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Not Your Average Joe: Is Patriots Judge New QB Coach For Mac Jones?

New England Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge seems to be poised to take on a notable role in crafting the Patriots offense in 2022.

New England Patriots assistant coach Joe Judge is set to begin his second tour of duty in New England.

Following a two-year engagement as head coach of the New York Giants, Judge has returned to New England as a top assistant to Pats head coach Bill Belichick.

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Patriots' Joe Judge viewed as potential future head coach
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, offensive assistant Joe Judge

While his duties may be different this time, one thing remains constant: his affection for being a football coach.

“I just love coaching football,” Judge said with a smile on Monday in his first video conference with the New England media since agreeing to join the Patriots’ coaching staff in February.

The 40-year-old previously served as a Patriots’ special teams assistant from 2012-2014, before his promotion to special teams coordinator; a role which he held from 2015 to 2019. Judge was also New England’s wide receivers coach in 2019.

Despite his special teams prowess, Judge seems to be poised to take on a notable role in crafting the Patriots offense in 2022.

While Judge expectedly remained cryptic about his official job duties, he did appear to confirm his working closely with the team’s quarterbacks and skill position players in a collaborative setting for the upcoming season.

“I am working with Mac [Jones], along with some other people,” Judge said. “I work with all the [offensive] skill groups. I’d say all of us are working collectively as a coaching unit to work with the entire offense…in terms of who is coaching each position, you’ll see me with the quarterbacks.”

Contrary to popular belief, he does have the qualifications to be effective in this position.

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Having played quarterback position in college at Mississippi State, Judge has the experience to bring valuable coaching insight in all areas of the offense. As such, Judge should lend some stability to a young, potentially productive offense led by Jones, the team’s second-year quarterback.

Judge will also be called upon to provide continuity to a Patriots’ staff which has already experienced significant losses. Former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, assistant quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree, offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo, and receivers coach Mick Lombardi have all left the organization for positions with the Las Vegas Raiders. Longtime running backs coach Ivan Fears is expected to retire.

Therefore, he, along with fellow Pats offensive assistants Matt Patricia and Nick Caley will be tasked with play calling duties in 2022. Though play-calling has never been his strong suit, Judge should benefit greatly from some talented coaches on the Pats’ staff.

Again, Judge was cautious to reveal any official designations. Instead, he focused on the immediate task at hand which is preparing both veterans and rookies for the march toward the start of the regular season.

“Nothing has been declared or decided or voiced to me [when it comes to play calling duties],” Judge said. “Right now we’re all just working drills and skills. We’re working offensively. I do think it’s critical for every coach on the offense to understand the offense and be prepared as a play caller. If you’re not really looking and approaching the game as a play caller, I think it’s tough to really teach the game plan.

“In terms of who calls plays, to be honest with you, that’s not the main focus of us right now as an offensive staff. When Coach [Belichick] wants us to go ahead and declare a role like that, he’ll tell us.”

Patriots’ Coaches Matt Patricia (left), Bill Belichick
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Ultimately, staff duties and responsibilities will be assigned by Belichick. In fact, all Pats assistants agree that the head coach is the man with the final say. Most importantly, Judge has earned the praise and respect of Belichick, which is likely the primary reason for his return. During joint practice sessions with the Giants during the summer of 2021, Belichick praised his former pupil as a coach capable of helping his team in numerous ways.

“Joe’s a good football coach. Period,” Belichick said. “All the things that a good coach needs to do, Joe does. And he did a great job here for me in a number of different capacities. Most importantly, special teams, but he had a lot of other responsibilities, as well. When I gave him something to do, he did a good job of it, and so that led to other things.”

While he will undoubtedly face a great deal of scrutiny in whichever offensive role assigned to him, Joe Judge clearly has the confidence of his boss, Bill Belichick.

Quite frankly, that is all he may need.