If you’re going to hire friends instead of stepping outside of your comfort zone, at least hire qualified candidates. The New England Patriots‘ offense was horrific this season, and it’s entirely Bill Belichick’s fault. He’s a wizard when it comes to getting the most out of his defenses, but he failed his offense this year when he appointed Matt Patricia as the team’s offensive coordinator. Now, he redeems himself by hiring Bill O’Brien as the team’s offensive architect.
At this point, Belichick is hiring his friends. Luckily, he’s been in the game long enough that his Rolodex is extensive. It’s hard to really state how much of an improvement O’Brien will be over Patricia. Belichick is following up on a horrible hire that made Mac Jones look like his days as a starter could be numbered with a hire that might make him look like a franchise QB.
The Matt Patricia Disaster
Only the whole world, besides Belichick, saw these results from miles away. Patricia began his career coaching on both sides of the ball. Even when he ascended to New England, he coached offensive linemen, linebackers, and safeties before becoming Belichick’s defensive coordinator for six seasons.
Patricia hadn’t spent time exclusively on the offensive side of the ball since Soul Survivor was gracing the top of the rap charts. After his disastrous attempt at colonizing the Detroit Lions with the Patriot Way, the last thing Patricia or Belichick should have done was put him in an uncomfortable position.
The results? New England finished 22nd in dropback EPA, 26th in dropback success rate, 21st in rushing EPA, and 22nd in rushing success rate. Patricia tanked an offense Josh McDaniels got the most out of.
Bill O’Brien Is a Fine Hire
O’Brien is a good football coach. He’s just another example of how only Belichick can successfully instill the Patriot Way.
From the start, he was the obvious hire for the Patriots’ vacant OC position. Alabama fans are probably rejoicing at his departure, but Patriots fans should be equally excited about his arrival. O’Brien will add experience and consistency as a play-caller that New England lacked in 2022.
The Houston Texans finished eighth in EPA in 2019, O’Brien’s last full season with the team, and they went 10-6. After an 0-4 start in 2020, he was relieved of his team’s head coaching duties.
All the Patriots need is a bit of stability. The offense was 10th in EPA in 2021 before falling apart in 2022. They would have made the playoffs if their offense had been even average this season.
New England still has a strong offensive line. It will be fascinating to see how they handle Jakobi Meyers in the offseason and whether they add some more talent at the position to help aid the passing attack. At this point, it seems foolish to doubt Belichick’s ability to provide their offense with a top-10 defense to complement it.
And with that formula, New England should find itself in the thick of the playoff hunt once again.