New England Patriots followers have a protracted offseason checklist of needs. Atop these lists, many have famous the necessity for 1) a brand new offensive coordinator and a pair of) an elite perimeter receiver.
In his first season working the offense, Matt Patricia was merely outmatched, ill-prepared, and overwhelmed. This isn’t the job for him. Whether or not Belichick retains his providers and transitions him to a unique position (offensive line group or again to the defensive aspect of the ball) stays to be seen, however the Patriots brass has made it clear they are going to start their search for a brand new offensive coordinator this week.
One identify that popped up repeatedly final offseason and all through the common season is Alabama offensive coordinator Invoice O’Brien. A New England native, O’Brien served on the Patriots employees from 2007 by means of 2011, together with one season because the offensive coordinator earlier than transferring on to take the Penn State head teaching job.
As for huge receiver, the Patriots do have expertise in that room. New England should resolve whether or not to carry again unrestricted free brokers Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor. Kendrick Bourne supplied a late-season spark and seemed just like the participant who was a big contributor to the offense all through the 2021 season. Giving Tyquan Thornton extra reps in his second season ought to be a precedence, as he did flash at occasions. DeVante Parker battled harm for portion of the season, however in his 11 begins, he displayed the contested catch expertise that Pats followers anticipated after buying and selling for him final offseason.
That mentioned, the Patriots don’t have an elite wideout on their roster. Meyers is the closest factor to it, and resigning him this offseason ought to completely be on the to-do checklist. Meyers operates out of the slot, and the Patriots want a man who can constantly create separation on the surface. The identify that’s surfaced most steadily as of late is Arizona Cardinals huge receiver DeAndre Hopkins, rumored to be on the buying and selling block. A five-time Professional Bowler, Hopkins is on the improper aspect of 30 however remains to be among the many league’s elite on the place. On prime of that, the mutual respect between Hopkins and Coach Belichick has by no means been clearer than it was in Week 14.
The difficulty with these wishlists is that they usually don’t account for context. After Invoice O’Brien’s two-year stint because the Penn State head coach, he returned to the NFL as the pinnacle coach of the Houston Texans. In Houston, O’Brien spent six years teaching the aforementioned DeAndre Hopkins. The Texans received the AFC South 4 occasions of their time collectively however by no means made it previous the Divisional Spherical within the playoffs. Invoice O’Brien was in the end fired after 4 video games within the 2020 season, however not earlier than buying and selling away his star wideout to Arizona.
O’Brien has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on the College of Alabama ever since, pairing with Mac Jones to win a Nationwide Championship in 2021. O’Brien’s familiarity with Invoice Belichick and Mac Jones makes him the plain frontrunner for the offensive coordinator job. But when that’s the route the Patriots go, don’t financial institution on DeAndre Hopkins to observe go well with.
Hopkins has a no-trade clause and isn’t probably in a rush to hitch O’Brien. Regardless of the mutual respect with Coach Belichick, the connection between O’Brien and Hopkins throughout their time in Houston was icy at greatest. Hopkins famous in 2020 that whereas he has the “utmost respect for Coach O’Brien,” there was “no relationship” throughout their six years collectively. Furthermore, Hopkins steered that the nameless post-trade chatter round Hopkins’ acquaintances and perceived decline in manufacturing could have stemmed from Invoice O’Brien’s camp.
By all accounts, there is no such thing as a love misplaced between these two. Patriots followers could get one in every of these guys, however don’t financial institution on each.