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Exploring potential Patriots offensive coordinator and staff candidates

New England announced it will begin searching for a new offensive coordinator.

Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The New England Patriots have made it known they are changing their ways. In an unprecedented team-released statement, they announced they will begin searching for a new offensive coordinator after going the entire 2022 season without one.

As the Patriots look to formally replace Josh McDaniels, common names like Bill O’Brien, Kliff Kingsbury, and Zac Robinson have been floated out there. But, who are some under-the-radar names that could be added to the staff, or who could the common choices bring with them on their potential staff (as New England needs to bring in more than just an offensive coordinator)?

Let’s explore.

Bill O’Brien

Current Role: Alabama Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

With O’Brien’s contract expiring with Alabama and his history with the Patriots organization, his name has often been the first one to come to mind since Josh McDaniels departed last year. The fit is obvious as his scheme is built around New England’s old-system and he could also sprinkle in elements of what Mac Jones likes from Alabama’s offense. If he is the next offensive coordinator, who could join him on staff?

New England Patriots Practice Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • George Godsey

Current Role: Baltimore Ravens Tight Ends Coach

A former Patriots coach himself, Godsey was in New England from 2011-2013 as an offensive assistant for a season before becoming the club's tight end coach. Godsey then followed O’Brien to Houston in 2014, where he served as the quarterbacks coach in ‘14 and then the offensive coordinator from 2015-16. When O’Brien was out in Houston, Godsey spent a year on the defensive side of the ball in Detroit before Matt Patricia moved him to quarterbacks coach in 2018. He then worked with Miami as a tight ends coach and co-offensive coordinator before landing in Baltimore.

Godsey has plenty of coaching experience and familiarity with O’Brien and New England’s current staff. The former Georgia Tech quarterback could be on the shortlist to work with Mac Jones if O’Brien is brought back as offensive coordinator.

  • Tim Kelly

Current Role: Titans Passing Game Coordinator

Kelly’s relationship to O’Brien goes all the way back to Penn State as he worked as a graduate assistant for the team. He then joined the Houston staff with O’Brien in 2014 as an offensive quality control coach before adding assistant offensive line duties in 2016. After working with tight ends for several years he was named the Texans’ offensive coordinator in 2019 - a position he held for three seasons. He lasted one season beyond O’Brien before being let go and picked up by Mike Vrabel as the Titans’ passing game coordinator.

  • Charles London

Current Role: Falcons Quarterbacks Coach

London is another coach who spent 2012-13 with O’Brien at Penn State as the Nittany Lions’ running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. From there, he assumed the same RB duties in Houston under O’Brien for three seasons before moving to Chicago with the same role. The last two years, London has been in Atlanta as the team's quarterback’s coach.

  • Doug Marrone

Current Role: Saints Offensive Line Coach

New England needs an experienced offensive line coach and Marrone served those roles for O’Brien at Alabama last year before joining New Orleans this season. Marrone was also the offensive line coach of the New York Jets from 2002-05 and has NFL head coaching experience with the Bills (2013-14) and Jaguars (2016-20). When he was hired by Jacksonville, he reportedly received a “glowing recommendation” from Belichick himself.

Kliff Kingsbury

Current Role: Former Cardinals Head Coach

Kingsbury is another popular name in the offensive coordinator ring. A former Patriots draft pick in 2003, the former QB and Belichick have maintained a relationship. Kliff got his shot in the NFL due to his highly successful air-raid offenses in college. He has since modified those in the NFL to create what Belichick described as “good offensive” system that is “explosive”. Kingsbury could bring in a new era to the Patriots offense, likely a better version of what they wanted to run this season.

Update: Kliff Kingsbury has reportedly told teams that he is not interested in pursuing a coordinator position at the moment.

  • Cam Turner

Current Role: Cardinals Co-Pass Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Turner has worked under Kingsbury in Arizona for multiple seasons, earning a promotion every season. He joined in 2018 as an offensive assistant and was elevated to assistant quarterbacks coach in 2019 in Kingsbury’s first season. Turner was then promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2021 and added the title of co-pass game coordinator in 2022.

A former quarterback himself, Turner has worked with a handful of successful QBs in his coaching career. Besides coaching Kyler Murray the past few seasons en route to back-to-back Pro Bowl selections and 2019 AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors, Turner spent three seasons in Carolina (2015-17) assisting with Cam Newton and the Panthers’ wide receivers.

  • Kenny Bell

Current Role: Cardinals Chief of staff/Offensive assistant

If Kingsbury is brought to New England, Bell will likely join him in some capacity. Bell has been with Kingsbury since 2009 in Houston, following him to Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and then Arizona. According to the Cardinals, “Bell works directly with head coach Kliff Kingsbury in organizing the day-to-day operations of the players and coaches while also working with the offensive coaching staff.”

Zac Robinson

Current Role: Rams Quarterbacks/Passing Game Coordinator

With Sean McVay now scheduled to return to Los Angeles, Robinson seems to be in line for the Rams offensive coordinator position. It seems unlikely he’ll now be on the move, but if he does, he’s another popular name here due to being another former Patriots draft pick in 2010. He’s also an intriguing option if the Patriots again experiment with the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offensive system they dabbled with during training camp.

