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New Patriots assistant Joe Judge working with QB Mac Jones, playcaller undecided

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New Patriots assistant Joe Judge working with QB Mac Jones, playcaller undecided
New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones made the Pro Bowl during his 2021 rookie campaign. File Photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

May 17 (UPI) -- New New England Patriots offensive assistant Joe Judge is already working with Mac Jones and other quarterbacks on the roster, but he doesn't know who will call the team's offensive plays in 2022, he told reporters.

"I am working with Mac along with some other people on the offense, working with the skill group on offense," Judge said Monday in a video conference. "All of us are working collectively as a coaching unit to work with the entire offense."

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The Patriots hired Judge in February. The New York Giants fired their former head coach in January. Judge spent eight seasons as a special teams assistant and coordinator and a wide receivers coach with the Patriots before his two-year tenure with the Giants.

Jones joined the Patriots as the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He completed 67.6% of his throws for 3,801 yards, 22 scores and 13 interceptions in 17 starts in his Pro Bowl rookie campaign.

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Judge said coaches won't begin their "evaluation" of Jones until next week, but said he likes the young quarterback's accuracy, decision-making ability and command of the huddle.

The Patriots were the No. 15 offense in the NFL, in terms of yards gained, in 2021. They also scored the sixth-most points in the league. The Patriots passing offense ranked No. 14, while the rushing offense ranked No. 8.

Jones was the No. 11 rated quarterback in the NFL last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Joe Burrow, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Justin Herbert and Aaron Rodgers were the Top 5 rated quarterbacks in 2021.

Judge said he watched footage of Jones several times daily over a period of three months this off-season. He said he also reached out to a number of quarterback coaches and coaches for other positions for tips on player development.

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Judge took notice of Jones' command of the huddle when the Giants held joint practices last year with the Patriots.

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"You could see the player's eyes on him, that's something that really stood out to me, 'all right, they're gonna be okay with this young guy,'" Judge said of Jones.

Judge has never been employed as a quarterback coach at the college or NFL level, but said he worked with the position group during his previous tenure with the Patriots.

Veteran offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left the Patriots this off-season to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The Patriots did not hire another offensive coordinator, which puts playcalling duties in limbo for 2022.

"I'll tell you directly and honestly right now, nothing has been declared or decided or voiced to me," Judge said, when asked about who will call plays for the Patriots offense in 2022.

"In terms of who calls plays, to be honest with you, that's not the main focus right now. When coach [Bill Belichick] wants to go ahead and declare a role like that, he'll tell us."

Former Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia, hired last off-season as a senior football advisor for the Patriots, also will assist Judge with the team's offense this season.

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The Patriots' offensive staff under Belichick also includes running backs coaches Ivan Fears and Vinnie Sunseri, wide receivers coach Troy Brown, tight ends coach Nick Caley and assistant offensive line coach Billy Yates. Tyler Hughes is on the staff as another offensive assistant.

The Patriots held rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday. Patriots players report for the first session of organized team activities Monday and hold mandatory minicamp from June 14 through 16.

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