Patriots

Here’s what Bill Belichick said about the Patriots’ perplexing offseason

Belichick shed a little light on what the Patriots' offensive coaching staff will look like and why the team didn't pursue free agents more aggressively this offseason.

Bill Belichick Patriots
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick talks to Georgia head coach Kirby Smart during Georgia's football Pro Day on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, in Athens, Ga. AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
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Leave it to Bill Belichick to give you actual nuggets about the Patriots’ plans for 2022 while still managing not to be too forthcoming.

The Patriots’ head coach held court Monday morning at the annual NFL owners’ meetings and took questions on everything from the passing of veteran ESPN NFL reporter John Clayton to the Brian Flores discrimination lawsuit in which he was named — “Can’t comment on it.”

Naturally, though, the intrigue surrounding his team’s mysterious methods for developing Mac Jones in his second NFL season and building on last year’s wild-card playoff appearance took center stage. But, true to form, Belichick wasn’t giving too much away.

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The coach did acknowledge he and assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge will all have roles in the running of the offense this season and coaching Jones specifically. Belichick also said the offensive staff is “complete,” officially seeming to kill any speculation of another offensive mind joining the staff to take over Josh McDaniels’s old role as offensive coordinator.

But when asked who would be calling the Patriots’ offensive plays, Belichick wryly responded, “We don’t have to call any for a while.” He also added he’s “not big on titles” when asked about his decision not to name an offensive or defensive coordinator this year. (New England did not have a true defensive coordinator last season, leaning on linebackers coaches Steve Belichick and Jerod Mayo to share duties. However, McDaniels long served as the team’s official offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.)

As for why the Patriots didn’t match last year’s historic free-agent spending output — or at least add one more notable outside name to the mix at key positions like wide receiver — Belichick’s answer was simple.

“[We] spent a lot of money last year,” he said. “Those guys are all young. They’re under contract.”

New England got solid contributions from a number of newcomers, like Matthew Judon, Kendrick Bourne and Hunter Henry. But Year 2 of the Patriots’ on-the-fly rebuild will put a bigger spotlight on Nelson Agholor and Jonnu Smith to play to the level the team expected last season. Aside from a trade or a high draft pick, it doesn’t look like any major makeovers are forthcoming for the offense or the team as a whole.

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It seems as if the Patriots’ 2022 season will rest on substantial improvement by Jones, the coaching staff’s ability to get the most out of the talent the team already has, and the hope that the talent gap between the Bills and newly revamped Dolphins isn’t as wide as it seems.

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