The ongoing quest to uncover who will be calling offensive plays for the New England Patriots got no closer to a firm answer after the Patriots' first preseason game.
Bill Belichick split play-calling duties between senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia and offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach Joe Judge in Thursday night's 23-21 loss to the New York Giants. Patricia called plays when Brian Hoyer was under center for the first two series. Then Judge took over when rookie Bailey Zappe entered the game.
"I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to do that," Belichick said of giving both men play-calling opportunities in the preseason opener, via the team's official transcript.
At a certain level, it feels like Belichick is just messing with the media at this point. With reporters and fans all clamoring to know who will replace Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator and play-caller, Belichick continues to play cat and mouse.
"We're going through a process. Just like everything else on this team," he said.
Not knowing Belichick's plan wouldn't be as eyebrow raising if everything were swimmingly with the offense. But given the reported struggles in camp, and the fact that neither Patricia nor Judge is a former offensive coach, it makes the situation that much more curious.
Asked if he knows who would call plays once the regular season arrived, Belichick responded: "Yeah, don't worry about that. We'll work it out."
Players, likewise, aren't fretting who is sending in the plays.
"I mean, I just listened to my helmet and called the play that's said to me, so whether it's Matt or Joe or whoever it might be, I'm not concerned about -- I'm worried about what defense they're running, how we're going to execute the play," Hoyer said.
With Patricia and Judge each calling plays, the mystery in Foxborough will continue.
Reporters did their darndest to get anything out of Belichick Thursday night. A sampling of the back-and-forth near the end of the press conference:
Q: You mentioned earlier with the offensive play-caller you're going through a process. What do you need to see –
BB: "I don't need to see anything, just we're going through a process. Simple as that."
Q: It's just a little bit of an unusual situation for us that have watched you guys before –
BB: "What do you want me to do?"
Q: I guess we're just looking for a little clarity as to why we're seeing what we're seeing.
BB: "Great. Yeah. Going through a process."
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