There was a mass exodus of assistant coaches from New England this offseason.
Gone to the Las Vegas Raiders, of course, was offensive coordinator-turned-head coach Josh McDaniels and, riding his coattails, receivers coach Mick Lombardi, offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo and assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree.
Adding further turnover and turmoil to this season's Patriots staff, long-time running backs coach Ivan Fears is expected to retire.
Where does that leave the Patriots as they embark on this week's OTAs at Gillette Stadium?
Without their primary play-caller from the past 10 years. With two assistants - Matt Patricia and Joe Judge - sliding into more prominent offensive roles that went a combined 23-52-1 as head coaches and last year (Judge) called a quarterback sneak on 3rd-and-8 inside their own 10-yard line. And with worries about the coaching staff, both internally and from outside experts, and middle-of-the-pack power rankings.
All the movement has left none other than Nick Haley as the Patriots' longest-tenured offensive assistant. According to a report by Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, that's not by accident.
The Patriots apparently blocked Caley from speaking to the Raiders. Writes Breer:
Tight ends coach Nick Caley’s role seems to be a little in flux. I’d expect he’ll have more responsibility in ’22. The Patriots blocked Caley from talking to the Raiders, and his role in New England this fall could dictate whether he stays put or goes to Las Vegas in ’23.
Caley, 39, originally joined the Patriots as an offensive assistant in 2015. He was promoted to tight ends coach two years after and has filled the position since, including during New England’s 2018 championship season.
Patricia & Judge
Like a lot of coaches during OTAs - relax, Bill Belichick reminds us it's only May - Caley’s official status is TBD. He was working with the tight ends again Monday, but, as pointed out by Breer, one has to wonder whether or not he will handle any additional responsibilities on the Patriots’ new-look offensive staff.