FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After a season in which the New England Patriots plummeted to the bottom of the league rankings in several key offensive categories, the club announced Thursday that it will begin interviewing candidates next week to fill the role of offensive coordinator.
This confirms that head coach Bill Belichick, set to enter his 24th season, is moving away from the structure he implemented in 2022 in which he didn't name an official coordinator.
Matt Patricia and Joe Judge filled leading roles on the offensive staff, with Patricia calling in the plays to second-year quarterback Mac Jones. Patricia's official title was senior football adviser/offensive line, and Judge's title was offensive assistant/quarterbacks.
The moves were viewed by many as unconventional, with Patricia's primary background as an NFL coach coming on defense, and Judge's on special teams. Belichick had shared that his belief was that a good coach transcends any position, although after the team's 8-9 season, he acknowledged better results were needed in all areas.
That was particularly the case on offense, where the Patriots dipped notably in several key categories from 2021 to 2022 after Josh McDaniels departed to become the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach.
Some of those areas included:
Red zone efficiency: 11th (39 TDs in 63 trips) to 32nd (19 TDs in 45 trips)
Third down: 10th (43.5%) to 27th (34.8%)
First downs: Tied-9th (362) to 28th (288)
Sacks: 8th (28 for 241 yards) to 19th (41 for 279 yards)
Touchdowns scored: 48 to 31
With Belichick set to interview offensive coordinator candidates, it opens the possibility that Patricia and Judge -- each of whom won three Super Bowls as Patriots assistants and whom Belichick has great respect for -- could fill other roles on the staff.
Former Patriots quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien (2009-11), whose two-year contract as University of Alabama OC is expiring, is among several candidates Belichick is expected to consider.
In addition to the Patriots' search for an offensive coordinator, the club also announced Thursday that it has "begun contract extension discussions with [inside linebackers coach] Jerod Mayo that would keep him with the team long-term."
Mayo played eight seasons for the team (2008-15) and just concluded his fourth season as an assistant. He has received interest from other teams for head-coaching vacancies, most recently with the Carolina Panthers requesting to interview him, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Cleveland Browns also requested to interview Mayo for their defensive coordinator vacancy this week, sources told Schefter.