What’s Matt Patricia’s role in New England? Good question.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has spoken on multiple occasions about the return of Matt Patricia, a long-time assistant coach who became defensive coordinator who became coach of the Lions. But Belichick still hasn’t said exactly what it is that Patricia will be doing.

On Thursday, reporters took another crack at figuring out what Patricia’s role is and will be. Here’s what Belichick said: “Yeah, it’s great to have Matt here. 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.”

Patricia has been involved in contract negotiation (he signed Cam Newton‘s new deal for the Patriots), free-agency evaluation, and draft preparation. He’s officially the “special assistant to the head coach.”

Regarded as brilliant by the organization, it almost seems as if Patricia is on the verge of becoming the team’s next Ernie Adams, the man of mystery who has done a little bit of everything for a team that has won six championships since 2001. That would be fitting, since Adams is retiring.

However it plays out, Belichick has a former head coach as his offensive coordinator and a former head coach as his special assistant. With a significant talent upgrade for a team that willed its way to seven wins in 2020, the Patriots could soon be back in the category of “consistent high-end contenders.”