When former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien was hired as the fourth head coach of the Houston Texans in 2014, he brought aboard one member of the New England Patriots’ staff: tight ends coach George Godsey. The ties between O’Brien and Godsey go all the way back to the 2001 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, for whom the two served as offensive coordinator and quarterback, respectively.
After working as Houston’s quarterbacks coach for one season, Godsey was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2015. However, under his guidance the unit – not aided by six different quarterbacks starting games in two years – failed to live up to expectations. The Texans finished 21st in scoring in 2015 and only 29th this season.
On Monday, after scoring 16 points against the Patriots in a 34-16 divisional playoff loss, the team and its offensive coordinator parted ways. This, in turn, leads to the question where Godsey will end up – and if it could be New England. After all, the 38-year old would not be the first former assistant coach to return to the Patriots after noteworthy gigs elsewhere.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels left Foxboro in 2009 to become head coach of the Denver Broncos and in 2011 offensive coordinator of the then-St. Louis Rams. He returned as an offensive assistant during the Patriots’ 2011 playoff run and became coordinator the following season (replacing O’Brien who left to coach Penn State).
New England’s tight ends coach Brian Daboll – Godsey’s successor – also returned to the Patriots after a coaching stint out of town. After five seasons as wide receiver coach, Daboll joined Eric Mangini’s staff with the New York Jets. When Mangini and his assistants were fired after the 2008 season, Daboll followed him to the Cleveland Browns where he became offensive coordinator. Two years later, he went to the Miami Dolphins, a year after that to the Kansas City Chiefs. By 2012, Daboll was back as a coaching assistant in New England.
Now, Godsey is in a similar situation McDaniels and Daboll were once in. His prior stint ended in disappointment and he is out of a job. So, is he a candidate to return to the Patriots? Based on the franchise’s track record of rehiring coaches, it definitely seems plausible. A look at New England’s current staff also shows that there might be a potential opening for Godsey: Joining as an offensive assistant, which would be the same route McDaniels and Daboll went in 2011 and 2012.
The question is, does he want to start from the relative bottom again after having two years of experience as an offensive coordinator? Given how it turned out with McDaniels and Daboll, who are a head coaching candidate again and New England’s offensive coordinator in the waiting, he might be inclined to do that. Despite the adversity and scrutiny the two have faced in the past, their recent work has reestablished them as widely regarded coaches.
However, the odds of ascending to offensive signal caller anytime soon in Foxboro do not look very good for Godsey. If McDaniels leaves, whenever that might be, Daboll will likely take over (unless he takes a coordinator job elsewhere before that), with Chad O’Shea or Jerry Schuplinski next in line. Therefore, it might be years before Godsey gets another chance to show his prowess as an offensive coordinator again.
Given the circumstances, therefore, it seems as if returning to the Patriots – if even offered a job in the first place – looks more like a last-option solution.