NFL Rumors: Patriots Won’t Pursue Bill O’Brien, Other OC Candidates

'I do believe Bill O'Brien was considered'


February 10, 2022

The Patriots might play next season without an official offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator.

Many reports indicated that New England could pursue old friend, and current Alabama OC, Bill O’Brien to replace Josh McDaniels, who recently was hired as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. But the recent re-hiring of former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge as an “offensive assistant” indicated the Patriots might take a different approach in 2022.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport fueled that theory Thursday afternoon. During a “Gresh & Keefe” interview, Rapoport seemingly closed the door on New England hiring O’Brien, while also reporting that tight ends coach Nick Caley and receivers coach Mick Lombardi could see increased roles next season. Rapoport also said Bill Belichick could be more involved on the offensive side of the ball.

“I do believe Bill O’Brien was considered,” Rapoport said, as transcribed by WEEI’s Ryan Hannable. “I think it’s something he would have considered as well. But in the end, it ends up being Joe Judge on the offensive side of the ball, not special teams. The way the Patriots are configured, it’s always a little different. They’ve gone (years) without a defensive coordinator. They’ve gone years without an offensive coordinator. They have had one in action, but not actually promoted them in a way of shielding them from the press making sure they don’t have to answer questions. They’ve structured things differently.

“I think it’s possible that this may be it on the offensive side of the ball. I feel like it would be Judge with some added responsibility, Nick Caley with some added responsibility, Mick Lombardi with some added responsibility and kind of do it all as a group and make a decision on an OC potentially next year.”

Obviously, things can change at any moment, but it currently appears as if the Patriots will take a collaborative approach to offensive play-calling in 2022.

Whether that’s what’s best for quarterback Mac Jones remains to be seen.

NESN’s Big Game coverage is presented by Berkshire Bank.

Thumbnail photo via Christine Tannous/IndyStar via USA Today Sports Images
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