Despite all that transpired in 2022, Joe Judge has managed to land a promotion of sorts.
Judge, who served as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach for the Patriots last season, will be in an assistant head coach role for New England in 2023 that includes "personnel elements" and some special teams coaching responsibilities, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported Thursday.
That's an eye-opening title change for Judge, who reportedly contributed to the dysfunction in the 2022 offense alongside first-time offensive play-caller Matt Patricia. According to the Boston Herald's Karen Guregian and Andrew Callahan, quarterback Mac Jones didn't like Judge "at all," while Judge's propensity to "project like he was the guy" irked many players in the locker room.
And yet, Judge now has a title that some believed could go to inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. When the Patriots announced plans to extend Mayo's contract in January, it seemed possible that they would give him the title of assistant head coach in lieu of naming him defensive coordinator.
Instead, Judge is set become the first staffer in New England with the assistant head coach title since Dante Scarnecchia from 2000 to 2013.
The Patriots could use Judge's help on special teams; he coached the Patriots' special teams for eight seasons before taking the New York Giants' head coach job in 2020, and New England ranked dead last in special teams DVOA last season under Cam Achord. Breer reported Judge will be heavily involved on the special teams front.
Still, it's a bit odd that Judge is getting more responsibilities given how the 2022 season played out with the Patriots missing the playoffs and ranking 26th in the NFL in yards per game. But perhaps this is Belichick's way of doing Judge a solid after putting him in a tough spot last year.