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Patriots Rumors: Alabama's Bill O'Brien 'a Strong Option to' Be Bill Belichick's OC

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 24, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - JANUARY 10: Alabama Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator Bill O'Brien looks on prior to a game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the 2022 CFP National Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 10, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bill O'Brien is considered a "strong option" to be the New England Patriots offensive coordinator next season, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

O'Brien is currently in his second season as offensive coordinator the University of Alabama, leading a unit that ranks fourth in college football with 40.8 points scored per game. He spent the previous seven years as head coach of the Houston Texans, producing a 52-48 record before being fired early in the 2020 season.

The Patriots don't currently have an official offensive coordinator, with offensive line coach Matt Patricia and quarterbacks coach Joe Judge sharing main responsibilities. Patricia, who had mostly been a defensive coach during his career, has been the primary play-caller.

Josh McDaniels had been the team's offensive coordinator for each of the last 10 years before becoming head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

The offense has struggled under the new staff this season, ranking 25th in total yards and 17th in points scored with 21.4 points per game. The squad averaged 27.2 points per game in 2021, ranking sixth in the NFL.

Quarterback Mac Jones, who earned a Pro Bowl selection last season and finished second in voting for Offensive Rookie of the Year, has taken a step back in Year 2 with just seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions in 11 games.

Jones' Total QBR has dropped from 50.9 last year to 30.6 in 2022, which ranks 32 of 33 qualified quarterbacks.

O'Brien, who like Jones has spent time with both Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, could provide a boost for the former Alabama quarterback.

From 2007-11, O'Brien worked as an offensive assistant, receivers coach, quarterback coach and offensive coordinator for the Patriots. He led the offense in 2011, helping the team finish second in the NFL in total yards and third in points scored before making a trip to the Super Bowl.

The squad ultimately lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.