The New England Patriots' offensive operation will be more streamlined in 2023, to say the least.
The Patriots recently hired Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach after head coach Bill Belichick let senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia call offensive plays for the first time in 2022.
But according to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Patricia didn't have total play-calling autonomy -- with Belichick himself occasionally stepping in to send in plays.
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"My understanding is Belichick was active on the headsets on game day," Breer wrote Sunday, "having the sort of oversight over the offense that he’d traditionally had over the defense, and moonlighting as play-caller at points (which is why, at times, calls were late going in, and the offense could look messy from an operational standpoint)."
That New England's head coach felt the need to intervene in the play-calling process further highlights the team's offensive dysfunction in 2022. By many accounts, Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge were overwhelmed in their new roles, with the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian recently detailing their relative incompetence.
New England Patriots
"A lot of guys would ask, ‘Well, what’s going to happen if (the defense) does this?’ And you would see they hadn’t really accounted for that yet," one source told Callahan and Guregian.
If Patricia and Judge were floundering that much, it makes sense why Belichick occasionally took matters into his own hands. Having two play-callers on the headset isn't exactly a streamlined process for quarterback Mac Jones, though. As our Phil Perry wrote Friday, the second-year quarterback often worked frantically to make adjustments before the snap in 2022, contributing to the overall confusion on that side of the ball.
At the very least, it appears Belichick has realized his mistake in not replacing Josh McDaniels with a legitimate offensive coordinator in 2022. With the veteran O'Brien in place, Belichick should be able to take a much more "hands off" approach with the offense while focusing his attention on the team's many other issues.