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New England Patriots reportedly hiring Bill O'Brien as offensive coordinator

Sports Final: What makes Bill O'Brien the best fit for Patriots?
Sports Final: What makes Bill O'Brien the best fit for Patriots? 01:01

BOSTON -- The Patriots have made their choice at offensive coordinator, and they are going with Bill O'Brien.

O'Brien's return to New England was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Low on Tuesday morning.

O'Brien had been considered the favorite to land the job, given his vast experience as an offensive play-caller and his five years of experience working on Bill Belichick's staff. Still, the Patriots conducted a full search, interviewing current tight ends coach Nick Caley, Cardinals wide receivers coach/associate head coach Shawn Jefferson, Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell, and Oregon associate head coach/run game coordinator/offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. Jefferson and Klemm previously played for the Patriots, while McCardell played under Belichick in Cleveland.

The 53-year-old O'Brien is a Massachusetts native who grew up in Andover and played college football at Brown University. He spent 14 years coaching in the college ranks, working as offensive coordinator for Georgia Tech and Duke, before joining the Patriots' staff in 2007 as an offensive assistant. He was named wide receivers coach in 2008, and he became the offensive play-caller after Josh McDaniels left in 2009. O'Brien officially got the OC title in 2011, when the Patriots made it to Super Bowl XLVI.

O'Brien left New England to take the Penn State head coaching job, following in the footsteps of Joe Paterno in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. O'Brien led the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record before jumping back to the NFL to become the head coach of the Houston Texans.

O'Brien inherited a Texans team that went 2-14 in the previous season, guiding them to 9-7 records in his first three years on the job. In his six seasons, O'Brien compiled a 52-48 record with the Texans, where he also became the general manager in 2020.

After that, O'Brien became offensive coordinator for the Alabama Crimson Tide, spending some time with Mac Jones -- who was prepping for the NFL draft -- to learn some of the team's offensive concepts more quickly.

New England's need for an offensive coordinator was apparent for the entirety of 2022, following McDaniels' second departure from the team. Matt Patricia was tasked with calling plays, despite having no experience doing so on offense, with the equally inexperienced Joe Judge working as his right-hand man and the quarterbacks coach. The Patriots ranked 26th in yards, 25th in points per drive, 28th in time of possession, 27th on third down, and dead last in the red zone. Though Belichick offered little in the way of evaluation of the coaching staff in his season-ending media availability, the team sent out a press release a few days later announcing that the search for a new offensive coordinator had begun.

All along, O'Brien was expected to be the pick. Now, he's tasked with turning around the New England offense and helping the team win a postseason game for the first time since 2018.

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