How will the New England Patriots replace Josh McDaniels and his 13 years of experience running one of the NFL's most efficient offenses?
The plan isn't exactly clear.
Failed New York Giants head coach Joe Judge reportedly is expected to work with the quarterbacks. Failed Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia is expected to work with the offensive line. Tight ends coach Nick Caley could take on a larger role as well. But the Patriots still don't have a defined play-caller or quarterbacks coach (Judge's title is "offensive assistant") with NFL free agency just two weeks away.
Our Patriots Insider Phil Perry recently landed in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine, and on a new Patriots Talk Podcast with Tom E. Curran, Perry passed along some intel on how New England's competitors view its current coaching setup.
"I can just tell you, Tom, from talking to some people here and some folks around the league: People are flabbergasted at how this Patriots staff has come together," Perry said. "It's focused on that offensive side specifically: What they're going to do in terms of coaching the quarterback and calling the plays?"
Perry added that some are still giving Bill Belichick the benefit of the doubt, and that there's a sense of, "Well, it's Bill, and he'll figure it out." But the fact that neither Judge nor Patricia have directly coached the position groups they reportedly could lead in 2022 is causing a bit of a stir in Indy.
"My understanding is the coaches themselves will be talking a little bit more about roles for 2022 this week," Perry said. "So, if that's how it shakes out, there are a lot of eyebrows raised here in Indianapolis. I'll say that."
Patriots quarterback Mac Jones looks like a franchise player after a strong rookie season, so you'd think Belichick would want to surround him with an experienced coaching staff that can maximize his talents.
But New England reportedly hasn't made serious pushes to land Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien or former New York Jets head coach Adam Gase, and Perry notes the team hasn't reached out to ex-Patriots wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea, who at least has offensive coordinator experience with the Miami Dolphins in 2019.
There's still time for the Patriots to add to their staff, and if they don't, Belichick's teams have found success in the past without traditional coordinators in place. But from the outside, it sounds like there's some healthy skepticism about what's going on in Foxboro.
To hear more from Perry and Curran about the state of the coaching staff, the state of J.C. Jackson's negotiations with the Patriots and more, subscribe to the Patriots Talk Podcast or watch the latest episode on YouTube below.