Bill O’Brien named Patriots OC

Van Everyman

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Belichick has said it several times. People just don't want to hear it. He believes in their football knowledge and felt they could do the job. Simple as that.
But he was wrong, Mike! Wrong!!!

I 100% think that despite the fact that the Matty P/Joe Judge experiment clearly didn’t work that it was an interesting route, assuming Belichick didn’t pass up one that was obviously better. Anytime you have a chance to do something that makes the Fellowship of the Miserable even more miserable, you can’t pass that up.
 

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Additionally, he was a HC in the NFL 3 years ago. And he had an offense in which Deshaun Watson was rushing for 400-500 yards a season--that's what today's game is, no? Seems he was able to adapt to that.

Not disagreeing with you, just wondering what makes you say that?
Time at Alabama the past few seasons, honestly, that's how I spend my Saturdays. So I'm of the belief that college is the best place to experiment with creativity, especially at a school where you have a huge talent edge. Didn't happen.

Instead, you saw a ton of inside draws to Jahmyr Gibbs, who while is a great home run guy, can whiff a ton in the backfield. They had an outside zone specialist who I really like, Jase McClellan. Basically ignored but for the final few weeks, inexcusably. There was also an absolute refusal to run in the RZ too often. Way too rarely were calls made over the middle in passing game. Slants just weren't an option. Even beyond the atypically poor year by Alabama WRs, aside from Ja'Corey Brooks, there just wasn't enough for a defense to bite on in my opinion. If it's so linear, you can sit on it as an opposing defense.

I did a bit of a deeper dive by the playcalls of 2022 here.

I'm not sure I'm familiar with this terminology, what do you mean by the bolded?

Basically one move and that's it. As compared to a double move, like so. Instead, you're getting one of only and specifically: flats, curls. Almost never a corner, comeback, or dig. Posts were rare against anyone worth their salt. I'm eating more chicken tenders for lunch than I counted slants last season. Granted, limited TV camera angles, but still, usually you see plays develop short and over the middle pretty well with those.
 

JohnnyK

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BigJimEd

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O'Brien coached the Alabama offense to these rankings the past 2 seasons:

2021: #8 in yards gained (488.3), #6 in points scored (39.9)
2022: #11 in yards gained (477.1), #5 in points scored (41.1)

I mean, the guy has led some pretty awesome offenses the past couple of seasons. He's not a dinosaur.
Alabama was 2nd in pts/gm each of the previous two years and 4th and 6th in yds/gm. Obviously different rosters but those numbers under O'Brien aren't anything exceptional for Alabama. Not bad by any stretch but also nothing special.


Houston offense under OB with Watson was mediocre. Not sure that is much of a plus.
 

BaseballJones

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Maybe not exceptional for Alabama, but still....really good nationally. He's clearly not bad at his job. Alabama runs a dynamic offense and O'Brien most certainly isn't a "dinosaur".
 

Jimbodandy

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Color me unimpressed. Better than what we were but this is going from Patricia's USDA Canner beef grade to Standard. Not remotely close to Select or Choice. Forget about Prime.

We want to get Mac averse to play action? Awesome. We want to run plays that are long since antiquated and don't count on presnap motion almost ever? This is the hire. We want no double routes, just linearity in stems? You got it.

Don't get me wrong, this is still an upgrade because last year was truly that bad. And to his credit, BOB was excellent and innovative last time he was here. He just hasn't adapted to today's game and world. It's immensely different on offense in the utilization of offensive weapons than 10 years ago. You can be a dinosaur all you want but don't be shocked when the meteor hits.
While this tempers my enthusiasm a bit, I'm still pretty stoked.

This offense just went from bed-ridden to walking with a cane. I'm not sure that Fred Astaire was/is possible yet, but I'll be glad to see the offense put up 3+ touchdowns occasionally now.
 

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I watch a lot of college football and NFL, and for a variety of reasons I think they're almost different sports at this point. I'm not sure how instructive or predictive O'Brien's time at Alabama might be.
 

Van Everyman

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They NEED to succeed this year on offense. This was a big deal this offseason, you got your guy. You can't then go fumble through the season again with a guy you're not dedicated to. BoB isn't going to come in blindly accepting Mac and the QB. There's a lot of film on him at this point, he'll look at that film and determine his faults are either fixable or they're not.
Yeah but BOB isn't taking this job to run Mac out of town. Let's be crass for a moment: if he comes in and Mac sucks, how does that help BOB get his next job? I don't doubt that if Mac has a terrible season, or even several games, BOB may urge Bill to move on, poss. in-season. But he came here to fix the offense and that starts with getting Mac right again. To some extent, BOB owns that now.
 

