Foxborough, Mass. — Bill O’Brien will return to the New England Patriots as their next offensive coordinator after agreeing to a deal on Tuesday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Chris Lowe.
The 53-year-old O’Brien, who was the offensive coordinator the last two seasons under Nick Saban at Alabama, is now back where his NFL career began in 2007 as a coaching assistant.
In that first job in New England, O’Brien rose through the ranks on Bill Belichick’s staff to become quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, spending three years (2009-11) in that role before leaving for head coaching positions with Penn State (2012). -13) and the Houston Texans (2014-20).
A native of Massachusetts, O’Brien will be charged with improving a Patriots offense that was lacking in most key areas in 2022:
• Red zone efficiency: 11th (39 TDs in 63 drives) 32nd (19 TDs in 45 drives)
• Third-down efficiency: 10th (43.5%) to 27th (34.8%)
• First downs: tied for ninth (362) through 28th (288).
• Sacks Allowed: Eighth (28 for 241 yards) to 19th (41 for 279 yards)
• Touchdowns scored: 48 to 31
Belichick did not name him the official offensive coordinator for the Patriots in 2022, relying on Matt Patricia as the primary playcaller despite Patricia’s defensive background during his NFL career.
Belichick also oversaw the organization of the offense — changing the terminology for offensive linemen — in which one of his goals was to make more big plays down the field.
But the desired results never materialized, and the Patriots, notoriously tight-lipped about their intentions, publicly announced on January 12 that they would be interviewing an offensive coordinator.
In addition to O’Brien, the Patriots also spoke with current New England tight ends coach Nick Galey, Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCartel, Arizona Cardinals assistant head coach Shawn Jefferson and Oregon associate head coach/offensive line/run-game coordinator Adrian. Claim about work.
After landing at Alabama, where he worked closely with quarterback Bryce Young, O’Brien spent time with the current Patriots. Mac JonesO’Brien helped master the Tide offense following Jones’ final season with Alabama.
Once O’Brien returns to the NFL, Saban will be looking for his sixth different offensive coordinator in the last eight seasons. The previous five — Steve Sarkisian, Mike Locksley, Brian Daboll, Lane Kiffin and O’Brien — are all now NFL head coaches or offensive coordinators or Power 5 head coaches.
Saban is also 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.
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