Michael Lombardi says Bill Belichick is 'the only guy' who can run Patriots' offense

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One former Patriots executive believes Bill Belichick will have a significant role in running New England's offense in 2022. In fact, the longtime coach may have no choice but to take command.

In an interview with the Pat McAfee Show, Michael Lombardi discussed the Patriots' recent struggles to master a new offensive scheme and why the team was going in a new direction.

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"I think Bill's intention was always to get back to where he could get the younger players to play quicker," Lombardi said of the Patriots' offensive shift, noting the loss of Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels' ability to teach the team's complex offensive system.

As the offense tries to flesh out its new identity, Lombardi said, it will need its six-time Super Bowl-winning coach to captain the ship in a way he might not have had to do for a while.

"I think this is much bigger than who's calling the plays, I think this is about who's the voice of the offense, and I think Mac probably needs Bill's voice more than anybody," Lombardi said. "This is not a disparaging word to Patricia or Judge. I just think the only guy that really will have the ability to run the offense effectively for the year will be Bill…he understands the game completely."

Lombardi's assertion is hard to rule out completely as Belichick has all but admitted he and the rest of the coaching staff will have input on calling offensive plays.

But it's important to continue noting that Matt Patricia has consistently been the person communicating those plays to the quarterback throughout minicamp, training camp, and the majority of preseason games -- sometimes with Belichick standing right alongside.

The voice going into Mac Jones' helmet, more likely than not, will continue to be Patricia's as it would be quite a departure -- arguably a detrimental one -- to change those responsibilities going into the season after having him develop that continuity with the quarterback. (After all, if Belichick wanted to take on all the play-calling duties himself, he would've done so and saved everyone the trouble.)

But though Patricia might be the man speaking to Jones through the headset, it will likely be Belichick's will coming through his right-hand man's voice into his quarterback's ears.

Whatever the case ends up being, though, Lombardi expects the Patriots to get the ship righted given time: "I think Bill's at his best when everyone doubts him."