Bill Belichick explains why he’s glad to have Matt Patricia in 2021

The New England Patriots have gotten Matt Patricia involved in a big way since he returned to the team this offseason.

Patricia, in an untitled role in his return to the Patriots, is fresh off a firing as the coach of the Detroit Lions from 2018 to 2020. He took that job after six years as the team’s defensive coordinator. Now in his second stint with the team, Patricia seems to be taking on a different role, which helps fill a vacancy leftover from former director of player personnel Nick Caserio’s departure for the Houston Texans’ general manager job.

Belichick alluded to Patricia’s evolving role in New England.

“It’s great to have Matt here,” Belichick said on May 27. “He’s obviously an outstanding coach and has a lot of experience and gained some experience in areas in the last three years that he didn’t have as much of an opportunity to be in prior to that when he left. So yeah, his advice and counsel and presence has been valuable for us in a lot of ways. So yeah, I’m extremely glad that he’s here and appreciate the contributions that he gives us on a daily basis.”

Belichick didn’t point out what, exactly, has been different about Patricia’s role, but his name has appeared at the bottom of every free agent the New England signed this offseason past March 12, per the Boston Globe. He started by putting his name on the contract for quarterback Cam Newton — and Patricia has apparently been involved in every deal since then. That indicates he’s helping in the front office, something The Globe dove into deeply.

Patricia was also on the field during Patriots’ organized team activities, where he helped with coaching on the field. Much like Belichick likes his players to be versatile, he likes his staffers to be able to handle multiple roles. It seems that’s what New England is asking of Patricia.