Patriots fans likely are thrilled that Bill O’Brien is back in Foxboro, and Mac Jones apparently is right there with them.
New England on Tuesday hired O’Brien as its next offensive coordinator, according to Adam Schefter and Chris Low of ESPN. The move both confirms the removal of Matt Patricia as offensive play-caller and a reunion with O’Brien, who coached for the Patriots from 2007 through 2011, working as the offensive coordinator the final season.
Jones, who took a step back in his sophomore season, has a prior connection with O’Brien. When O’Brien was hired as Alabama’s OC in 2021, he briefly overlapped with Jones, who helped him get up to speed with the Crimson Tide’s playbook.
Mark Daniels of MassLive offered insight into Jones’ reaction to news of O’Brien’s hiring shortly after the news broke.
“For Jones, it’s the best of both worlds,” Daniels wrote. “That’s why he’s pumped up about the new coaching hire. According to a source close to Jones, the Patriots quarterback is ‘very’ excited about O’Brien coming to New England.
“Another source close to the Patriots quarterback told MassLive that Jones ‘is looking forward to working with coach O’Brien.’ They added that since the Patriots and Alabama have a similar culture and offensive approach, it should help Jones with the transition of working with O’Brien. The source said that for Jones, it’ll be ‘nice to start a new working relationship with someone that you already have had the opportunity to work with.’ “
Jones played well as a rookie in 2021, completing 68% of his passes for 3,801 yards and 22 touchdowns to go along with 13 interceptions. But with Patricia and Joe Judge coaching in 2022, the 24-year-old quarterback regressed to 2,997 yards, 14 TDs and 11 picks while missing three games.
With O’Brien now in the fold, the Patriots quarterback has no excuses ahead of a pivotal third season. By the end of 2023, we should have a clear answer on whether Jones is New England’s quarterback of the future.