Bill O'Brien is returning to Foxborough.
NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday that the New England Patriots are expected to hire O'Brien as their new offensive coordinator, per sources informed of the situation. O'Brien was in the Patriots' building on Monday. The Patriots confirmed O'Brien's hiring on Jan. 26, saying that he will serve as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for New England.
The 53-year-old spent five seasons under Bill Belichick from 2007-2011, rising from an offensive assistant, receivers coach, QB coach, and finally to OC. Despite having the coordinator title for just one season, O'Brien was considered the primary play-caller after Josh McDaniels left for the first time following the 2008 season.
"I am looking forward to working with Bill again," Belichick said in a statement. "He is an outstanding coach and an asset to our staff."
After a two-year stint as head coach at Penn State, O'Brien was hired by the Houston Texans, where he held the big chair from 2014 until he was fired early in the 2020 campaign.
The Massachusetts native always seemed to be the favorite to return to New England as Belichick attempts to fix an offense that cratered in 2022. The Pats' decision to trust assistants Matt Patricia and Joe Judge (neither of whom had an offensive background) with the offensive scheme proved disastrous.
New England's offense was a bland amalgam of disjointed plays that never found a rhythm, lacked logic, and leaned too heavily on the quick game. Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph's candid comments during the season that the New England offense was how "a defensive guy would call offensive plays" were spot on.
Now Belichick will bring back an offensive mind.
O'Brien's familiarity with quarterback Mac Jones should help the offense get off to a more productive offseason O'Brien and Jones worked together during Bama's National Championship season in 2020, and NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported that Jones helped get O'Brien familiar with the Crimson Tide's system when he arrived.