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Maybe not exceptional for Alabama, but still....really good nationally. He's clearly not bad at his job. Alabama runs a dynamic offense and O'Brien most certainly isn't a "dinosaur".
Isn’t saying he ran a good offense at Alabama like saying he’s a good singer in a studio with autotune? Is there a track record of Alabama OC’s having success in the NFL?
 

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Play design aside, I think this past year's offense would have been much improved with better discipline (fewer debilitating penalties, especially in the red zone or in short-yardage) and from more expedient calling of plays into the huddle (thus cutting way down on Delay of Game penalties).
 

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Ha, I almost feel the opposite, that they will give it a 100% chance to make it work and evaluate after 2023. This is year 3 so they have to decide on the 5th year option after this year. So I expect them to give it every chance possible.
Agreed. Mac is BoB's project for next year, whether he likes it or not. I'd guess it's going to take a total bedshitting on Mac's part to get anyone else behind center before the bye week.
 

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more expedient calling of plays into the huddle (thus cutting way down on Delay of Game penalties).
I 100% agree. I also think this was a huge flaw of BOB last year. So often Alabama would break huddle with like 10-15 seconds on the play clock, Bryce Young would kill count, and they'd be undisciplined at the LOS and often get delay of games. Just utter disorganization I can't recall watching under other Saban-coached teams.

Other Bama OCs under Saban, for @Marciano490 :

1) Steve Sarkisian, unspectacular in Atlanta replacing Shanny in 2017 and roughly half of 2018.
2) Mike Locksley, never an NFL job
3) Major Applewhite, ditto
3) Lane Kiffin, 2007-08 Raiders was a very different period of life for Joey Freshwater and his philosophy between then and now at Ole Miss. Also, JaMarcus Russell. Incomplete in more ways than the LSU product's arm.
4) Jim McElwain. Only spent a single year in the NFL coaching-wise, as Oakland's QB coach in 2006. 2-14, led by passers Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks.
5) Doug Nussmeier, Rams QB coach from 2006-07, Cowboys TE coach 2018-19, and QB coach 2020-present. I can't fully evaluate this but he seems like he's had the most success of these guys, with one exception...
6) Brian Daboll. I'm not as sure about the Giants doing nearly as well next season, felt they were very lucky. But to me, he's clearly a sharp, excellent mind that has translated back and forth between the college and NFL game.
 

Deathofthebambino

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They NEED to succeed this year on offense. This was a big deal this offseason, you got your guy. You can't then go fumble through the season again with a guy you're not dedicated to. BoB isn't going to come in blindly accepting Mac and the QB. There's a lot of film on him at this point, he'll look at that film and determine his faults are either fixable or they're not.
If it's not Mac, who do you think they could possibly bring in that wouldn't also be "fumbling through the season again with a guy you're not dedicated to?"

I just don't see any way this isn't Mac's team for this season, it's make it or break it time.

That said, if the only major change they make to this offense is BoB, while a big step up from Patricia, they won't be much better especially after they let Jakobi walk. They need to put a couple more coaches in place, fix the offensive line and find at least 1, hopefully 2 guys that are actual playmakers that defenses have to respect.
 

lexrageorge

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Agreed. Mac is BoB's project for next year, whether he likes it or not. I'd guess it's going to take a total bedshitting on Mac's part to get anyone else behind center before the bye week.
And Bill O'Brien took the job knowing that BB shops for the groceries; it's BoB's job to make it work.

Barring a QB unexpectedly falling in their lap (hint: it won't be Lamar Jackson), Mac is the QB going in, with Zappe as the likely backup. Year 3 is the make or break year for QB's in the NFL.
 

BaseballJones

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Isn’t saying he ran a good offense at Alabama like saying he’s a good singer in a studio with autotune? Is there a track record of Alabama OC’s having success in the NFL?
I don’t know who all has served as OC at Alabama. But we know O’Brien has been good in the NFL and he obviously ran a successful offense at Alabama the past two seasons. I’m just disagreeing with the claim made earlier that he’s a “dinosaur”.
 

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Yeah, I don't care if B.O.B wasn't creative at Alabama, yes college has more innovative, gimmicky Offensive Coordinators, who then do nothing in the NFL or flame out. B.O.B is a proven pro coach, who coach Alabama like a pro coach. Their offense was good with arguably their worst talent in quite a while, and scored under 30 in regulation once all year. Fans just like to blame the OC at Alabama for everything, because if you criticize the defense it's associated with Lord Saban, who cannot be faulted.

