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#pounditWednesday, July 24, 2024

Did Bill O’Brien take inadvertent shot at ex-Patriots assistant Matt Patricia?

Bill O'Brien points at practice

Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien directs the office on a drill during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Bill O’Brien has been tasked with trying to fix a New England Patriots offense that was horrible in 2022, and he may have taken a shot at one of his predecessors while working toward that goal.

A reporter asked O’Brien on Friday if newly signed running back Ezekiel Elliott has been able to quickly learn the offensive coordinator’s system. O’Brien responded that the system is “not rocket science.”

“It’s not rocket science. We’re not splitting atoms, so he’s been in different systems, he understands football, even going back to Ohio State, the guy understands football. That’s why he’s been so successful,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien’s choice of words was probably a total coincidence, but some fans wondered if he was taking a very clever swipe at former Patriots offensive assistant Matt Patricia. Before he became a full-time coach, Patricia majored in aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He was on a path to become a rocket scientist.

We highly doubt that O’Brien was intentionally trolling Patricia. What we do know is that the Patriots averaged just 314.6 yards per game last season, which was 7th-worst in the NFL. Mac Jones took a big step back in his second season and Patricia — a coach who has mostly been in defensive roles throughout his career — served as de-facto offensive coordinator. Jones and Patricia also openly clashed at times.

Jones has made it no secret that he is happy to be working with O’Brien. Even if O’Brien did not intend to take a shot at Patricia, Jones probably loved it.

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