A day after the New England Patriots’ disappointing 8-9 season ended, head coach Bill Belichick didn’t say if the team would make any changes to their offensive coaching staff but noted that everything will be under evaluation in the coming weeks.
“We’ll evaluate everything that we’ve done, from me on down to everybody else and evaluate things and make improvements where we feel like we can,” Belichick said in a Zoom press conference on Monday. “There were a lot of positive things over the course of the year in all areas that we can build on. But in the end, it wasn’t what we wanted to be or needed to be. We’ll look at everything.”
After longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders over the offseason, the Patriots went in an unconventional route to replace him. While they didn’t name an offensive coordinator, Matt Patricia, a longtime defensive coach, became their offensive play-caller in addition to coaching the offensive line while longtime special teams coach Joe Judge was named the quarterbacks coach.
The Patriots’ offense suffered as a result. They ranked 26th in total offense, 27th in third-down conversions, and dead last in red zone efficiency after ranking in the top 10 in several offensive metrics with many of the same players in 2021.
Second-year quarterback Mac Jones regressed in 2022 as well. After throwing for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions with a 92.5 passer rating last season, Jones threw for 2,997 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions with an 84.8 passer rating this season.
Despite the results, Bill Belichick seemed to defend his decision when asked if his unconventional way to replace McDaniels was the correct one.
“I would, again, at that point in time and at every point in time, I’ve always made what I felt like were the best decisions for the team,” Belichick said. “That’s all I can say. You can have your opinion on him or whatever, I understand that. But I always did what I felt was the best for the team in every area at every point in time since I’ve been the head coach of the New England Patriots. And I’ll always continue to do that. I’ll put the team first and do what I feel is best for the team.
“Whether you agree or disagree with that, that’s up to you. I respect that. But I’m always going to do what I feel is best.”
Our own @tomecurran asks Bill Belichick about the decision last offseason to install Matt Patricia as the offensive play caller… pic.twitter.com/TeoFwBRvkl
— NBC Sports Boston's Patriots Coverage (@NBCSPatriots) January 9, 2023
As the season reached its final weeks in December, reporters emerged that the Patriots would reunite with Bill O’Brien in the upcoming offseason and make him their offensive coordinator again.
Belichick gave another non-committal answer when asked if he’d bring in a more experienced offensive coach to replace Patricia and Judge.
“Yeah, I think I already answered those questions,” Belichick said.
The offensive struggles were a large reason why the Patriots went from a 10-win playoff team in 2021 to an eight-win team that missed the playoffs in 2021. Belichick noted that the team was just a win away from reaching the postseason when asked what they need to do in order to get back into Super Bowl contention.
“Well, we were within winning a game yesterday of being in the postseason. We didn’t do that, so that’s where it has to start,” Bill Belichick said. “Can’t do anything in the postseason until you get into the postseason. There were other opportunities along the way during the year, not just yesterday, but yesterday was really the – that was our postseason. We weren’t able to advance. Until you get past that, there isn’t much to compete for.”