New offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien watches quarterback Bryce Young take a snap during practice. The Alabama Crimson Tide opened practice for the 2021 season as they prepare to defend the 2020 National Championship Friday, Aug. 6, 2021. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]

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Patriots bring back Bill O’Brien in dual role

Bill Belichick welcomed Bill O’Brien back to the New England Patriots on Thursday in a reunion geared toward getting the most out of quarterback Mac Jones.

O’Brien, who spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, will have the same dual role with the Patriots. O’Brien knows those roles and expectations well under Belichick, who first hired him as an offensive assistant in 2007.

“I am looking forward to working with Bill again,” Belichick said Thursday. “He is an outstanding coach and an asset to our staff.”

O’Brien was head coach of the Houston Texans from 2014-2020, where he helped develop Deshaun Watson but drew sharp criticism for his work in a shared front-office capacity. He left the Patriots to become head coach at Penn State in 2012.

There is some synergy beyond the Belichick reunion for O’Brien. At Alabama, O’Brien’s indoctrination to the existing offensive scheme included meetings with Jones, who was preparing for the NFL draft at the time.

In his first season calling the Crimson Tide offense, O’Brien pupil Bryce Young won the Heisman Trophy and Alabama reached the national championship game, finishing as runner-up to Georgia in 2021. Last season, Alabama average 41.1 points and 477.1 yards per game.

A linebacker and defensive end at Brown, O’Brien was a college coach for 14 seasons before his first stint on New England’s coaching staff.

He previously held the title of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach with the Patriots in 2011. That promotion came after two seasons as quarterbacks coach (2009-10), matching wits with Tom Brady, and another (2008) coaching the team’s wide receivers.

No official word was handed down regarding the status of assistant coach Matt Patricia, who operated as the de facto offensive coordinator most of the 2022 season. Reports two days after the regular season ended pointed to a split between New England and Patricia, once the Patriots defensive coordinator before he was head coach of the Detroit Lions.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
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