The Patriots don't need a flashy offense, they need a functional one.
 

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Yeah, I don't care if B.O.B wasn't creative at Alabama, yes college has more innovative, gimmicky Offensive Coordinators, who then do nothing in the NFL or flame out. B.O.B is a proven pro coach, who coach Alabama like a pro coach. Their offense was good with arguably their worst talent in quite a while, and scored under 30 in regulation once all year. Fans just like to blame the OC at Alabama for everything, because if you criticize the defense it's associated with Lord Saban, who cannot be faulted.

The Patriots don't need a flashy offense, they need a functional one.
This was the whole problem all season. Really interested in the o-line coach. If it's Marrone or Klemm I'm ecstatic for next year.
 

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Play design aside, I think this past year's offense would have been much improved with better discipline (fewer debilitating penalties, especially in the red zone or in short-yardage) and from more expedient calling of plays into the huddle (thus cutting way down on Delay of Game penalties).
You left out players running into each other on the field. I expect O'B can largely eliminate that issue.
 

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He’s a very experienced, successful OC who’s had success at every stop. He worked very effectively with Brady. He developed Watson into an excellent young QB, notwithstanding his off field garbage. I mean, Young won the Heisman and they went to the national championship game his first year on the job. I don’t watch Bama closely enough to know exactly what happened this year, but I really doubt it was him suddenly not knowing how to run an offense. This stuff feels like the kind of kick him on the way out the door that is common in sports these days.
 

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He’s a very experienced, successful OC who’s had success at every stop. He worked very effectively with Brady. He developed Watson into an excellent young QB, notwithstanding his off field garbage. I mean, Young won the Heisman and they went to the national championship game his first year on the job. I don’t watch Bama closely enough to know exactly what happened this year, but I really doubt it was him suddenly not knowing how to run an offense. This stuff feels like the kind of kick him on the way out the door that is common in sports these days.
What happened is they lost a game in which they scored 42 offensive points and put up 569 yards because they couldn't figure out that Jalin Hyatt is allowed to catch passes. If their defense was anywhere near as good as past years they make the playoffs.
 

DJnVa

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Also, per Lazar, BoB will be in Vegas at the Shrine Bowl with the staff.

Lazar on what the offense could look like: Analysis: What Will the Patriots Offense Look Like With Bill O'Brien Returning as Offensive Coordinator?

First, New England will thankfully get away from attacking the deep part of the field out of their shotgun formations as they did last year and return to winning in the middle of the field. For years, the Pats offense has dominated between the numbers. Under Patricia, they wanted to unlock more vertical elements in the passing game, but the results were inconsistent.
Another O'Brienism is how he coaches progression reads for quarterbacks. O'Brien will always design plays for the quarterback to start on the vertical read and then work their eyes back to the horizontal routes. For instance, if it's a right-to-left progression read, the vertical routes will be to the quarterback's right, and he'll work to the horizontal reads on his left.
 

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If BB is committed to Mac, then so is BoB. There is no chance that Bill was hiring an OC who maybe wants to bring in another QB if he's decided year 3 of Mac needs to be the year in which they decide whether he's a long term solution or whether they need to move on.

OTOH, if BB left the door open for BOB to play someone else at QB, then maybe we'll see it. But who would that be? My bet is that BOB knows that part of what he's been hired for is to run an offense that will allow the Pats to see whether Mac can be a productive NFL QB, or whether last year's issues were as much him as the line and the play calling. Count me in on 100% chance that (barring injury) Mac is the starter for the season unless he craps the bed so badly that they have no choice but to pull him.
 

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If BB is committed to Mac, then so is BoB. There is no chance that Bill was hiring an OC who maybe wants to bring in another QB if he's decided year 3 of Mac needs to be the year in which they decide whether he's a long term solution or whether they need to move on.

OTOH, if BB left the door open for BOB to play someone else at QB, then maybe we'll see it. But who would that be? My bet is that BOB knows that part of what he's been hired for is to run an offense that will allow the Pats to see whether Mac can be a productive NFL QB, or whether last year's issues were as much him as the line and the play calling. Count me in on 100% chance that (barring injury) Mac is the starter for the season unless he craps the bed so badly that they have no choice but to pull him.
I would assume BB is bringing in BOB because he wants him as the OC, but that they discussed what kind of moves Bill is looking at all over the offense, but particularly QB and BOB is comfortable with them.

