NFL: a return of Bill O’Brien to the Patriots?

Could a former follower of Bill Belichick return to the fold and lead the New England Patriots’ offense?

Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports reports that Bill O’Brien, who served as the Pats’ offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, is the team’s first choice to fill the offensive coordinator position in 2023.

The team didn’t have an official offensive coordinator in 2022. Belichick, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge handled calling plays in what the team called a « collaborative process. »

The 53-year-old O’Brien worked under Nick Saban as offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide for the past two seasons. After leaving the Pats, O’Brien served as head coach at Penn State University for two seasons before returning to the NFL as head coach of the Houston Texans.

With the Texans, O’Brien went 52-48 and won four AFC South Division titles, but went 0-4 in the playoffs. He was fired after starting the 2020 season with an 0-4 record.

If O’Brien returns with Pats, he would be the third coordinator to return with the team. Josh McDaniels left the club to become head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009 before eventually returning as offensive coordinator in 2012, where he remained for 10 seasons. Patricia, who spent 14 seasons with the Pats and served as defensive coordinator, left when he took over as head coach of the Detroit Lions in 2018. He returned in 2021.

The Pats concluded the 2022 campaign with an 8-9 record good for third place in the AFC East Division. The team missed the playoffs for the second time in three seasons after 10 straight appearances.

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