What’s Bill O’Brien’s Goal For Patriots Offensive Coordinator Job?

O'Brien helping in Mac Jones' development would look great on his résumé

by

January 25

Bill O’Brien is set to return to the NFL in the 2023 season, but the former Houston Texans head coach might not be satisfied with just a staff position.

The New England Patriots reportedly have hired O’Brien to be their offensive coordinator. Quarterback Mac Jones reportedly is thrilled to work with a coach he briefly overlapped with at Alabama, and fans hope the reported move is the first step in rebuilding an offense that struggled with consistency in 2022.

After he was fired as Texans head coach and general manager, O’Brien spent the past two years working under Nick Saban as Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The 53-year-old is set to work with Bill Belichick and the rest of the Patriots staff at the Shrine Bowl, but there might be more to his NFL return.

In his weekly review with fellow ESPN NFL insider Dan Graziano, Jeremy Fowler gave his insight on the coaching staff rumors around the league, and he noted what O’Brien could be using the New England offensive coordinator job for.

“Bill O’Brien returning as Patriots offensive coordinator could be part of a bigger play for the former Texans head coach,” Fowler wrote Wednesday. “Some around the league believe O’Brien would like a second crack at NFL head coaching, and assuming he improves the New England offense with a Year 3 leap for Mac Jones, he could be an attractive candidate yet again.”

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The idea isn’t outside the realm of possibility. Owner Robert Kraft wants to see a Patriots team play in meaningful games in January and for the team to win a playoff game, which they haven’t done in four seasons.

If O’Brien can bring stability to New England’s offense and help Jones develop in his third year, that only would boost his stock. Conversely, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge’s stocks have dipped due to their poor coaching performances, and the former could be on his way out because of his unsatisfactory year.

The potential move would be similar to what O’Brien has done in the past. He had been on the Patriots staff since 2007, but after he was offensive coordinator for one season in 2011, he moved on to coach the Penn State Nittany Lions before taking the Texans job in 2014.

Oregon run game coordinator Adrian Klemm could be a candidate to replace O’Brien in the future. The Ducks assistant interviewed for the offensive coordinator job before O’Brien’s hiring and reportedly is expected to return for another interview, likely for the role of offensive line coach.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images
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