I would also guess that barring something falling in their lap they plan to use this as the evaluation year for Mac since he's been inconsistent and the 5th year option decision looms.
 

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I would assume BB is bringing in BOB because he wants him as the OC, but that they discussed what kind of moves Bill is looking at all over the offense, but particularly QB and BOB is comfortable with them.

I would also guess that barring something falling in their lap they plan to use this as the evaluation year for Mac since he's been inconsistent and the 5th year option decision looms.
Not sure if you were agreeing or disagreeing with me, but this is probably better said than the way I said it and I agree.
 

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We've also heard that the Krafts believe in Jones. BOB would be very familiar with Jones from watching old Bama tape when he was learning Bama's system. There's nothing about this that suggests anything other than "see if Jones can be a good NFL starter in year three with a true pro-fessional OC.
 

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Considering that BOB's tenure here coincided with the greatest double-headed TE attack the league has ever seen (albeit with the greatest TE the league has ever seen and another ace, minus the murdery bits), I wonder if we will see one more go at the Henry/Smith pairing to see if BOB can unlock something there.
 

BaseballJones

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Also, per Lazar, BoB will be in Vegas at the Shrine Bowl with the staff.

Lazar on what the offense could look like: Analysis: What Will the Patriots Offense Look Like With Bill O'Brien Returning as Offensive Coordinator?
Man I think I know football pretty well. Then I read that article and I'm like...I'm a total neophyte.

Nevertheless....what I *did* understand makes me giddy for this coming season. With Patricia it seemed like receivers were in each other's way, there was no coordination, and there was tons of confusion. What I see from that article is a comprehensive plan that incorporates the skills of each player within a system designed to take advantage of whatever the defense is doing. In other words, Patricia seemed like....ME...running the offense, and O'Brien seems like an actual qualified professional.
 

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Considering that BOB's tenure here coincided with the greatest double-headed TE attack the league has ever seen (albeit with the greatest TE the league has ever seen and another ace, minus the murdery bits), I wonder if we will see one more go at the Henry/Smith pairing to see if BOB can unlock something there.
Saying Henry/Smith pairing is like saying candyman--if you do it three times Super Nomario and SMU shows up in the thread ready to kill. (I think they're basically right, neither Henry not Smith are effective enough blockers for one to be a primary blocker in the scheme a la gronk. I do wonder if BoB is tempted to add the notre dame TE myers--who I think is a good blocker although opinions vary--and then you could run two and three TE formations with Myers and either one of Smith/Henry.
 

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Isn’t saying he ran a good offense at Alabama like saying he’s a good singer in a studio with autotune? Is there a track record of Alabama OC’s having success in the NFL?
Historically yes but AL has had a significant offensive talent drop off the last couple years. 2023 will be the first year they haven't had a WR selected in the first round of the draft since 2019, compare that to 2021 when they had 2 WR among the first 15 picks (Waddle/Devontae Smith).
Must suck to be Mac knowing the best WR group you will ever likely play with was your last yr in college.
 

DJnVa

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Best part is him saying that teams need to play fast. Team will put in 6 plays or so, depending on matchup, and code them with 1 word. Get to line, call one word, and go.

6:05 in "We hate the Jets. Some guys in here probably like the Jets. There's always Jets fans in Florida. That's your problem, not mine." Then "They're trying to cover this guy from 10 yards off. That's ridiculous. That's why they're the Jets and we're the Patriots."
 
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8slim

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Considering that BOB's tenure here coincided with the greatest double-headed TE attack the league has ever seen (albeit with the greatest TE the league has ever seen and another ace, minus the murdery bits), I wonder if we will see one more go at the Henry/Smith pairing to see if BOB can unlock something there.
That was such a unique circumstance, I think it'd be impossible to replicate it given who we have on the roster. I imagine they'd love to cut Jonnu if it's not a cap killer. And they desperately need a legit blocking TE to complement their OL rebuild.
 

ehaz

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Which team had a better group of skill position players (outside of QB): 2020 Alabama or 2019 LSU?
2019 LSU > 2020 Alabama.

2019 LSU vs 2019 Alabama is the tougher question. LSU’s top end talent (Chase and Jefferson) is better but that Alabama WR room had insane depth:
- Jerry Jeudy
- Henry Ruggs
- Devonta Smith
- Jaylen Waddle
- John Metchie

Plus Najee at RB. And I think they had Irv Smith Jr at TE too?

