One of the more puzzling decisions during the 2022 season came in Foxborough with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick electing to have Matt Patricia serve as his offensive play-caller and Joe Judge work as the quarterbacks coach. Neither one had significant experience working on that side of the ball as Patricia primarily rose through the ranks on defense, while Judge was a special teams coordinator. As you may expect, New England’s offense produced lackluster results throughout the year and the Patriots found themselves on the outside looking in on the postseason.
Belichick does seem to have understood the error in his ways, however, as he’s since hired Bill O’Brien to be the offensive coordinator (and quarterbacks coach) and he’s continuing his reshuffling of the offensive masthead, specifically as it relates to Judge. He will now be in an assistant head coach role with New England in 2023, according to The MMQB.
Judge’s new role will somewhat mirror what Patricia had during the 2021 campaign when he was a senior football advisor following his return after being fired as the Lions head coach. That includes some personnel elements and this report does note that he’ll also be working closely with special teams coordinator Cam Accord and special teams assistant Joe Houston.
That said, Judge won’t have the same exact role as Patricia did a few years ago, which included Patricia’s name being on player contracts. That will fall to director of player personnel Matt Groh. Judge will reportedly lean more toward coaching and serve as a liaison to the scouting department.
Judge got his start in the NFL with the Patriots as a special teams assistant in 2012 and rose to special teams coordinator in 2015 and held that role through the 2019 campaign, where he also picked up duties as wide receivers coach. After that season and helping New England to three Super Bowl titles, he departed the organization to become the head coach of the Giants. Similar to Patricia in Detroit, Judge’s time in New York was not particularly successful as his Giants went 10-23 under his watch before being fired after the 2021 season.
He then made his return to the Patriots last year and it appears he’s now going back to a more familiar role on special teams with a dash of front-office work sprinkled in, which will likely suit him better than working on offense.