The New England Patriots’ coaching search for a new offensive coordinator might have hit another snag, with one of their top targets reportedly holding concerns about the job.
After meeting with owner Robert Kraft, who voiced his displeasure with the Patriots’ offense in 2022, head coach Bill Belichick is making changes. New England is conducting a more thorough search for its next offensive coordinator, just one year after Belichick put Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in charge of play-calling.
Change became inevitable after a 2022 season that fell far short of the organization’s expectations. Quarterback Mac Jones showed signs of alarming regression and the Patriots’ offense finished near the bottom of the league in major statistical categories.
After being fired by the Arizona Cardinals, Kliff Kingsbury generated buzz as a potential option to become New England’s offensive play-caller. However, he is reportedly vacationing in Thailand and informed NFL teams he isn’t interested in coaching anytime soon.
Meanwhile, former New York Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur could soon be off the market. He received immediate interest after parting ways with New York and is expected to be hired by Sean McVay as the next Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator. With the options dwindling, New England might now have to address reservations about the job held by another target.
According to Greg A. Bedard of the Boston Sports Journal, Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien isn’t completely sold on the idea of returning to the Patriots. While he is open to coaching in the NFL, he also doesn’t want Belichick to dictate the offense.
“Last I heard, and this can change as quickly as the Patriots’ policy on commenting on contracts, he was not gung-ho about this gig due to the lack in clarity about the setup. If Belichick told O’Brien he had autonomy, including over assistants, that might make it more attractive.”New England Patriots insider Greg A Bedard on Bill O’Brien
Losing out on three quality candidates for offensive coordinator would be a troubling start for the Patriots’ offseason. Many of Belichick’s top assistants left him in 2022 when Josh McDaniels took over as the Las Vegas Raiders coach. Thus far, Belichick has not found quality replacements.
It adds to the mounting pressure the future Hall of Famer is under. While it’s unlikely that Belichick would ever be fired, the Patriots don’t currently project as a playoff contender in 2023. If they miss the postseason for the third time in four seasons, a mutual separation isn’t out of the question.