The Patriots are looking to revamp their offensive coaching staff, and it sounds like a familiar face is a favorite for the gig. Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston writes that Bill O’Brien is the “primary target” for New England’s offensive coordinator job.
Curran notes that there are “other candidates with merit,” but there’s “unanimity on all sides” that O’Brien is the best person for the position. The main thing going for O’Brien is his relationship with the Patriots organization, especially when you consider Bill Belichick‘s penchant for bringing back former assistants. O’Brien spent five years with the Patriots, culminating in him becoming the team’s offensive coordinator. Following head coaching stints with Penn State and the Texans, O’Brien spent the past two years as the offensive coordinator at Alabama under Nick Saban, a close confidant of Belichick.
Speaking of Alabama, O’Brien also has an advantage over the field thanks to his relationship with Mac Jones. While the QB prepared for the 2021 NFL Draft, he also helped O’Brien learn the Alabama offense following the coach’s hiring. O’Brien could look to add elements of Alabama’s quick-strike offense to the Patriots offense. While the familiar scheme would obviously benefit Jones, the offensive philosophy would also take better advantage of Jones’ game-management skills (vs. his average QB skills).
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Mike Reiss looks at a handful of additional potenital candidates for the offensive coordinator position. After O’Brien, Reiss lists former Jets head coach Adam Gase as a candidate considering his mutual respect with Belichick and his experience with Saban. Reiss also lists Vikings receivers coach Keenan McCardell, former Jets/Cardinals associate head coach/receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, Cowboys QBs coach Doug Nussmeier, and current Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley as potential targets for the job.
In a surprising press release last week, the Patriots revealed that they would begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates. This follows a 2022 campaign where Belichick opted to go without an OC to replace Josh McDaniels and chose former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to lead the way. The results were ugly, as the inconsistent Patriots offense struggled for much of the year.