Predictably, Bill Belichick isn’t ready to talk about a potential reunion with Bill O’Brien.
With the Matt Patricia-led Patriots offense continuing to sputter despite a strong showing in Week 12, many are wondering with New England could search for a new offensive play-caller during the offseason. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer recently floated two potential candidates: former Patriots offensive coordinator and current Alabama OC Bill O’Brien, and current New England tight ends coach Nick Caley.
The O’Brien rumors are nothing new. The 53-year-old was mentioned as a potential Josh McDaniels replacement last offseason before Patricia got the job, and a report Sunday indicated O’Brien could be eyeing a return to the NFL in 2023.
When asked about the latest O’Brien rumors during a Monday morning WEEI appearance, Belichick gave the kind of answer you’d expect.
“I haven’t talked to Bill in a little while,” the Patriots head coach said during his weekly “The Greg Hill Show” interview. “So, I don’t know, I wouldn’t really want to comment on his situation. I think that’s something for him to comment on.”
Obviously, this storyline will be one worth monitoring in the weeks and months ahead. Barring a complete reversal from the Patriots offense, all options should be on the table as New England enters Year 4 of the post-Tom Brady era.
In 2021, the Patriots finished 15th in total yards per game with then-rookie Mac Jones at quarterback. They also ranked sixth in points per game. This season, New England is 21st in yards per game and 18th in scoring despite the additions of receivers DeVante Parker and Tyquan Thornton. The only major personnel subtraction from 2021 was the trading of declining offensive guard Shaq Mason. So, it’s fair to wonder whether poor coaching is the largest contributing factor to the struggles of the Patriots offense.
With all that said, if New England can build off of last Thursday’s encouraging performance against the Minnesota Vikings with a good outing against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, the narrative surrounding the offense might start to change for the better.