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Bill Belichick leaning toward surprising decision with coaching staff?

Bill Belichick during a game

Nov 18, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick walks on the field before a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots made one significant change to their coaching staff when they hired Bill O’Brien, but the offensive coordinator’s arrival is not necessarily going to lead to any noteworthy firings.

Matt Patricia and Joe Judge saw their reputations take a beating this past season. Patricia, who was a defensive assistant for almost all of his first stint with the Patriots from 2004-2017, rejoined Belichick’s staff last year in an offensive role. He was given control of playcalling, and the results were disastruos.

Judge, a former Patriots special teams coordinator, returned to New England as quarterbacks coach. Like Patricia, he reportedly had serious issues while working with Mac Jones.

Despite all that, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported on Thursday that both Patricia and Judge could remain with the Patriots in 2023. Patricia may stick around in a different role, though he is said to be assessing his future. Judge is expected to return next season in a role other than quarterbacks coach.

That means Belichick is not planning to fire Patricia or Judge. That will come as a surprise to many given the very public issues New England’s coaching staff had this past season. However, Belichick has a history with both assistants and did not exactly put them in positions to succeed.

There was never really a chance that Patricia, a former defensive coordinator, was going to excel as an offensive playcaller. Belichick said back in training camp that what happens with the team is ultimately his responsibility, and firing Patricia and Judge would run counter to that line of thinking.

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