Matt Patricia explains why transition to offensive side makes sense for Patriots

It’s been a while since Matt Patricia focused his efforts on the offensive side of the ball. He was an offensive assistant under Bill Belichick in 2004 and 2005 in New England, spending time under longtime offensive line coach Dante Scarnechhia, before transitioning to the defensive side of the ball.

Why then, he was asked on Monday, would the Patriots flip him back to the offensive side of the ball nearly two full decades later?

“I appreciate that question,” Patricia said. “For me, I guess I would start by just saying, one of the things I love about coaching is teaching. I love teaching the game. Y’know, I really do. I think that when you teach and you become a coach, for us, and especially here – and coach does a great job of this, and this is something I learned my first day in the door – you learn about all facets of the game. You learn about offense and defense and positions and fundamentals and techniques and you put yourself in a situation where really you’re comfortable coaching anybody on the field at any time.Whatever side of the ball it is.

“That’s different here. That’s not like that everywhere. I really appreciated that education that I was allowed to have while I was here. Certainly starting off on offense, having to learn defense, going over to defense – even that change, going over to a room where there’s Mike Vrabel, Willie McGinest, Rosevelt Colvin, Junior Seau, great, great players. Tedy Bruschi … Honestly as a coach, you probably learn more from them than they do from you at first, but you can give them perspective, give them guidance.

“You can tell them, ‘What does the other side think? What is the other side trying to do here?’ You can explain to them, ‘What are they trying to take away? What are they trying to do?’ There’s things you can give perspective on, sometimes from the other side of it, which I think is really what’s so unique here. We do that as a team in general. We get up and we talk to the team, and Coach (Belichick) gets up in front of the team, we can talk on both sides of the ball and everyone listens. Everyone pays attention. That’s how you really learn the game at a better level. “

Patriots Talk: Ranking the best 2022 road trips for Patriots fans | Download & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Patricia explained that he has been working with the offensive line during Phase 2 of the offseason training program, and it sounds as though that will be his gig moving forward, though he made no mention of any specific titles. He also could be in the running to be offensive play-caller in Foxboro, but that job apparently has not been handed out by Belichick just yet.

After serving as linebackers coach, safeties coach and defensive coordinator in New England before taking the head job in Detroit in 2018, Patricia said he received a well-rounded foundation of football knowledge under Belichick and alongside like-minded coaches.

“I’ve been blessed to do that for a very, very long time here,” Patricia said of learning the full game. “Even though I was on the defensive side of the ball, listening and having those conversations, especially with Josh [McDaniels] and he and I talking philosophy and plays and things like that … From that standpoint, that’s just my coaching background, my journey the last several years in the NFL. But right now my real focus is just on the field with the players and not really looking at the bigger picture. “

Patricia said the retired Scarnecchia is “one of the greatest,” and someone he would “always keep on speed dial” if he needs help in his new role.

“I don’t care what position you coach in the NFL,” Patricia said, “you spend time with Dante, you automatically become a better coach.”

Whether he receives the title officially or not, if the offensive line is – as it sounds – Patricia’s focus for 2022, he’ll play a key role in the development of two of the most important young players on the roster. He’ll be coaching up 2022 first-round pick Cole Strange, and his group of players will be tasked with supporting 2021 first-round quarterback Mac Jones.

Phil Perry on Patricia’s important role with Pats’ young cornerstones

After a year behind the scenes in New England, Patricia seemed enthused to be back on the field and back with the offensive line, where he played while studying at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

“Certainly the fundamentals of the offensive line are something near and dear to my heart,” Patricia said. “(There are) some things that, honestly, I learned a long time ago that they still are consistent: You grow and you learn every year. You talk to coaches. You watch tape. Certainly on the other side of the ball, as a defensive coach, you watch a lot of offensive line play. That’s for sure. You’re breaking down a lot of offensive linemen. You’re evaluating a lot of offensive linemen. You’re trying to figure out protections. You’re trying to figure out how to attack certain things so you get to just flip that which is great.

“You get to look at the other side of it. You can try to figure out, ‘These are the pressures they’re bringing. This is what it looks like up front. This is how it is in the run game. This really gives them problems. ‘ You just kind of have that back and forth knowledge, and you just try to coach that and teach that to the guys, and really let them play. Really let that’s all it is – just letting our guys play to the best of their ability . “

Whether he receives the title officially or not, if the offensive line is – as it sounds – Patricia’s focus for 2022, he’ll play a key role in the development of two of the most important young players on the roster. He’ll be coaching up 2022 first-round pick Cole Strange, and his group of players will be tasked with supporting 2021 first-round quarterback Mac Jones.

Leave a Comment