Bill O’Brien reportedly ‘primary target’ for Patriots’ vacant offensive coordinator position

O'Brien served on Bill Belichick's staff in New England from 2007-11.

atriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) walks towards the bench as head coach Bill Belichick (center) and offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien (right) watch. he New England Patriots visited the Washington Redskins in an NFL regular season game at FedEx Field.
Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien served on the same coaching staff for four seasons in New England. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Patriots surprised many with a transparent statement on Thursday that mapped out a plan to interview “offensive coordinator candidates beginning next week”. 

But the reported top target for Bill Belichick and New England should not come as much of a shock.

According to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, Bill O’Brien is New England’s “primary target” in its search for a new offensive coordinator.

O’Brien, who has served as the University of Alabama’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons, has plenty of experience with Belichick and the Patriots. From 2007-11, O’Brien served on New England’s coaching staff, including one season as offensive coordinator before moving on to coach Penn State from 2012-13.


After two seasons in Happy Valley, O’Brien coached the Houston Texans from 2014-20 before taking on his current role on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama.

“There is unanimity on all sides that O’Brien’s the best person for the job and —while there are other candidates with merit —the familiarity ownership and Mac Jones have with O’Brien and O’Brien’s willingness to return mean it would be an upset if he doesn’t get the job,” Curran wrote.

Curran’s report stands as the latest in a long line of pieces linking O’Brien to the Patriots’ open coaching position. NFL Network’s Mike Giardi wrote in a tweet on Friday that “There is one very influential voice in [Patriots] upper management who definitively wants Bill O’Brien as the OC.”

O’Brien arrived in Tuscaloosa just after Mac Jones capped off his collegiate career. But O’Brien helped orchestrate two pass-heavy schemes in Alabama that helped quarterback Bryce Young develop into a likely top-five pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Considering both O’Brien’s experience with Belichick, his track record of crafting effective offensive schemes at both the NFL and collegiate record, and his ties to Alabama, the Andover native’s reported frontrunner status for the Patriots’ OC gig is easy to discern.


Both Jones and the Patriots’ overall offensive group took a major step back in 2022, ranking 26th in the NFL in n total offense with just 314 yards per game.


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