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#pounditFriday, March 24, 2023

Report: Bill O’Brien could return to Patriots as OC

Bill O'Brien on the sideline at Alabama

Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien during warm ups before the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. Credit: Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY NETWORK

There have been constant calls since the offseason for the New England Patriots to bring in a true offensive coordinator. They resisted those calls and instead switched Matt Patricia and Joe Judge into offensive roles despite each of their relative lack of experience coaching offenses.

Could Bill Belichick’s refusal to make a move in that regard be due to something bigger he has planned?

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported on Saturday that Bill O’Brien is a “strong option” to return to the Patriots for 2023.

O’Brien served as an offensive coach with New England from 2007-2011 before becoming the Penn State head coach. O’Brien then went on to become the head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-2020 before being fired. He is in his second season now as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Alabama.

When O’Brien took the job at Alabama, he made a two-year commitment to Nick Saban. Belichick and Saban are on a friendly basis, so Belichick apparently did not want to take his friend’s offensive coordinator away. Things could be different in 2023 though once O’Brien’s contractual obligations to Alabama are fulfilled.

There also may have been a concern about O’Brien landing another head coach job, but that has not yet happened. Perhaps O’Brien will need to rebuild his standing in the NFL, which could beaccomplished if his time as a Patriots OC goes well, should he make that move.

One thing is for sure: the Patriots badly need an offensive coordinator.


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