fb-pixel Skip to main content

Matt Patricia and Joe Judge shed a little light on how the Patriots offense will be run

Joe Judge (left), who is listed as offensive assistant/quarterbacks, had some directions for Mac Jones at Monday's practice.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — It’s a question that’s been asked ad nauseum since Josh McDaniels signed on with the Raiders.

“Who’s running the Patriots offense?”

Bill Belichick declined to name an official successor to McDaniels as offensive coordinator, though he did put two guys he has tremendous faith in — Matt Patricia and Joe Judge — in key offensive roles.

And there’s the answer. It’s Belichick, Patricia, and Judge who will collaborate to put together what has been labeled a more streamlined offense for quarterback Mac Jones, who also will have input.

The exact game-day roles — such as who has final say and whose voice will be in Jones’s head (or helmet at least) — might be known only behind closed doors at this point, but the people who need to know likely already know.


A collaborative work environment is hardly a new idea at One Patriot Place, where Belichick has always welcomed his staff’s input. Belichick is a great teacher, but he’s also a keen listener and is adept at adapting.

Patricia, who described the practice preparation as a “divide and conquer” mentality, was asked if there was a danger in having too many voices.

“I think the good thing is that as an offensive staff that’s out there, we really try to split a lot of the meetings and everyone tries to input in different areas so that it’s not just always the same person up there all the time and kind of giving all the information,” Patricia said Monday before the first full-pads practice of training camp.

“So, I think everyone has little areas of expertise. And part of this is as a coach and developing coaches, you want them to grow too. And you want them to get up in front of the room and be able to present an area, that may be the run game or pass protection or the routes or whatever it may be.


“So, we really kind of look at it as just a shared responsibility right now.”

Matt Patricia (left), who is senior football adviser/offensive line, consulted with Bill Belichick during Monday's full-pads practice.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Judge, in his second stint in New England, is working on getting on the same page with all his players.

“You find out things about guys every day; you can’t fast-forward a relationship,” he said. “You’ve got to build on it every day and that comes in building trust and that comes in just learning each other and how to work with each other and what that guy needs to help him be at his best.

“That’s my priority — to help our players go out and execute at their absolute best every day.”

Through five days of camp, Patricia (senior football adviser/offensive line) and Judge (offensive assistant/quarterbacks) are never far from Belichick during team periods, which include seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 drills.

“While you might see me and Matt and Coach doing things together, that’s universal across the staff,” said Judge.

All carry sheets with plays the three of them helped script the night before. So, whether it’s Patricia or Judge, both of whom have head coaching experience at the NFL level, talking into the walkie-talkie to deliver the call to Jones, there’s no scheming going on. It’s more about installation and evaluation. Seeing what works.

“You’ve got to play to your players’ strengths,” said Judge. “You want your guys to go out there and play aggressive. So, when you’re dealing with a number of guys in signal-caller positions, whether it be a quarterback, a center, or whoever it may be, guys with experience, you want to know what they’re comfortable with. You want to know what you have to help push them through.


“You’ve got to play the game the way they see it. You can put in the greatest play in the world on paper [but] if you go out there and they’re not comfortable with it, you have to make an adjustment or move on to something else.”

The main focal point for the trio is Jones’s development. The second-year quarterback drew rave reviews from Belichick for his offseason body of work, and Patricia also has been duly impressed.

“He really sees the game well for a young guy,” said Patricia. “I’ve been around a lot of players, and sometimes in that first year you’re just trying to hang in there and absorb as much as you can. But I feel like he just blew right past all that and dove into the mentality of what he is. [He’s] competitive, sees the game really well, and is intuitive.’’

When it comes to decisions about Jones, the offense, or any other area, Patricia indicated that it’s comforting to have someone whose résumé is unmatched at the head of the table.

“We have an established culture here where we understand there’s input that comes across the board,” said Patricia. “Certainly, when a hard decision needs to be made, we’re lucky our head coach is involved in all aspects of the game and has an expertise above anyone else. So when we need a push in either direction, we can rely on him to get us through the sticky points.”


Judge looks on as Mac Jones delivers downfield during a recent practice in Foxborough.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.