After a down offensive season in 2022, the first step the New England Patriots took to get back on track was to re-hire Bill O’Brien as the official offensive coordinator.
With players now reporting to Gillette Stadium for the first phase of the offseason workouts, O’Brien is preaching a clean slate for the unit.
“I think the big thing for us right now is everybody is starting with a clean slate,” O’Brien told reporters on Tuesday. “I think that every year is different and this year is no different than any other year, relative to each year in the NFL is different. What you did in the past — whether it’s a player or coach or anyone in the organization — really has no bearing on what happens moving forward.”
Since O’Brien was hired two-and-a-half months ago, New England has started to put together their offensive playbook for the upcoming season. O’Brien noted the team has watched tape from the past few seasons, as well as tape from colleges and other teams around the league to help establish a basis for 2023.
“There’s a framework and every year there’s a framework,” he said. “You go back and look at your experience you’ve had in different places, different experiences that some of these guys on the staff has had, and you develop that framework.
“But at the end of the day, it started yesterday. And part of putting that framework together is working with the players and that’s what we’re doing. ... So we’ve watched a lot of tape and we’ve gleaned a lot from watching tape and now it’s time for us to start working with the players and keep moving forward.”
Throughout O’Brien’s coaching career, he has spent time in both the NFL and the college game working with talented quarterbacks such as Deshaun Watson and Bryce Young. However, the offense he brings to Foxboro will be focused on this year’s Patriots team.
“I think it’s all about this team, this offense, what are we doing within the framework of the team, the players that we have here,” O’Brien said. “Every year you have different players... so as you’re putting together what you’re going to do headed into training camp you’re learning from the players — and that process just started yesterday.
“We’re all starting from the same launching pad of day one of offseason program yesterday. Getting to know our players, getting to know what they’ve done in the past, getting to know what they can do in our system and then putting it together from there.”
As the Patriots continue to work through the first of three phases in their offseason program, O’Brien made it clear he is not concerned with last year’s ugly performance.
“Fresh start,” he said. “It’s really not anything about what’s gone on in the past. It’s more about moving forward. That’s one of our themes on offense.”