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#pounditSaturday, December 3, 2022

Ex-Bill Belichick advisor weighs in on Patriots’ playcalling mystery

Bill Belichick on the sideline

Oct 10, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick reacts during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots have not named a formal replacement for Josh McDaniels, and that is likely the way it will stay through the 2022 season. Still, someone has to call plays, and everyone wants to know who that will be. Michael Lombardi is not buying the latest report.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported this week that Matt Patricia is the favorite to be the de-facto offensive coordinator in New England this year. Head coach Bill Belichick said earlier this offseason that Patricia will be working with the offensive line. Former Patriots assistant Michael Lombardi said on “The GM Shuffle” podcast this week that he does not think Patricia can do that and call plays.

“I don’t see how an offensive line coach can call plays,” Lombardi said It’s hard enough to get those five guys to play good, to make sure they handle the protections, to make sure everything is copacetic in the run game, to make sure everybody’s doing their job. You’re focused on them. … Who’s sitting with Mac Jones? That’s the guy who has to call the plays. On Monday through Saturday, that personal relationship between the quarterback and playcaller manifests itself on Sunday.”

You can hear more of Lombardi’s rationale below:

Lombardi served as an assistant to the coaching staff under Belichick in 2014 and 2015. He is quite familiar with how the legendary coach operates. The former longtime NFL executive questioned the source of Howe’s reporting.

“How can Matt Patricia coach the line and those 8-10 guys he’s gotta coach and then have to develop a relationship with the quarterback?” Lombardi asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I think it’s just somebody throwing stuff out there.”

Patricia was an offensive assistant for a brief time in his first stint with the Patriots. He really made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator, however, which is why it would be bizarre if Belichick named him the team’s playcaller. The other top candidate for the job is not one who excites Patriots fans all that much, either.

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