Bill Belichick and the Patriots have largely done a masterful job of throwing wrinkles into the (frankly tiring) debate about who will call offensive plays this season.
Though Patricia has called almost all the plays in training camp and joint practices, Joe Judge got some play-calling reps during last Thursday's preseason game when Bailey Zappe took the field with the backups. Then, some claimed they saw Belichick himself taking the reins during two-minute drills at practice with the Panthers on Wednesday.
There appeared to be no such ambiguity about roles on Friday night, though. Patricia could be clearly seen with the play sheet, radioing plays into Mac Jones and the quarterbacks from the first offensive snap to the last.
Even Belichick admitted after the game Patricia was the main communicator with the quarterbacks, though he toyed around with the fixation on "play-calling" itself.
Whatever you think about the situation, however, Mac Jones wants to make it clear he thinks Patricia, who largely made his name as a defensive coach, is doing a "great job" on the offensive side of things.
But the young quarterback didn't stop there.
"He's one of the most brilliant people I've ever been around in terms of football knowledge," Jones said. "Between all the coaches we have, they've done a great job preparing us. He's really starting to get a feel for it. That's the thing, he's just growing each week and making sure that we can stack good days together. He's very easy to talk to on the sideline, very easy, laid-back kind of type coach but he demands a lot, and I respect that about him. Hopefully we can grow for a long time."
Patricia, of course, failed as a head coach in Detroit, managing just a 13–29–1 record in almost three seasons. That said, flopping as a head coach doesn't mean one is a bad or incompetent coach, period. (Just ask Belichick, whose first head coaching go-round in Cleveland ended badly.)
Whether or not asking Patricia to help craft a new offensive scheme seemingly based on his proximity to his old offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who ran elements of the wide-zone offense in Seattle and when the two worked together in Detroit, is a bridge too far remains to be seen. The offense certainly still needs work, and Jones' frustrations have at times manifested in uncomfortable-looking play on the field.
But if Jones' latest comments are to be believed, he has faith in Patricia's coaching (so far).