Bill O’Brien seemed like an obvious fit to replace Josh McDaniels as the New England Patriots offensive coordinator for this season.
But it apparently never came close to happening with coach Bill Belichick opting to go an unconventional route and have Matt Patricia and Joe Judge handle a bulk of the coaching responsibilities on offense.
Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported Wednesday in his mailbag column why exactly Belichick might have been hesitant to bring O’Brien on board and hand him the keys to the offense.
“And the concern for Belichick, I’m told, was O’Brien might be just a one-year fix as McDaniels’s replacement,” Breer wrote, “and thus there were never serious discussions with (Alabama coach Nick) Saban on it.”
O’Brien coming in, grooming second-year quarterback Mac Jones, even if it was just for a season before moving on to a possible head coaching gig seems like a win-win situation for both parties. But Belichick obviously didn’t really want to test those waters and now it feels like a million questions surround an offense that is trying to implement a new scheme this season.
The Patriots have dealt with plenty of coaching turnover recently, and maybe Belichick didn’t want to risk having O’Brien leave after one season, creating a hole for the 70-year-old head coach to fill once again.
O’Brien definitely has the qualifications to be New England’s offensive coordinator and has plenty of experience with Belichick and the Patriots. O’Brien spent five seasons on the Patriots coaching staff, including serving as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2011.
O’Brien signed on to be Alabama’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in January of 2021, and that’s where he’ll be this season while the second guessing about if he should be in New England has already started.