The New England Patriots welcomed a familiar face back into the fold this offseason, as Bill Belichick re-hired former defensive assistant Matt Patricia.
The RPI graduate is coming into this season without tons of positive vibes after he was recently fired following a miserable stint as the head coach of the Detroit Lions.
Patricia’s time in Detroit was apparently so bad that defensive lineman Michael Brockers, who arrived from Los Angeles this offseason after nearly a decade with the Rams, already had a bone to pick with him.
In an interview with Jim Rome, Brockers claimed that even though he and the rest of the Lions have yet to play a game for new coach Dan Campbell, there’s already a very noticeable change from the environment that Patricia created.
“There’s a lot of guys coming from that ex-Patricia era and they’re like ‘Man, [Campbell] understands,’” Brockers said. “This coaching staff talks to you, they communicate with you. And you see a lot of guys loving that and buying in.”
Michael Brockers is no fan of Patriots assistant Matt Patricia.
Brockers also claimed that players are “not about the BS” while imploring coaches to “tell us what we’ve got to do, [and] explain it to us in terms that we understand.” Perhaps Patricia’s lack of communication or teaching skills ended up hammering the final nail in his coffin.
Save for an outlier like Mike Vrabel here and there, the Belichick coaching tree is notoriously barren, as assistants who try to go in and instill a facsimile of Belichick’s culture almost always fail to do so. Considering the response from stars like Darius Slay and the record on the field, Patricia’s time in Detroit was not a productive one.
Belichick might run New England with an iron fist, but all he has to do is flash those Super Bowl rings in your face and you’ll fall in line. As gruff as he seems, you don’t win six championships and appear in nine Super Bowls without expert communication skills.
Patricia might be a solid designer of defensive plays, but he lacked the leadership of Belichick, and it was so irritating that even a kneecap-biter like Campbell has come in and improved things instantly.
If Brockers can make such bold claims about Patricia’s ability — or lack thereof — as a head coach without having even played for him, and if he’s able to confidently declare Campbell as a better coach before a ball has been snapped, that is as damning an indictment a coach can receive.
It looks like Patricia, who will fill a variety of coaching and front office roles, is just another Belichick assistant who floundered away from the GOAT.