There is one quarterback in Foxborough who’s apparently thrilled about Bill O’Brien taking over as offensive coordinator.
Mac Jones is “very excited” to be coached by O’Brien, reports Mark Daniels of MassLive. The two briefly overlapped at Alabama, as Nick Saban hired O’Brien to be his offensive coordinator in January 2021.
The Patriots selected Jones with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The following season, O’Brien helped coach Alabama quarterback Bryce Young to a Heisman Trophy, and the Crimson Tide to an appearance in the national championship game.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says O’Brien returned to Gillette Stadium Monday for a second interview, and his hiring formalized the Patriots’ “long-held plans.”
O’Brien was an assistant under Bill Belichick from 2007-11, ascending to offensive coordinator in his final season. The Patriots reached the Super Bowl that year, and O’Brien is credited with incorporating then-young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez into New England’s offense.
Following 2011, O’Brien left to coach a sanctioned Penn State team for two years, leading them to winning records and back to respectability. In 2014, he began a six-plus season run with the Texans, leading them to four AFC South titles. In two of those seasons, O’Brien reached the playoffs with Brian Hoyer and Brock Osweiler as his starting quarterbacks.
Jones’ frustration with the Patriots’ offensive coaching staff was palpable this season. There were multiple instances in which the young quarterback displayed his frustration on the field, yelling obscenities for all to see.
Late in the season, Jones told reporters he wanted to be “coached harder.”
He’ll get his wish with O’Brien, who’s known for his passion, and sometimes clashed with Tom Brady on the sidelines.
There’s no word on whether Matt Patricia, who was the Patriots’ offensive play-caller this season, will be reassigned.
In addition to O’Brien, the Patriots interviewed tight ends coach Nick Caley, Vikings receiver coach Keenan McCardell, Cardinals receivers coach Shawn Jefferson and Oregon associate head coach Adrian Klemm for the position. Some of them could still be hired to hold other positions on staff.