New England Patriots: No offensive or defensive coordinator a shocking risk

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /

The New England Patriots will kick off their training camp this upcoming week. After an encouraging 2021 campaign, and a relatively low-key offseason, it will be interesting to see how the Pats stack up against the competition in 2022.

One of the most interesting storylines that fans will be paying attention to throughout training camp is who will be calling plays on offense and defense. Longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left for the Las Vegas Raiders head coaching gig this offseason, and the defense didn’t have a true playcaller last season, with Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick splitting the responsibilities.

So far, Bill Belichick has kept his cards close to his chest, refusing to name an offensive or defensive coordinator for the 2022 season. Earlier this week, New England announced their complete coaching staff, but have pegged nobody as their offensive or defensive coordinator. It’s a risky strategy that could have big repurcussions as the season unfolds.

Bill Belichick’s decision to not name coordinators for the New England Patriots is a risky move

Belichick has never been too fond of handing out titles on his coaching staff, but he’s taking things to the extreme this season by not naming an offensive or defensive coordinator. There are guys on both sides of the ball that would seem like obvious choices, but Belichick has opted to not hand out the titles yet. Whether he will remains to be seen.

This is important for a couple of reasons. For one, resposibilities on the coaching staff may be confusing to the coaches, which isn’t ideal. Having a coordinator in place allows for a chain of command of sorts, and that helps keep order among the coaching staff and key decision makers.

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To piggy back off that, if the coaches don’t know who is in charge, how will the players know who to listen to? With a coordinator and position coaches on each side of the ball, players know who to go to for different assignments they may have. If they don’t know who is in charge, the results might be quite scattered on the field.

The confusing part is that Belichick has coaches on both sides of the ball that would be fine fits for either role. Both Mayo and the younger Belichick would make great defensive coordinators, but they appear set to occupy similar roles to last season. Matt Patricia and Joe Judge have assumed roles leading the offense, but Belichick prefers for neither to assume offensive coordinator duties.

Whether this sticks remains to be seen. Belichick may be waiting to see how things play out throughout training camp and preseason before picking his coordinators. But we saw last season on defense, he doesn’t really care what the norm is in the NFL; if he doesn’t want to have coordinators on his coaching staff, he isn’t going to.

The discussion is notable because many are wondering who will be working to help second-year quarterback Mac Jones in his development. Losing McDaniels hurts considering he had a good working relationship with Jones last season, and it’s extremely important that he knows what’s going on with the offense as he continues to grow this season.

The guess here is that Belichick will be much more involved with the offense this season, while Mayo and the younger Belichick split responsibilities on defense. Belichick would have Patricia and Judge behind him to keep things in role with other position groups on offense while he works more with Jones to make sure he continues to improve.

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Ultimately, though, with Belichick, anyone’s guess is as good the others. Chances are we won’t know what Belichick’s plans are until Week 1 of the New England Patriots’ season. And you can bet that’s just how Belichick likes it.