With Josh McDaniels on his way to Las Vegas, there is a vacancy in New England for an offensive coordinator for the first time in a decade. Two of the names being circulated as potential replacements, according to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, are ex-head coaches Bill O’Brien and Adam Gase (Twitter link).
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O’Brien has been busy since being dismissed from the Texans in 2020. He spent 2021 as the OC at Alabama, reaching the National Championship game. Following the college season, he interviewed with the Jaguars for their HC vacancy. That was somewhat surprising, given that he wasn’t thought to be on the NFL radar at this time.
O’Brien, 52, made the playoffs four times during his six full seasons in Houston. However, a total of just two postseason wins – along with an increasingly disastrous tenure as the team’s general manager – saw him out of the league two years ago. Given his experience in New England (stretching from 2007 to 2011, in various roles) prior to that, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him reunite with Bill Belichick.
Gase, meanwhile, is a candidate whose “name keeps popping up when speaking to league sources” with regards to the Patriots’ OC opening. He has experience at the NFL level dating back to 2005, but is of course better remembered for his time with the Dolphins and Jets as a head coach. After an impressive turnaround in 2019, there was optimism he and QB Sam Darnold could take the latter team a step forward in 2020. Instead, the Jets had their worst start in franchise history (0-13) and Gase was fired at the end of the year, while Darnold was traded away. The 43-year-old spent 2021 away from the sidelines.
Giardi adds that “there’s hope for an internal promotion” from within the organization, though any in-house candidates likely wouldn’t hold the title of OC. If the Patriots do elect to hire an external candidate, either of these two would bring plenty of experience – along with some raised eyebrows, in all likelihood – to the table.