Is there room for Matt Patricia on the revamped Patriots staff?

The New England Patriots welcome the Bill O’Brien era, which means they end the Matt Patricia era.

Shortly after Bill Belichick announced O’Brien’s arrival as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last week, the Patriots began interviewing offensive line coaches, according to multiple reports. This meant that Patricia, the OL and player coach, and Joe Judge, the QB coach, would no longer serve in their roles starting in 2022.

They are on to something else. But what exactly?

As for Judge, the Patriots intend to move him to another role away from the offensive side of the ball, according to a team source. In his previous stint in New England, Judge was the special teams coach and coordinator so he could get back to that phase of the game.

For Patricia, it is not so clear. According to a source, he is considering three options: 1) leaving for a defensive coordinator role with another team; 2) return to New England in a different role; or 3) take a break from coaching. It’s worth noting that Patricia’s underwhelming season with the offense left him the target of massive criticism, which rubbed off on the coach.

It’s also notable that while Judge is in Las Vegas for the Shrine Bowl with Belichick, O’Brien and other Patriots personnel, Patricia is not. That, as much as anything else, is an indicator that the team doesn’t know if he’ll be a part from the O’Brien era. And Patricia does have interest if he wants to continue coaching, with multiple teams asking if he would be interested in a defensive coordinator role, according to a source.

There is no obvious place for Patricia in the Patriots defense. New England’s defensive staff is cohesive and highly effective, with one of the best units in the NFL in 2022. Jerod Mayo appears to be under Belichick’s wing after the team recently announced it was seeking a long-term extension with the defensive backs coach. Mayo and Steve Belichick appear to serve as co-coordinators, although neither holds the title. And they lead a staff that includes DeMarcus Covington (defensive line), Brian Belichick (safeties), Mike Pellegrino (cornerbacks) and V’Angelo Bentley (NFL coaching scholarship).

Patricia will likely have to step into an assistant role unless some Patriots personnel leave for other jobs this offseason.

In 2021, Patricia served as Belichick’s senior football advisor, helping with almost everything: game booth work, draft prep, pro visits, player contract negotiations, agent work, training and game planning .

Last March, Belichick said Patricia’s role was “very broad.”

“He does a lot of things,” Belichick said before moving Patricia to the offense. “It helps me in so many ways.”

Certainly Patricia could return as Belichick’s right-hand man. But it’s not exactly an appointment that will bring the coach back into a prominent role in the NFL.

Patricia was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2018 to 2020 and compiled a record of 13-29-1. He never made the postseason. And his reputation suffered. This return to New England was to restore Patricia’s image. But in 2022, the Patriots offense was extremely unimpressive, with the team recording the seventh fewest yards per play in the NFL. New England had the 17th most points per game, but that was bolstered by a defense that scored an NFL-high seven touchdowns. To make matters worse, the Boston Herald documented the dysfunction behind the scenes, with Patricia clearly out of his depth as an offensive line coach.

Have the Patriots become a dysfunctional organization?

Have the Patriots become a dysfunctional organization?

Colin Cowherd reacts to reports of dysfunction between the Patriots coaching staff and players heading into the 2022 season.

The 2022 season was not something he could use to advance his candidacy for other roles.

Given that Patricia is a well-connected coach, he could land elsewhere as a defensive line coach or defensive coordinator if the right position opens up. But it’s a tough spot for Patricia, who was the DC for two Super Bowl-winning teams.

Clearly, he is a talented defensive coach. But since 2017, his last year as DC of New England, things have been bad for Patricia. And he needs someone to take a chance on him if he wants to turn his career around in the NFL.

Before joining FOX Sports as an AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @McKennAnalysis.

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