The New England Patriots have a lot of work to do this offseason, but a takeover has been prioritized, according to an insider.
NBC Sports Boston’s Tom E. Curran wrote that Bill O’Brien was the “primary target” in New England’s search for an offensive coordinator.
“The primary target is former Patriots OC, former Penn State and Texans head coach, former Alabama OC Bill O’Brien,” Curran wrote. “There is a consensus on all sides that O’Brien is the best person for the job and – while there are other deserving candidates – the familiarity of Property and Mac Jones with O’Brien and O’Brien’s willingness to return mean that one would be upset if he didn’t get the job.”
If the Patriots brought O’Brien back, it would allow the offensive coordinator to return to the NFL sidelines after a brief stint in college football at the University of Alabama. O’Brien had some success in the college game after helping quarterback Bryce Young win the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore.
It would also ensure New England have a capable offensive coordinator compared to the inexperienced Matt Patricia, who has spent most of his coaching career on the defensive side of the ball.
While O’Brien is the “primary target,” the Patriots then have to make a decision about what to do with Joe Judge and Patricia, both of whom trained on the offensive side of the ball.
“One tender aspect of O’Brien’s return is what happens to Judge and Patricia,” Curran wrote. “Are you still part of the offensive coaching staff? How will they cope with O’Brien if they aren’t reassigned to new roles? O’Brien trained alongside Patricia during his time here. He certainly has a relationship with Judge. Undoubtedly there is some friendship, so it has to be dealt with diplomatically so there aren’t any uncomfortable feelings.”
Even with the talent that New England retains on its coaching staff, there will likely be some changes. The biggest concerns Jerod Mayo, who is expected to earn an enhanced title as “assistant head coach” once he officially returns to the team, according to former Patriots quarterback and current Noon radio host Scott Zolak.
“But I don’t think it’s just the title,” Zolak said of Mayo. “I think you need to take more responsibility, you know, as far as you can see you’re going to be running all three groups here, just in case something happened to me. You’re the next guy. You are my handpicked next in charge. That’s how things will go.
“I think that keeps him close to be the next guy when Bill is done,” Zolak added. “I think that’s where this is going. read the room I’m not saying I know anything or anything, but I just think it’s a natural progression. And I think you obviously made him enough offers with a wink without putting it on paper, you’re the next guy.”
The news follows the Patriots’ announcement that they are working with Mayo on a contract extension that will keep him in New England “long-term.”