The New England Patriots made what might possibly be their biggest news of the offseason official on Thursday. Bill O’Brien was officially named the offensive coordinator of the Patriots on Thursday, the team announced. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick offered a brief statement in the team’s announcement.
“I am looking forward to working with Bill again,” Belichick said. “He is an outstanding coach and an asset to our staff.”
It was first reported on Tuesday that O’Brien would be returning to New England and leaving his job as the offensive coordinator at Alabama after he interviewed with the Patriots twice. O’Brien was previously on the Patriots’ coaching staff from 2007-11. The Massachusetts native began as an offensive assistant before working as the wide receivers coach in 2008 and the quarterbacks coach for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011.
Thursday’s announcement came hours after a report by the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan and Karen Guregian detailed the inner dysfunction of the team’s offensive coaching staff under Matt Patricia and Joe Judge en route to having one of the worst offense’s in the league.
In the report, sources told the Boston Herald that Patriots quarterback Mac Jones “didn’t like” quarterbacks coach Joe Judge and that “a lot of people were frustrated with him,” leading to Judge’s role being reduced as the season went along. Patricia, a longtime defensive coach, was the Patriots’ play caller in addition to coaching the offensive line. His attempt to try to install a Sean McVay/Kyle Shanahan-like offense left many players questioning what they were doing, with a source telling the Boston Herald that “I love coach (Belichick), but he f—ed us.”
As a result of the dysfunction, the Patriots’ offense went from ranking in the top 10 in many offensive stats and metrics under longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2021 to ranking toward the bottom of the league in many of those same areas with much of the same players in 2022. They ranked 26th in total offense, 27th in third-down conversion rate and dead last in red zone efficiency.
Jones also took a step back in 2022. After a solid 2021 season that earned him some votes for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Jones threw for 2,997 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions to go along with an 84.8 passer rating in 14 games this past season.
Jones is “very excited” for O’Brien to come in and be the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, MassLive’s Mark Daniels reported Tuesday.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) January 26, 2023
O’Brien’s first assignment back in New England will be working at the East-West Shrine Bowl. The Patriots’ coaching staff will coach the West Team in the game that showcases draft prospects on Feb. 2. O’Brien, along with Belichick and Jerod Mayo, will work in supervisory roles in the game.