LSU had Terrance Marshall (2nd round pick) in addition to the big guys. Hasn’t done much as a pro but Carolina is a dumpster fire and he did flash at times this year. And obviously CEH.
 

ehaz

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Best part is him saying that teams need to play fast. Team will put in 6 plays or so, depending on matchup, and code them with 1 word. Get to line, call one word, and go.

6:05 in "We hate the Jets. Some guys in here probably like the Jets. There's always Jets fans in Florida. That's your problem, not mine." Then "They're trying to cover this guy from 10 yards off. That's ridiculous. That's why they're the Jets and we're the Patriots."
Lazar brought this video up during his podcast today in the context of potential offensive personnel changes for running BOB's offense. He noted emphasized that BOB repeatedly said you need your quickest player in that #3 spot, and how having a very quick (not necessarily fast) slot receiver is crucial for BOB's other concepts as well. Lazar also speculated that Meyers might not be the ideal guy to run that stuff with under BOB, and brought up that it might not make sense to spend ~$14M on him for that reason. Brought up draft prospects like Flowers and JSN who could potentially play that role as well as throwing out Jeudy's name.
 
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Lazar brought this video up during his podcast today in the context of potential offensive personnel changes for running BOB's offense. He noted emphasized that BOB repeatedly said you need your quickest player in that #3 spot, and how having a very quick (not necessarily fast) slot receiver is crucial for BOB's other concepts as well. Lazar also speculated that Meyers might not be the ideal guy to run that stuff with under BOB, and brought up that it might not make sense to spend ~$14M on him for that reason. Brought up draft prospects like Flowers and JSN who could potentially play that role as well as throwing out Jeudy's name.
I wonder if Marcus Jones could fill that role. Obviously some learning curve but he has the quickness (and is fast).
 

DJnVa

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Lazar brought this video up during his podcast today in the context of potential offensive personnel changes for running BOB's offense. He noted emphasized that BOB repeatedly said you need your quickest player in that #3 spot, and how having a very quick (not necessarily fast) slot receiver is crucial for BOB's other concepts as well. Lazar also speculated that Meyers might not be the ideal guy to run that stuff with under BOB, and brought up that it might not make sense to spend ~$14M on him for that reason. Brought up draft prospects like Flowers and JSN who could potentially play that role as well as throwing out Jeudy's name.
I was listening to that podcast as well--interesting that they mentioned that the offense took away/downgraded a lot of the pre-snap protection changes. For the most part the protection called in the huddle was going to be the protection on the play.
 

BaseballJones

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I was listening to that podcast as well--interesting that they mentioned that the offense took away/downgraded a lot of the pre-snap protection changes. For the most part the protection called in the huddle was going to be the protection on the play.
Do you mean the Patricia offense took away Mac's ability to change protection, or BOB's offense takes that away from his QBs?
 

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https://www.bostonherald.com/2023/01/26/inside-the-most-dysfunctional-patriots-season-under-bill-belichick-ive-never-seen-anything-like-it/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_content=tw-bosheraldsports&utm_campaign=socialflow

They mess we all saw from the outside looking in was only worse on the inside apparently.

As Patricia came under outside fire as the face of the offense, Judge drew increasing criticism from within. Belichick would blast him in practice, and it wasn’t uncommon for Judge and Jones to trade profanity-laced outbursts. Jones’ trust in his position coach was effectively non-existent.
“Mac didn’t like him,” one source said. “At all.”
Patricia’s cripplingly conservative play-calling reined the offense in during a 24-10 Thursday night home loss to Buffalo. Veteran wide receiver Kendrick Bourne became the public face of frustrations, when he told reporters post-game the Patriots needed to “scheme up better” and be more aggressive. Others in the locker room agreed, believing Patricia had called the game “scared” to avoid getting blown out.
“That game was bull—,” one source said.
 

BaseballJones

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Yeah I just read that article. Absolutely brutal. What a catastrophe. BUT....it does give me hope, because it really seems like it wasn't a player issue, it was 98% a coaching issue, which, hopefully, has been fixed.
 

BaseballJones

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I assume you know by know if you read the article, but Patricia's offense...
Yes, agreed.

So all this being said, I'm incredibly optimistic about next season. I assume Mac isn't "broken", but rather that he performed poorly in a terrible, awful situation, and that it's very fixable. I wonder also whether some of what we saw as terrible O-line play was actually the result of this bad coaching. As in, we think the players just sucked, but if they weren't even getting practice reps doing the things they were being asked to do, how do you expect them to perform well?

I still think they need some talent upgrade, especially on the OL, but man, my level of optimism for next season has gone up considerably.