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Patriots reportedly giving Bill O’Brien considerable control over their offense

New England head coach Bill Belichick has apparently given his new offensive coordinator full command of the unit.

New England Patriots 2023 OTA’s Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

When the New England Patriots held their offseason workouts last spring, they used what was described as a “collaborative effort” on offense. With long-time coordinator Josh McDaniels no longer part of the equation, head coach Bill Belichick and assistant coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge ran the show on that side of the ball.

Fast forward one year, and you get a different picture when looking at how practice is being run. Bill O’Brien, who the Patriots re-hired earlier this offseason to have an official offensive coordinator and help quarterback Mac Jones, is clearly running the show.

An experienced play-caller and NFL coach, O’Brien’s autonomy is apparently extending beyond practice. According to a report by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, he has been given considerable control over all things offense:

[T]he other thing that’s obvious is the impact new coordinator Bill O’Brien is having on Jones and the offense. The Patriots practice I saw (which again, I’ve heard mirrors the ones closed to the media), moved efficiently, with the offense looking crisp and put together and Jones clearly looking like the team’s best quarterback. ... [M]y understanding is Jones has spent his time with O’Brien, with Belichick mostly delegating all things offense to his new/old coordinator, in a siloed-off model that feels, to those there, much more like how things were when Josh McDaniels was around a couple of years ago.

When he left for Las Vegas, McDaniels had spent 10 straight seasons as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, plus three more in a previous stint with the team. It was clear that he enjoyed plenty of trust in the building: Belichick let McDaniels do his thing on offense, which in turn allowed the head coach to operate more on a big-picture scale or in coordination with a defense that has not had a coordinator itself since 2018.

Now, it appears the Patriots are at least somewhat returning to that previous modus operandi. Whether or not that will also bring the success of yore remains to be seen, but the development in itself is a noteworthy one to begin with.