FOXBOROUGH, Prov. — Bill O’Brien will return to the Patriots after agreeing to a deal to become New England’s next offensive coordinator on Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Lowe.
O’Brien, 53, who spent the past two seasons as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator at Alabama, is now back where his NFL career began in 2007 as an assistant coach.
During his first time in New England, O’Brien was quickly promoted to quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator on Bill Belichick’s coaching staff, spending three years (2009-11) before leaving for the head coaching position at Penn State. 2012-13) and with the Houston Texans (2014-20).
O’Brien, a Massachusetts native, is charged with improving the Patriots’ offense in 2022, which is particularly depleted in several key areas:
• Red zone efficiency: 11th (39 TDs in 63 carries) to 32nd (19 TDs in 45 carries).
• Third down: 10th (43.5%) to 27th (34.8%)
• First Downs: 9th (362) to 28th (288)
• Sacks: 8th (28 for 241 yards) through 19th (41 for 279 yards)
• Touch scores: 48 to 31
Belichick in 2011 He did not name the Patriots’ official offensive coordinator in 2022, though Patricia’s primary background in the NFL was on the defensive side, and he leaned on Matt Patricia as the starting quarterback.
Belichick took control of the offense — changing the offensive linemen’s blocking tactics — and one of his goals was to make more big plays down the field.
However, he could not achieve the desired results, which made the Patriots lose on May 7, 2010. 12 as you interview for an attack coordinator.
The Patriots spoke with O’Brien, current New England tight ends coach Nick Caley, Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Kian McCardell, Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Sean Jefferson and Oregon associate head coach/offensive line/running game coordinator Adrian Klemm.
When he landed at Alabama, working closely with quarterback Bryce Young, O’Brien spent time running the team’s offense alongside current Patriots quarterback Mack Jones — a Crimson Tide alum.
When O’Brien returns to the NFL, Saban will be looking for a sixth different offensive coordinator in the past eight seasons. The previous five — Steve Sarkisian, Mike Locksley, Brian Daboll, Lane Kiffin and O’Brien — are all now either NFL head coaches/offensive coordinators or Power 5 head coaches.
Saban is looking for a defensive coordinator after Pete Golding left for the same position at Ole Miss earlier this month. The last time Saban brought in two new coordinators in the same year was after the Crimson Tide’s 2017 national championship season.