Patriots Exec Matt Groh Gives First Comments On Bill O’Brien Hiring

'It's great to have him on board'


January 29

As someone whose primary job is assembling a competitive roster, Matt Groh stands as much to gain as anyone from the Patriots’ hiring of Bill O’Brien.

So, what does New England’s director of player personnel think about the franchise hiring a new offensive coordinator?

Groh spoke with reporters in Las Vegas on Saturday ahead of this week’s East-West Shrine Bowl, which will see coaches from the Patriots and Atlanta Falcons lead a contingent of NFL prospects. O’Brien, officially hired last week, will be on hand as a supervisor.

At one point, Groh was asked to offer insight into his initial conversations with O’Brien. The two overlapped in 2011 when Groh was in his first season as a Patriots scout and O’Brien working as New England’s offensive coordinator.

“My first year coming in, I was able to spend some time with Billy O,” Groh told reporters. “So, we go back a little bit of ways. With him being in college and me visiting Alabama, I’ve been able to kind of rekindle a little bit of that. But it’s great to have him on board. All our coaches are out there just trying to get these guys ready for this game Thursday night.”

Groh then was asked how the presence of a new OC will impact his roster-building decisions this offseason. He deflected the question in classic Patriots fashion.

“We’re just really trying to go out there and beat the East team right now,” a laughing Groh said. “So, we’ve got a long ways to go before that happens. Just trying to get these young men out there … the best chance to succeed and, really, hopefully, prepare them. This is a great opportunity for them to try to get to know a pro system, a pro coaching staff, a pro way of going about things.”

The Shrine Bowl will take place this Thursday at 8:30 p.m. ET. The game should be worth watching for Patriots fans, as New England has a history of drafting players who participate in the contest.

Last year, the Patriots selected three players — Jack Jones, Pierre Strong and Tyquan Thornton — who played in the Shrine Bowl. So, don’t be surprised if some of the players on the field Thursday night wind up playing in Foxboro, Mass, next season.

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