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Report: Bill Belichick had key reason for passing over Bill O’Brien

Bill Belichick with a headset

Dec 29, 2019; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick on the sidelines during the second half of their loss to the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots’ rough training camp offensively brought back questions about why coach Bill Belichick did not do more to bring former assistant Bill O’Brien back into the fold. A new report shed some light on why such an arrangement was never seriously considered.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, Belichick was concerned that O’Brien would be a one-year replacement for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and that O’Brien would bolt for a head coaching position in 2023. Belichick was apparently wary of that outcome, and made little attempt to speak with Alabama coach Nick Saban about bringing O’Brien back to New England.

O’Brien, currently the offensive coordinator at Alabama, worked for Belichick from 2007 to 2011. In theory, the two sides might have been able to work something out, but Belichick is clearly fixated on a bit more continuity on his coaching staff. Previous reports suggested that the relationship between Belichick and Saban also played a role.

The Patriots have lost a number of high-profile coaches in recent years, with McDaniels leaving to take over the Las Vegas Raiders. That may be why Belichick is content to rely on an unorthodox play-calling arrangement in 2022. The long-term view is admirable, but it might harm the Patriots this season more than it helps.


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