so they'll have to try again when minicamp rolls around.