The New England Patriots are naming Bill O'Brien as their new offensive coordinator, per an ESPN report. O'Brien returns to the Patriots after a decade away from the team. He was employed as an offensive assistant, wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011, working under head coach Bill Belichick.
When O'Brien was on staff from 2007-11, New England's offense led the league with 30.7 points per game and was second with 393.1 yards per game. O'Brien was in New England when Tom Brady was at quarterback -- and now will be tasked with grooming Mac Jones, as the former first-round pick heads into his third year as a starter.
The Patriots needed a stable offensive mind after head coach Bill Belichick went with former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as his primary play caller for the 2022 season. New England finished 26th in yards per game (314.6) and were 25th in points per possession (1.63) and 27th in yards per game (27.8). Jones took a step back in Year 2 as a result, finishing with a completion rate of 65.2% with 2,997 yards with 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions and an 84.8 passer rating.
O'Brien spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Alabama, where the Crimson Tide finished tied for fourth in scoring offense -- averaging 40.8 points per game. In his first season as the primary play-caller at Alabama, O'Brien's offense averaged 39.9 points per game and 488.3 yards per game -- both top-10 in the country.
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O'Brien was head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-20, where he went 52-48 and won four AFC South titles. He led the Texans to three straight winning seasons for the first time in franchise history and back-to-back AFC South division championships. He also served as Houston's general manager later in his tenure and was fired as both coach and general manager of the Texans after an 0-4 start to the 2020 season.
The former NFL head coach also led Penn State to a 15-9 record after the school faced unprecedented sanctions following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, showcasing his commitment to lead a program and parlaying that success into an NFL head coaching job.
O'Brien is finally back in the NFL, where it all started in New England. This time, he'll be tasked to revitalize the Patriots offense and help change the recent narrative of Belichick being on the decline.