Is Matt Patricia the Patriots' long-term play-caller? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
There was plenty of blame pie to go around in the New England Patriots' Week 13 loss to the Buffalo Bills, but no one was criticized more than Matt Patricia.
After the 24-10 defeat, Patriots players voiced their frustrations with the team's "timid" offensive play-calling. Second-year quarterback Mac Jones was seen on the sideline during the loss angrily expressing his displeasure with the conservative approach.
The performance placed Patricia squarely in the crosshairs amid what's been a trying first season for him as New England's play-caller and de facto offensive coordinator. But will his first year in the position also be his last?
On a new episode of the Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss whether they believe Bill Belichick sees Patricia as the man for the job long-term.
"I want to follow up with something you said earlier in the show, which was that it feels like Matt Patricia is a placeholder as play-caller or de facto offensive coordinator," Perry said. "Is that, to you, just based on performance? Which, obviously that makes a lot of sense.
"But to me, I think this is a long-term plan from Bill Belichick to say, 'I'm not changing my offensive coordinator every two years.' Josh McDaniels, we were lucky we had him for a long time, but I'm not bringing in Bill O'Brien just to lose him to be a head coach somewhere else in 2023. I'm not elevating Nick Caley to go and be an offensive coordinator or head coach somewhere else in a year or two. So I think this plan is his way of building long-term continuity."
Curran believes Belichick could have a hard time selling that approach to team ownership.
"I hadn't thought of that because it's been such an abject disaster so far that you almost can't run it back with that," Curran said. "But if the belief of Bill is, 'We went 5-11 in 2000 and won the Super Bowl the next year. We do have seismic shifts in the way guys perform,' maybe that's what he's counting on here.
"But it's getting harder and harder and will be harder and harder to sell that to ownership, which certainly gave Bill the latitude to make any decision he wanted with the coaching staff, but the on-field results argue strenuously that it ain't working with Matt and we're not going to sit here and watch the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears take mercy knees at the end of the game in our stadium."
Also discussed in the episode: What’s with the Patriots’ lack of urgency? Patriots players express frustration with offensive gameplan. Are the Patriots coaching scared on offense? And can the Patriots change what they’ve been this season?