The New England Patriots didn’t have an offensive coordinator in 2022, with Bill Belichick relying upon assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge to handle the responsibilities. Following a disappointing 2022 season, changes are coming in 2023.
Very few people outside of Belichick saw believed putting Patricia and Judge in charge of the offense would yield positive results. After watching Josh McDaniels leave and take top offensive assistants with him, Belichick opted for replacements he trusted over hiring the best coaches who could help the offense the most.
It took very little time for the warning signs to emerge out of the Patriots’ building. Players privately expressed concern regarding the direction of the offense early in the summer. Soon after, beat writers provided multiple alarming reports regarding the scheme and cohesion.
After missing the playoffs, largely because of an offense that ranked 24th in Offensive DVOA, New England is finally prepared to make changes. Let’s dive into the best Patriots offensive coordinator candidates in 2023.
Bill O’Brien, Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator
Bill O’Brien seemed to be on the Patriots’ radar in 2022. However, the former NFL and college football coach opted to remain at Alabama. It’s also believed that Belichick didn’t aggressively pursue the play-caller he holds in high regard because of the respect he has for Nick Saban.
New England can no longer afford to make its coaching decisions based on respect for other head coaches. The Patriots haven’t won a playoff game since the 2018 season and owner Robert Kraft has made it abundantly clear that standards aren’t being met. If the offense doesn’t take a significant step forward in 2023, it’s not out of the question that more drastic moves will happen.
The Patriots must show to Mac Jones this offseason that they are committed to putting him in a better position for success. One step toward accomplishing that is hiring a coach he holds a great relationship with and will and confidence working alongside. Alabama averaged 7.7 yards per play (3rd in FBS) with Jones under center during the 2020-’21 season, scoring 48.5 PPG. O’Brien’s relationship with Jones and his familiarity with the Patriots’ system makes him a perfect target.