The New England Patriots have started their search for a new offensive coordinator, and a second external candidate has emerged. After already setting up an interview with Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, the Patriots will also connect with Oregon assistant Adrian Klemm.
Klemm’s background on the offensive line makes him a candidate to rather fill that spot instead of outright becoming coordinator. Nonetheless, the team sees something in him worthy of taking a closer look. What could it be? Let’s find out.
Who is Adrian Klemm?
Current position: University of Oregon associate head coach/run game coordinator/offensive line coach
Playing background: A four-year starter at Hawai’i, Klemm entered the NFL in 2000 when the Patriots made him the first ever draft pick of the Bill Belichick era: he was selected 46th overall in the second round, and went on to spend five seasons with the organization. While he failed to develop into a regular contributor and struggled with injuries — he appeared in just 26 games with 10 starts — he still earned himself a trio of Super Bowl rings.
Klemm left New England in free agency in 2005, signing a two-year deal with the Green Bay Packers. Serving as a hybrid tackle and guard, he started eight games during his first season with the club but was cut with an injury settlement ahead of his 2006 campaign. The release effectively ended his playing career.
Coaching background: Klemm’s coaching career began in 2008 as a graduate assistant at SMU; his former college coach, June Jones, coached the Mustangs that year and gave him an opportunity in coaching and recruiting. Klemm spent four total seasons in University Park, including the final three as offensive line coach. He also served as recruiting coordinator during the 2011 season.
Klemm left for UCLA in 2012, where he started out as run game coordinator and O-line coach — a dual role he held for all five seasons at the school. The final three also saw him serve as associate head coach under Jim Mora. However, he was put under a two-year show-cause order by the NCAA for recruiting violations in September 2016 and eventually fired the following January.
Klemm spent the 2018 season out of coaching before joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as their assistant offensive line coach. After two seasons at the job, working under coordinator Randy Fichtner and O-line coach Shaun Sarrett, he was promoted in 2021 following Sarrett’s departure. Klemm did not last even a full year, being granted his exit in December to join Oregon’s staff under incoming head coach Dan Lanning.
Why do the Patriots see him as a potential offensive coordinator?
In order to assess this question, we touched base with SB Nation’s University of Oregon blog Addicted to Quack. The answers below, courtesy of managing editor “hythloday1” give us some insight into Klemm’s time with the Ducks, and what he might bring to the Patriots’ offense if hired.
How would you assess the job Klemm is doing at Oregon? “Klemm arrived at Oregon last January, so he’s only been working with the team for a year. Oregon’s offensive line was one of the best in the country in 2022, with the lowest sacks allowed rate of any FBS team. However, it’s difficult to assess how much Klemm developed those players, since he inherited from the previous staff all five starters and each of the backups from an equally excellent line in 2021. Certainly he didn’t sabotage the line in any way. Most of Klemm’s measurable success so far has been in recruiting.”
Do you think he is ready to become an NFL offensive coordinator? “I have no idea. We never received any indication that he was actively involved in play-calling at all, and I don’t believe he was any more involved in week-to-week game-planning than any other position coach would be. Oregon’s offense was very good last year, finishing No. 5 in F+ advanced statistics, so again Klemm didn’t do anything to hinder that, but that’s all I can say. “
What kind of offense do you think he would bring to New England? “I can’t speak to his time at Pittsburgh but all of his college offenses (at UCLA and Oregon) have been spread-to-run 11-personnel shotgun systems. Here’s my film review of his time at UCLA with my research into his development of linemen and video clips of their strengths and weaknesses.”