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Longtime friend and colleague John Perry on what Bill O'Brien will do for Patriots' offense, Mac Jones

Sports Final: Dan Roche chats with John Perry -- longtime friend and colleague of Bill O'Brien
Sports Final: Dan Roche chats with John Perry -- longtime friend and colleague of Bill O'Brien 03:43

BOSTON -- Folks around New England have a pretty good idea of who Bill O'Brien is, considering he's a native New Englander himself. We also got a pretty good idea of what O'Brien will bring to the sideline for the Patriots thanks to his first run with the team from 2007-11.

The fiery O'Brien is back in Foxboro and once again at the helm of the New England offense. He was officially hired as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last week. The move gives the Patriots a true offensive mind to run that side of the ball, and Mac Jones someone who knows what they're doing to help him shake off a lost second season in the league.

Hopes are high that O'Brien will be able to right the ship for New England, and rightfully so. The success that he and the Patriots enjoyed in his first stint as the team's OC earned him head-coaching gigs at Penn State and with the Houston Texans. He enjoyed success at both stops, though his first stint as an NFL head coach ended unceremoniously in 2020.

Growing up in Andover, O'Brien has plenty of friends around town that will vouch for his coaching abilities. But John Perry's opinion of O'Brien goes a lot further than just their friendship. Perry has also shared the sideline with O'Brien, and knows exactly how the coach ticks.

Perry and O'Brien grew up together in Andover and have been great friends since they were 10. There were many days spent together on the ball field when they were young, and O'Brien was around the Perry home so much that he was often referred to as the sixth Perry son.

The two went to different high schools -- O'Brien to St. John's Prep and Perry to Andover High -- but they remained close. They kept in touch throughout college as well, when O'Brien played at Brown and Perry at UNH. When Perry got his first job on a college staff, joining Mark Whipple's staff at Brown as a wide receiver coach, O'Brien was there as a linebackers coach.

The two lived together in Providence, and that was just the start of a long working relationship between Perry and O'Brien. When O'Brien first joined the staff in New England, Perry was the head coach at Merrimack and had his good pall in to address his team.

When O'Brien got the head coaching job in Houston, he brought Perry in as the team's tight ends coach. Perry held that position for three years before moving over to coach Houston's receivers, which he held until O'Brien's time was up with the Texans in 2020.

Perry, whose family has a long history of coaching football, had plenty to say about O'Brien and his future with the Patriots over the weekend. Chatting with Dan Roche for Sunday night's Sports Final on WBZ-TV, Perry said that there will be no questions regarding O'Brien's expectations for everyone on the New England offense.

"He brought an energy and organization where everyone understood what all the expectations were. Everyone knew what was expected of them on a daily basis," said Perry.

"He is super organized, which is really what separates him from the average coach," Perry added. "He knows exactly what he wants to do and is very meticulous about how he does it. Those organizational skills are impeccable."

What Perry is most impressed with is O'Brien's ability to evaluate strengths and weaknesses, especially at the quarterback position.

"[In Houston], he was able to win with, I think it was seven different quarterbacks in our time there, whether it was Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler, or Brian Hoyer. He always saw the good in those guys and what they could bring to the table, and always accentuated that when it came to game plans and to the practice plans," said Perry. "He gave those guys a platform to be leaders, and that's what really separated us, I believe."

Though Mac Jones struggled in his second season, with the offensively-inexperienced Matt Patricia and Joe Judge serving has his primary coaches, having O'Brien in his corner should make a huge difference in year three.

"I know that is what he's going to be able to do with Mac Jones. In this process, Coach O'Brien's idea was that these guys are all talented, we just have to find that talent and really utilize it," he said.

After a disappointing offensive season for the Patriots in 2022, Perry doesn't think it will take long for O'Brien to gain the trust of players in New England. 

"I gravitated to him very quickly when I was 10. He has that quality where he can bring out the best in people and you believe in his passion," said Perry, who is now the offensive coordinator at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. "That's why you fight harder and try harder."

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