University of Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is reportedly eying a return to the NFL, and it appears his old home is emerging as a potential destination. The New England Patriots, who have struggled on offense this season, are in the running for O’Brien’s services.
According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the 53-year-old is a “strong option” to take over as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in 2023:
Sources say Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is a strong option to return to his former home and assume his old role as OC under Bill Belichick for next season. This would be a potential answer to an important question facing the Patriots in the future.
Bringing O’Brien into the fold would make sense from New England’s point of view. Not only has the Patriots offense disappointed under first-year assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, who took over for long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels this year, O’Brien also has considerable experience in the system.
After all, he spent five seasons in New England between 2007 and 2011 and coordinated the offense to a Super Bowl appearance in his final season.
He later spent time as head coach at Penn State and with the Houston Texans before joining Alabama in 2021. His experience both in New England and elsewhere substantial, which is why a reunion would certainly make sense from a Patriots perspective.
Of course, with the season still underway there are still several uncertainties the two sides would have to work through.
For starters, O’Brien might want to look at head coaching opportunities before settling for another coordinator gig. Also, the Patriots might be hesitant to bring in another new coach to work with quarterback Mac Jones after he and the system around him already underwent a transformation from Year 1 to Year 2. Given O’Brien’s likely head-coaching aspirations, stability would not be a given with him back Foxborough.
Nonetheless, the situation is one worth keeping an eye on in the coming months.