Patriots' new reported coaching hire indicates Bill O'Brien will have autonomy


For the last several years, the Patriots’ coaching staff has been populated with FOBs: friends of Bill. But now, the acronym carries a double meaning.

New offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien seemingly just brought in an FOB of his own.

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The Patriots are adding longtime O’Brien assistant Will Lawing to their offensive staff, reports ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Lawing, 37, worked alongside O’Brien for two seasons as a “football analyst” for Alabama.

Prior to that, Lawing coached with O’Brien at Penn State and in Houston, where he served as the Texans’ tight ends coach. The Texans recently interviewed Nick Caley for their vacant offensive coordinator role, meaning Lawing could potentially slot in as the tight ends coach in Foxborough.

It’s been apparent for weeks the Patriots are employing a more collaborative approach to their coaching staff. Jerod Mayo, who’s negotiating a contract extension with the team, reportedly sat in on offensive coordinator interviews.

Mayo and O’Brien also served as supervisors with Belichick for the Shrine Bowl.

With a 30-year coaching career, O’Brien has his own relationships across college football and the NFL. Lawing’s reported hiring indicates that O’Brien will be in charge of the Patriots’ offense, and presumably, allowed to identify his own assistants.

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