It appears the New England Patriots may have to learn a new offense for the second time in as many offseasons.
The Patriots attempted to "streamline" their offense last spring and summer after Matt Patricia replaced Josh McDaniels as offensive play-caller, and the results were disastrous: The team averaged just 314.6 yards per game (26th in the NFL) while players publicly and privately criticized the scattered offensive approach.
Enter new offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien, who was hired to help right the offensive ship in 2023. Not surprisingly, he plans to blow up the old system.
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While discussing the possibility of a quarterback competition between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe this offseason, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer revealed that O'Brien plans to make dramatic changes to the Patriots' offense.
"That could be especially complicated too by the fact that you're putting in essentially a new offense," Breer told co-hosts Phil Perry and Trenni Casey on NBC Sports Boston's Early Edition Thursday night, as seen in the video above. "My understanding is Bill O'Brien is completely reworking the playbook with the new coaches."
New England Patriots
O'Brien has plenty of experience to draw from; he spent five years with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011, serving as offensive coordinator in 2011 before stints at Penn State (head coach, 2012 to 2013), the Houston Texans (head coach, 2014 to 2020) and Alabama (offensive coordinator, 2021 to 2022).
Breer suggested O'Brien will use all of that experience in overhauling New England's offense.
"I think it's going to be a hybrid of a lot of different things," Breer said. "I think it's going to have some stuff that they did at Alabama that Mac is going to be comfortable with, because Mac was at Alabama. ... (O'Brien) coached Deshaun Watson in Houston, he coached Bryce Young the last couple years at Alabama, so he's got a lot of different ideas.
"I think he's got really great perspective because he does have the bones of the Patriots offense, but he's gonna be able to do some things that I think are on the cutting edge of where the sport is going."
That should be music to the ears of Patriots fans who watched the offense stagnate under Patricia and Jones in 2022. But this also means that Jones will have to learn a new playbook for the third time in three seasons, which is a lot of change for a young QB.
The final product of O'Brien's offense should look a lot better, but how quickly Jones and his teammates pick it up will be a very interesting storyline this summer.