The teams agreed to a deal Tuesday for O’Brien to become their next offensive coordinator, a position he held for the 2011 season.
O’Brien has spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator under Nick Saban at Alabama, and he coached Bryce Young to a Heisman Trophy in 2021 in his first year with the team. He now returns to the NFL where he began his career as a coaching assistant over 15 years ago.
In that first stint in New England, O’Brien quickly became a notable name on Bill Belichick’s staff as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He spent three years (2009-11) in that role before departing for head-coaching positions with Penn State (2012-13) and the Houston Texans (2014-20).
Most notably with Penn State, O’Brien took the job after the overhauling the program and school underwent following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Penn State wasn’t a job many people were clamoring for but O’Brien took it and kick-started a turnaround that James Franklin continues with today.
As for New England, Belichick didn’t name an official offensive coordinator for the Patriots in 2022, leaning on Matt Patricia as the primary play-caller after he spent an entire career as a defensive play-caller and head coach in the NFL.
The lack of offensive clarity resulted in the Patriots having one of the worst-ranked offenses in the NFL. Now he is set to work with another former Alabama quarterback, Mac Jones, as he hopes to help turn the Patriots back into a force in the AFC East.
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