The current landscape of The Patriots’ coaching staff is underwhelming at best. The offensive play-caller is a major hole. One of the more surprising moves of the off-season was Josh McDaniels going to Las Vegas. This caused a hole and left New England without a true successor. So who can step up to call plays?
Some have whispered that Bill Belichick could take over and call plays in 2022. However, in my opinion, that is the least likely to happen.
As currently constituted, the candidates who could be play-callers, are Nick Caley, Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and a longer shot but Troy Brown.
If Ivan Fears retires then Caley would be the longest-tenured coach on the offensive side of the ball. He comes from John Carroll University. The same underdog pipeline that produced Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and Nick Caserio. McDaniels is pretty high on Caley saying recently:
“Nick’s a really good coach,” McDaniels told reporters Wednesday in Indianapolis.
“I was fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of those guys there for a long time. They’re a big reason why we had success. But Nick’s players are always well-prepared. He’s a really good teacher. He’s a motivator. You never have to ask him to work harder or longer because he always does everything he can to help the team win. I think Nick has a bright future ahead of him.” NESN
If he does get the play-caller job, we could expect a slight change in offensive philosophy. We saw some of this with the departure of Jakob Johnson. Possibly the fullback role as a hole in this offense. We should still expect a power run scheme with gap blocking. However, I would imagine from a spread formation keeping the box lighter.
In the passing game, I would think it would be similar to option-based routes but in more of a spread look trying to push the ball downfield to stress defenses. This team has to know it can’t be one-dimensional in order to win and I think Caley knows this which is why he should be the play-caller when the season starts.
Matt Patricia, Joe Judge, Troy Brown
After failed stops on other teams, both Matt Patricia and Joe Judge are back with the Patriots with some unlikely roles. Judge is a senior offensive assistant, and you never see Patricia far from Belichick.
Neither coach has a history of being a play-caller on offense before. Quite frankly, I don’t trust either one to influence our young quarterback. If I had to pick between the two of these coaches to be play-caller it would have to be Joe Judge.
Players in New York said he worked hard there, but it just didn’t work out with that city and the media. Jabrill Peppers mentioned he was excited to get back to work with Judge.
If Joe Judge is appointed the play-caller role the philosophy would look similar to what it was last year. A very conservative run-heavy type of play that has gotten stale over the past couple of seasons. He would want to play it safe.
Patricia on the other hand was a big reason the Patriots weren’t in play for Matt Stafford after he stated he would go anywhere but New England because of the association with Patricia. If Bill wants him around to be his second in command that’s fine. Personally, I would like him to stay far away from the play-caller headset.
A longshot play-caller for The Patriots is WR coach Troy Brown. At first, people would say he has no play-calling experience! Well if you read anything above, no one on the team currently has offensive play-calling experience.
He does have incredible in-game experience, from playing multiple positions on both sides of the ball. Plus, Brown is one of the smartest players Belichick has ever coached. Giving this Patriots Hall of Famer a shot to call plays really couldn’t hurt in this mix of potentials.
If I got the choice, the next Patriots play-caller would be Nick Caley. Caley doesn’t have the experience as a play-caller, but neither did McDaniels the first time around. I believe he is the best chance to help our team become more dynamic and less predictable.
The scheme, personnel groupings, and goals of the offensive system all need to be changed if this team is to succeed in the future. As well as the need to have a solid vision created by one coach and enforced by the others.
If I had to rank the choices I would go with, Nick Caley, Troy Brown, Joe Judge, and finally Matt Patricia. If Bill Belichick didn’t have to be the HC, GM, and DC it would make more sense to have him call the plays but that’s just too much responsibility.
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