Patriots bring back a familiar face for offensive personnel

January 4, 2020; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick (center), offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (right) and special teams coordinator/wide receivers coach Joe Judge on the field before their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are officially in the post-Josh McDaniels era on offense, so big decisions need to be made on the coaching staff for 2022. They’re reportedly set to make one, and with a name that fans of New England will recognize.

As first reported by Albert Breer of The MMQB to TwitterPatriots ‘working on deal to bring back’ joe judges as an offensive assistant. Judge went 10-23 in two seasons as head coach of the New York Giants before his recent sacking, and will now land on his feet in New England, albeit with a smaller, more nebulous role.

Jeff Howe from Athleticism added that “nothing is set in stone yet” but the interest in Judge from the Patriots is real. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network later corroborated the original report, saying Judge’s return to the Patriots “gives them additional leadership on offense and allows them to shift some responsibility.”

However, Rapoport also said the Patriots “can’t hire” someone with the title of offensive coordinator, much like they’ve been missing an official defensive coordinator since 2019. The last time the Patriots didn’t have of CO, it was the 2010 season, when Bill O’Brien ostensibly called the plays but held the title of quarterbacks coach.

Beginning Tuesday, Judge will join a coaching staff that includes offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, wide receivers/kick returners coach Troy Brown, tight ends coach Nick Caley, quality control/quarterback coach Bo Hardegree, receivers coach Mick Lombardi, running backs coach Vinnie. Sunseri and assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates. Longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears is expected to retire.

Judge previously served as the Patriots’ special teams coordinator from 2015-2019, but in 2019 he also coached wide receivers. The Pats ranked in the top 10 in opposing yards allowed on both kickoff and punt returns last season for the Judge Coordinating Special Teams. In 2021, their rankings fell to 14th and 15th respectively, despite being the only team to block three punts.

McDaniels’ presence at the helm of the Patriots’ offense provided stability. So without an official replacement in 2022, it’s fair to wonder if a committee approach would threaten to disrupt that. But there’s plenty of time for other decisions to be made in the offseason.

Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group or any subsidiary. Have a tip, question or comment for Matt? Shout out to him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at [email protected]

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