Morning Sports Update

NFL insider explained the ‘business’ reason for Patriots not naming an offensive coordinator

"There’s a pay scale for coordinators. There’s one for position coaches. There isn’t one as much for guys with vague titles."

Matt Patricia Patriots
Mac Jones and Matt Patricia during the first day of Patriots training camp. John Tlumacki/Globe Staff

The Red Sox lost to the Guardians 7-6 on Wednesday, dropping Boston below .500 at 49-50. With the Aug. 2 trade deadline approaching, decisions loom for Red Sox management.

The Patriots officially opened the team’s 2022 training camp with the first practice on Wednesday. The team resumes on Thursday, and will hold additional practices — open to the public — on Friday and Saturday to conclude the first week.

The business of Patriots’ job titles: Following the departure of former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to become head coach of the Raiders, and Bill Belichick’s decision to replace him with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge (neither of whom have experience calling plays on offense), questions have continued to mount about the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff.


Both Matt Patricia and Joe Judge were tasked with offensive responsibilities, though neither was given a specific role until recently.

And even in the team’s updated list of coaching titles, the positions that Patricia (“Senior Football Adviser/Offensive Line”) and Judge (“Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks”) were given remained vaguely defined.

Observers at the first training camp practice noted that Patricia had a walkie-talkie and appeared to be calling plays.

Still, Bill Belichick may have particular reasons for not officially naming a new offensive coordinator.

As Sports Illustrated senior NFL football Albert Breer recently explained, Belichick is likely looking at two factors.

The first is that the Patriots under Belichick have a history of making coordinators “go through a sort of apprenticeship in which they have to do the job first to earn the title” (citing examples like McDaniels, Bill O’Brien, Brian Flores, and Patricia himself when he coached on the defensive side during his first stint with New England).

“Then, there’s the business side of it,” Breer continued.

Keeping both Judge and Patricia’s job titles non-specific conveniently aligns with NFL rules about how teams pay former head coaches who were fired. Both Judge (Giants) and Patricia (Lions) were fired as head coaches within the last two years.


The rules, Breer explained, “dictate that these guys have to be paid at a rate commensurate with the established pay scale for their role.”

“There’s a pay scale for coordinators. There’s one for position coaches. There isn’t one as much for guys with vague titles,” Breer added. “So, in a roundabout way, this all allows the Patriots to keep Judge and Patricia on the meter with other teams.”

NBC Sports Boston Patriots reporter Tom E. Curran has also pointed to the “business” explanation of why New England hasn’t officially given Patricia the coordinator role.

“Patricia is going to call the plays and be acting [offensive coordinator],” Curran tweeted on Tuesday. “But not naming him allows Pats to let Detroit keep paying him through end of his Lions contract (2022) and means Patricia doesn’t have to do weekly coordinator calls.”

Patricia’s contract with the Lions runs through the end of this season, while Judge has three seasons remaining on what was a fully guaranteed deal with the Giants.

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On this day: In 1979, the Red Sox turned the team’s third triple play of the season (tying an MLB record) in a 1-0 win over the Rangers. Dennis Eckersley out-dueled Ferguson Jenkins — each threw a complete game — with Jim Dwyer doubling in Butch Hobson for the game’s lone run.

Boston Globe Sports 1979

Daily highlight: Maalique Foster of Sacramento Republic FC hit an audacious Panenka-style penalty kick during a tiebreaker shootout with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. Sacramento pulled off the US Open Cup upset, eventually winning the shootout 5-4.


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