It was seeming inevitable that the Patriots would sign Bill O’Brien as their offensive coordinator, but with a number of good candidates being interviewed, the picture was becoming murky. Today, officially, the Patriots went with O’Brien for the position, and I take a quick look at what it means for the Patriots’ organization.
Why Is O’Brien A Good Fit For The Patriots?
First of all, his versatility lends itself well to an offensive coordinator role. As a positional coach, he’s seen it all: tight end, running back, quarterback, wide receiver. He’s shown the ability to govern the bigger picture as well, both as an offensive coordinator (New England, Georgia Tech, Duke, Alabama) and as head coach (Penn State, Texans), and did quite well in all of those roles.
He has the perfect mix of having seen the Patriots system, having been there from 2007-2011, and having plenty of experience outside of it, both at the collegiate and NFL level, and those combined perspectives will be instrumental as he works with the Patriots’ offense.
Furthermore, he knows how to take on tough situations and make a quick turnaround. At Penn State, he had to succeed the turmoil of the Sandusky scandal and the passing of Joe Paterno and won NCAA coach of the year in his first season, where they finished a surprising 8-4. In Houston, he followed up a 2-14 season with three consecutive winning seasons and oversaw the successful development of Deshaun Watson.
Finally, he’s the exact kind of mentor that Mac Jones needs. He has a strict, disciplined coaching style, and Mac not only has expressed desire for such a style, but he also needs it at this early stage in his career. His style perfectly fits in in with the Patriot way, and O’Brien is very experienced with working with young QBs and overseeing their development, from college QBs – most recently Bryce Young – to young NFL quarterbacks like Deshaun Watson. In this time of youth and transition for the Patriots, O’Brien will bring necessary stability.
How Does This Impact The Patriots?
There were offseason changes like extending Jerod Mayo, getting a WR1, going for a star linebacker, etc… that were important and useful for the Patriots. But there were two that were absolutely essential: getting an offensive coordinator to replace Patricia and bolstering their offensive line with better tackles. They’ve knocked off one of the two.
This move will make the most of the Patriots’ offensive talent, particularly Mac Jones, and should put the Patriots in a much better position heading into 2023. Playcalls that didn’t match the situation, a bad balance of run and pass, and underutilization of the Patriots’ best playmakers was arguably the biggest issue on the team last year, and with that rectified, the Pats will see dramatic improvements on and off the field.
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