Update: The Rams hired Mike LaFleur as their offensive coordinator.

  • Thomas Brown

Current Role: Rams Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends Coach

Brown could be in play for New England even without Robinson, as he has already interview for Houston’s vacant head coaching position. 2022 marked his first season working with tight ends, setting himself up to follow a popular coaching path from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator or head coach. Most of Brown’s past experience has come in running back rooms, but he did spend three seasons as the Miami Hurricanes’ offensive coordinator.

  • Zak Kromer

Current Role: Rams Offensive Assistant

If Robinson comes to New England, he’ll need to bring several coaches to teach his system - New England’s lack of knowledge with the system among the coaching staff was one of the biggest reasons they struggled adapting last season. One name to watch could be Kromer, who currently is a Rams offensive assistant.

The main attraction with Kromer would likely be his work along the offensive line. New England needs a more experienced offensive line coach and Kromer primarily worked with that group in his first five season with the Rams (2017-21). He worked more with tight ends this season.

  • Jake Peetz

Current Role: Rams Offensive Assistant

LA’s other offensive assistant is Jake Peetz, who has experience all over the NFL. 2022 marked Peetz’s 11th year of coaching and first with the Rams - coming from LSU where he served as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2021.

Despite being a former defensive back and a long snapper at Nebraska, most of Peetz’s coaching experience has come with quarterbacks. He’s worked in numerous roles with QBs such as Teddy Bridgewater (Panthers), Derek Carr (Raiders), Kirk Cousins (Commanders), Chad Henne (Jaguars) and Blaine Gabbert (Jaguars). He also spent the 2013 and 2018 seasons as an offensive analyst with Alabama.

Shane Day

Current Role: Chargers Passing Game Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Update: Shane Day and the Chargers parted ways following their playoff loss.

Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Day would fall in the under-the-radar category, as he has no connection with Belichick or the Patriots. But, he could be an intriguing fit for numerous reasons. Described as one of the “top quarterback gurus in football”, Day’s work with Justin Herbert the past few seasons speaks for itself.

Additionally, if New England does eye that Shanahan-style of offense, Day is familiar with it. Prior to joining LA in 2021, he spent two seasons directing Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers quarterbacks in San Francisco. Day was also an assistant offensive line coach in Washington from 2014-15 under then-offensive coordinator Sean McVay.

Charlie Weis Jr.

Current Role: Ole Miss Assistant Coach/Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks

Sounds familiar? It should.

The son of New England’s offensive coordinator from their first three Super Bowl victories has made a name for himself in the coaching ranks. Most of Weis’ experience has come at the collegiate level under Lane Kiffin. He spent two seasons at FAU as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Kiffin, while also working as an offensive analyst under Kiffin - and head coach Nick Saban - at Alabama from 2015-16.

Weis does have some NFL experience, working under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta as an offensive analyst in 2017. Weis also spent the summer of 2014 with New England’s staff as an intern during a Volunteer Training Camp. He mainly worked with tight end coach Brian Daboll and the offensive staff.

Shea Tierney

Current Role: Giants Quarterbacks Coach

Tierney has worked with former Patriots assistant Brian Daboll since 2017 when they were on the same staff at Alabama. Serving as an offensive assistant there for two years, Tierney followed Daboll to Buffalo where he took on the same role from 2018-19 before being named assistant quarterbacks coach (2020-21). Once Daboll took the head coaching gig in New York, Tierney was hired just five days later to join him as the club’s quarterbacks coach.

  • Mike Groh

Current Role: Giants Wide Receiver Coach

Mike’s brother Matt is currently the Patriots director of player personnel, so the ties to New England are strong. But, the former Virginia Cavalier QB could be an intriguing addition to the staff, with or without Tierney.

Groh also had numerous stints at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban, while also as a wide receivers coach in Chicago, Los Angeles Rams (as well as passing game coordinator), Philadelphia, and in Indianapolis under Frank Reich. He now resides in New York as part of Daboll’s staff.

Nick Caley

Current Role: Patriots Tight Ends Coach

If the Patriots were to keep things internal, Caley will be the choice. He likely should have received the offensive coordinator title last season but was passed over by the Patricia/Judge combo. Caley has worked with tight ends in New England since 2017, meaning he’s worked in both the run and pass game operation. The only question is if Belichick did not feel he was worthy last season, what changed?

Update: The Patriots are interviewing Caley for offensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Adam Gase

Current Role: None

Gase has never been employed by Belichick, but the two do have a relationship. Belichick has been on recorded sharing his “respect” for Gase and complimenting his offensive scheme.

“Adam’s always had an offensive system that really gave the quarterbacks all the opportunities to have tools that they need to be successful, so I don’t think you could have anybody better coaching [Sam Darnold] than where he’s at,” he said back in 2020.

