By all accounts, Joe Judge’s performance last season as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach was disastrous. A Boston Herald exposé about the Patriots’ dysfunction shed light on his antagonistic relationship with Mac Jones and other assistants. Bill Belichick even reportedly “blasted” Judge at practice.
And yet, it looks like Judge will be back next season.
On NBC Sports Boston Thursday, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer said he’s heard that Judge will be reassigned, rather than dismissed.
“My understanding is Joe Judge is going to be on the 2023 staff in a different role,” said Breer. “He's not going to be coaching the quarterbacks, but he does have a role carved out. He'll be making the trip to Las Vegas [for the East-West Shrine Bowl] tomorrow. I think the other supervisory people are going tomorrow. Bill went [Thursday] and Bill O'Brien and Jerod Mayo I believe will go (Friday) as well.”
On Thursday, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported that Judge will be on the Shrine Bowl in a supervisory role — along with Bill Belichick, Mayo and O’Brien. The Patriots hired O’Brien earlier this week as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The Giants fired Judge as their head coach with three years remaining on his five-year contract, meaning New York is still paying his salary. That’s one reason why Judge could stay on board: cheap labor.
Matt Patricia’s contract with the Lions, meanwhile, has expired. He was left off the Shrine Bowl staff, and his future with the Patriots is unknown.
"I think there's still value for Joe Judge on the staff. He's a good football coach,” said Breer. “I think this was just a sort of different situation he was put in that maybe he should've had some self-awareness and not taken the job, but I think he was doing the best he could. And Matt Patricia's status I think is a little more up in the air. I don't think you'll see him in Vegas over the next few days.”
Breer also says loyalty might be another explanation for Belichick’s decision to stick with Judge — and possibly Patricia as well. Belichick put them in difficult positions last season, and may feel like he shoulders responsibility for how the season turned out.
“I think Bill Belichick feels responsible for a lot of what happened on offense,” said Breer. “And I do think that Belichick had more involvement in play-calling than anybody knows. … I think on Bill's part, there is at least a little bit of an effort to do right by Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who he put in a very difficult position in 2022. We know they aren't going to be in the roles they were in last year, but he's got loyalty to those guys and I do think those guys add some value to the organization.”
Judge spent seven years on the Patriots’ staff before the Giants hired him in 2020. He was a special teams assistant or coordinator in each of those seasons.