Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien, who has been running the offense during organized team activities and this week’s mandatory mini-camp, checked in today via a conference call with the New England media.
O’Brien, 39, has not been given the title of offensive coordinator, but is the de facto replacement for former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who also held the title of quarterbacks coach that was inherited by O’Brien.
O’Brien, who served as receivers coach in 2008, weighed in with his thoughts on the offense’s progress during the off-season and the chemistry between Tom Brady and Randy Moss and also shed some light on why director of player personnel Nick Caserio has been down on the field working with the offensive coaches during the off-season.
Here is a transcript of O’Brien’s interview:
How do you feel like the offense is looking and progress during OTAs with training camp six weeks away?
“I think that these guys worked hard to do the things that we’ve asked them to do this spring, and it’s not just in the spring. It’s been since the off-season program started back in February they’ve done the things that we’ve asked them to do and I think there has been improvement. I think it will play off more in training camp like you said, but I’m pleased with where we are right now.”
Your impressions of Tom Brady and how he’s performed in your eyes in these OTAs?
“He’s worked hard, just like the other guys have worked hard, the quarterbacks and other players on the team. I think there has been improvement there and we can’t wait for training camp to start.”
How has this off-season been different for you than last year when Josh was still around?
“I think it’s a different position. Last year working with the receivers and the year before being an offensive assistant, it’s just a different role for me. It’s been exciting. It’s been fun, and I think we’ve all kind of pitched in to kind of put this whole spring together, and it’s worked out pretty well so far. Just like I said about Tom, as coaches we can’t wait for training camp either, although I will enjoy a little vacation here over the next few weeks. But we can’t wait for training camp to start up.”
How has it been integrating Joey Galloway and Greg Lewis?
“Those guys are veteran players who have played in this league. They’ve done a good job of coming here and working hard at what we’ve asked them to do and learning our system. Just like the quarterbacks and line and running backs they’ve improved day to day in the spring. They’re looking forward to a little break, but also looking forward to getting going when camp starts in July.”
With Tom back and the additions that have been made are you personally excited about the prospects of this offense?
“I think one of the things that I’ve learned here is that it’s day to day. We try to really go out every day and have a good meeting, then a good practice and then a good post-practice meeting and then start it all over again the next day. So, I don’t really think about that too much. I think about how training camp is going to go and how we’re going to set up our practice installation and our meeting installation. Once we get ready to play the preseason, I start focusing on the first preseason opponent and kind of go from there. For me to think about prospects and all those things it’s just not what I do. I try to focus day-to-day on what the task is — to coach the quarterbacks. That’s what I try to do.”
How much do you think it helps you that you have experience at the college level as an offensive coordinator from Duke and Georgia Tech?
“I think it’s a totally different league. I think the experience of coaching in those roles in college has helped me just in the experience of going through it and the organization skills that that required and things like that. It’s a different league. There are different strategies. There are different rules. The field dimensions are different. There are a lot of things that go into that, so I think the experience of coaching helps, obviously, but I also think that we all pitch in. Each coach on this staff kind of pitches in. We each have different roles that we have. We all work differently. As far as coaching goes that has helped, but it’s just a different role here.”
We notice that Nick is down there and how much has it helped to have him down there and what’s his role?
“Nick is a guy that has done everything in this organization, from being the quality control guy to being a scout to being a player personnel guy. In ’07, he coached the receivers and I was the offensive assistant. He has very good knowledge of our offense. He just comes down and fulfills the role of helping out with the receivers, helping out with the quarterbacks. That’s his role during practice. He kind of jumps around from position to position and helps us all out.”
We notice Tom and Randy spend a lot of time together whether it’s a planned part of practice or playing catch, are you impressed with the commitment they’ve had to get on the same page?
“These guys are two professionals that come to work every day in the two years that I’ve been around them and work as hard as anybody else on the team. I think not having played together in a while I think they try to get together out there and work on the finer points of different situations in the game. It’s just two guys who are working out little kinks in the offense and are trying to get better.”