“He’s, as I said, a coach I have a lot of respect for, and he gives us a lot of problems and is a tough coach to coach against. That’s really the way I feel about him.”

  • Shawn Jefferson

Current Role: Cardinals Associate Head Coach/Wide Receivers

With Kingsbury seemingly out of the picture, Jefferson could still be eyed by New England by himself or along with a coach like Gase. Jefferson held a similar role as he did in Arizona under Gase in New York from 2019 to 2020 and played for the Patriots for several seasons, including in 1996 when Belichick was an assistant on the staff.

  • Frank Pollack

Current Role: Bengals Offensive Line/Run game coordinator

Pollack was Gase’s offensive line coach in New York during his two seasons there. He is now in his second stint in Cincinnati serving the same role with the addition of run game coordinator. While the Bengals offensive line has been shaky the past two seasons, Pollack’s work as the offensive line coach in Dallas from 2013-17 - where he helped develop Pro Bowlers such as Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin - is certainly noticeable.

Kennan McCardell

Current Role: Vikings Wide Receivers Coach

McCardell has experience with Belichick after playing wide receiver for him with the Cleveland Browns from 1992-95. After his last season in the league was in 2007, he has been coaching the position since 2010 with a handful of organizations - including a stop with the Maryland Terrapins. Much of his coaching experience has come under the West Coast system, most recently under head coach Kevin O’Connell - who stems from the Sean McVay tree - this season in Minnesota. McCardell also has experience under previously mentioned Doug Marrone, as the two worked together in Jacksonville.

Update: The Patriots have requested permission to speak to McCardell regarding the offensive coordinator position

Todd Monken

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 10 CFP National Championship Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Current Role: Georgia Bulldogs Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

Bill O’Brien is not the only SEC offensive coordinator to watch here. Fresh off back-to-back National Championships at the University of Georgia, the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator Todd Monken has reportedly garnered interest across the NFL. Monken has NFL experience, most recently with the Browns and Buccaneers as an offensive coordinator from 2016-19, and has now helped quarterback Stetson Bennett become a Heisman Trophy finalist this season.

He just finished the first season of a three-year extension and is in a top role in perhaps college football’s biggest powerhouse, but it’s a situation New England should be involved in if he truly is available.

  • James Campen

Current Role: Panthers Offensive Line Coach

A former offensive lineman for the Saints and Packers, Campen spent the first 14 years of his coaching career with Green Bay working along the O-Line. Since, he has bounced around four teams over the past four seasons, which included serving as the Browns offensive line coach on Monken’s offensive staff in 2019.

  • Butch Barry

Current Role: 49ers Assistant Offensive Line Coach

Another former offensive line coach who worked with Monken, as Barry was the Tampa Bay assistant offensive line coach from 2015-18. He now has held that same title in San Francisco the past two seasons.

Doug Nussmeier

Current Role: Cowboys Quarterbacks Coach

If New England goes with the trend of pairing Mac Jones with a former quarterback, Nussmeier is another option that meets that criteria as a former fourth-round pick by the Saints in 1994. Despite only playing a handful of seasons, Nussmeier has now been on the sideline coaching since 2001.

After starting his coaching career in the Canadian Football League, he spent 13 total seasons at the collegiate level - broken up by a two-year stint in the NFL as the St. Louis Rams (2006-07) as the quarterbacks coach under Mike Martz - working with numerous schools as an offensive coordinator and/or quarterbacks coach (including a two-year stop as Nick Saban’s offensive coordinator in 2012-13). He has now been in Dallas since 2018, working as the team’s tight ends coach before moving onto quarterbacks in 2020.

  • Robert Prince

Current Role: Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach

Prince could be a top candidate to potentially follow Nuseemeier to his next destination, despite having Boise State ties with Dallas’ current offensive coordinator Kellen Moore. However, Prince served as the wide receivers coach in Detroit from 2014-20, which included time with Matt Patricia. He has offensive coordinator experience himself, leading the Boise State Broncos offense in 2012.

Brian Johnson

Current Role: Eagles Quarterbacks Coach

A former college QB, Johnson has worked with Philadelphia’s quarterbacks the past two seasons - playing a large role in Jalen Hurts’ development. He has offensive coordinator experience at the collegiate level, where he held the role at the University of Houston and Florida.

  • Aaron Moorehead

Current Role: Eagles Wide Receivers Coach

Moorehead has spent his entire coaching career working primarily with college wide receivers, but got his first shot in the NFL with the Eagles in 2020. He has been there since, working with Doug Pederson for a year and sticking with Nick Sirianni’s staff. His father, Emery Moorehead, played on the Giants in 1979 where Belichick served as the special teams coach & defensive assistant.

Dave Canales

Current Role: Seahawks Quarterbacks Coach

Canales has worked with Pete Carroll dating all the way back to 2009 at USC, but he may be in demand elsewhere. Serving a handful of roles on Seattle’s offensive staff over the last 12 seasons (primarily working with quarterbacks), Canales has been an influential part of Geno Smith’s resurgence this season.

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