Could Latest NFL Opening Jeopardize Patriots-Bill O’Brien Reunion?

O'Brien has history with Titans head coach Mike Vrabel


January 9

After watching their team’s season end with a Week 18 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Patriots fans have fully turned their rooting interests toward New England finding a new offensive play caller.

That much might be easier said than done.

Bill O’Brien, who has spent each of the last two seasons as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, has long been rumored to be interested in a return to New England. After finishing up at Alabama under Nick Saban this past season, the 53-year-old has become the obvious choice to replace Matt Patricia following the Patriots’ extremely underwhelming season on offense.

New England might not be the only option for O’Brien, however.

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The Tennessee Titans fired offensive coordinator Todd Downing on Monday, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. That has opened up the potential for a reunion between O’Brien and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who served on O’Brien’s staff with the Houston Texans from 2014 to 2017. The two also overlapped in New England in 2007 and 2008 when Vrabel was a player and O’Brien was an offensive assistant.

Tennessee now seemingly joins New England and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as potential landing spots for one of the top offensive coordinator options on the open market. Facing uncertainty at the quarterback position with Ryan Tannehill and Malik Willis, the Titans’ best option in replacing Downing would be to add a coach who comes with as much experience as possible. Serving as both a head coach and an offensive coordinator at the NFL and college football levels, O’Brien fits the description.

There have been conflicting reports about the Patriots’ interest in O’Brien, but it looks as though we’ll get a definitive answer about whether they’re truly interested in a reunion. If New England is, in fact, hoping to rehire its former OC, it better do so quickly.

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images
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