BOSTON -- The Patriots' offense has reached the nadir, and everyone involved with the process has reached the status of beleaguered. With the offense ranking 31st in scoring and 25th in yards gained, it's been a painful slog to a 2-9 record thus far.
As a result, naturally, many people are calling for jobs. Whether it's head coach Bill Belichick or quarterback Mac Jones, there's a growing number of voices for significant changes to be made.
On Tuesday, the architect and engineer of that offense spoke to the media and welcomed all of the blame to be placed on him, while also defending both Belichick and Jones.
"This is Bill Belichick we're talking about," O'Brien said when asked how he responds to speculation about Belichick's job status. "Bill Belichick has done so much for the game of football, the New England Patriots organization. It's football, we've lost some tight games. You know, to think about what he's done here in this organization, what he's done for this community, what he's done for this game -- for the game, the game of football. He's been 50 years in the game of football. Just to me, like, I think everybody just needs to understand look, we've all got to win. We understand we're in a winning business. We're not winning right now. But I think you've also got to step back and just [say], 'Hey, look at what this guy's done for the game of football.' I think that's very important to think about."
O'Brien is in his second stint working for Belichick, after working as an assistant coach in New England from 2007-11. The 54-year-old left no ambiguity about his loyalty with that answer.
As for Jones, O'Brien is in his first year working with the 25-year-old quarterback. And though Jones appears to be getting worse as the season goes on, the offensive coordinator/quarterback coach wants the blame placed on the coaching, not the player.
"I think what I see is that he's a very bright guy. He works very hard. He's passionate about the game," O'Brien said of Jones. "Things haven't gone great for him this year. I don't think that he's the number one guy to blame. If you want to blame anybody, blame me. I'm the one that designs it, and it's not going very well."
O'Brien admitted the obvious, that there are things Jones can do better when he's given opportunities in games. But O'Brien doesn't think that only applies to one player.
"There's things that all of us have to do better to put a winning product on the field. And right now that's not what it is," O'Brien said. "So I think he's, what I see is a very confident guy that is a very bright guy, very hard-working guy that will continue to work hard and try to improve on the things he needs to improve on."
O'Brien was asked where his own confidence level is in himself at this point in time. He said he's confident, and he's been confident in multiple game plans this year, only for the results to not align with those plans.
"I do think that it's a collective effort that we all have to be better. I don't think you can blame one player. You can't blame one person. I don't think it is about blame. You know, I think it's about football. And the teams that we've played have made less mistakes than we have offensively. And that's why we've lost," O'Brien said.
While O'Brien didn't give any indication on a starting quarterback for this week, he and the Patriots' offense will look to reach double digits in points for the first time since Week 9 when they host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
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