Former Patriots player is highly optimistic Bill O'Brien will improve offense

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Former Patriots player is highly optimistic O'Brien will improve offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots' decision to hire Bill O'Brien as their new offensive coordinator has generated a massive amount of reaction over the last few days.

Most of the reaction has been positive.

O'Brien has enjoyed a successful coaching career, most recently as the OC at Alabama, where Crimson Tide quarterback Bryce Young won the 2021 Heisman Trophy and the offense as a whole averaged 40 points per game over the last two seasons.

Former players also are speaking out in favor of O'Brien.

Rob Gronkowski said Wednesday that New England's offense will improve "tremendously" with O'Brien running the show. Gronk also said he "loved" playing for O'Brien.

Another ex-Patriots player who is optimistic O'Brien will bolster the offense is Rich Ohrnberger. He was a fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2009 and played 18 games in New England as an offensive lineman from 2009 through 2012.

 Next Pats Podcast: DETAILS: How Bill O’Brien will breathe new life into the Patriots’ offense | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

Ohrnberger joined the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast with our Phil Perry. He's confident the Patriots offense will put more pressure on opposing defenses with O'Brien leading the way.

"The most important thing is play sequencing, which means what play are you running as a result of a play that you've shown a week ago, a couple of weeks ago, earlier in the game," Ohrnberger said. "What formations are those plays coming from? What motion are you running in conjunction with that play to confuse the defense?

"You can confuse the defense and run a whole lot of pretty vanilla offensive plays as long as you dress them up, so to speak, with varieties of formations and personnel groups and motion packages to confuse defenders. And Billy O'Brien is one of the best in the game at doing that."

Attention to detail is an important aspect of any offense, and the Patriots were lacking in this area throughout the 2022 season. Bad penalties, poor situational awareness and a lack of execution consistently plagued the offense.

Ohrnberger thinks that O'Brien, as a great teacher who has a vast understanding of each position's duties, will get the Patriots back on track in this facet of the game.

Perry: Patriots' coaching setup at Shrine Bowl raises a few questions

"He's an educator to the granular level when he needs to be," Ohrnberger said. "He can focus on pass protection or run blocking scheme. He can also focus on how soon or how quick you need to come out of a break if you're a receiver. And also the timing of the throws or the path that the quarterback takes to the junction point in the backfield with the running back, or the width of the running back on a running play so he's hitting his landmark so you have success in following blocks on a run play.

"He has all those things dialed in so tightly that it doesn't matter what position group you played in New England while Billy O'Brien was there, he could speak to you as if he could coach that position group. And what a compliment to give to an offensive coordinator because that's the job, that's the role of coordinator is to have, you know, sort of your finger in all those pies to understand the game, the complexity of what you're trying to accomplish offensively at that level where you can communicate seamlessly with all the position groups. My descriptions of him would be similar to a lot of guys -- fiery, passionate, but he's also a tremendous educator, and that is paramount if you're gonna be successful coaching in this league."

That sounds exactly like what the Patriots need from their offensive coordinator next season.

Also in this episode: Perry talks to Eric Galko, the director of football operations for the Shrine Bowl, about the role of the Patriots’ coaching staff and potential draft fits from the 2023 Shrine Bowl.