The addition of Bill O'Brien as the new offensive coordinator is shaping up to be a massive upgrade for the New England Patriots.
O'Brien left the University of Alabama to join the Patriots -- where he coached from 2007 through 2012 -- in January. The Patriots offense struggled mightily throughout the 2022 season with Matt Patricia calling plays as the de facto offensive coordinator and Joe Judge serving as quarterbacks coach.
O'Brien has taken over both the OC and QB coach roles, and Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne is pretty happy with the transition so far.
"He's familiar with what he's doing, so it feels good," Bourne said Friday when asked about O'Brien after OTA practice at Gillette Stadium. "You can tell he knows what he's doing in all areas of the offense -- receiver, lineman, running back. He knows offense a lot, so it feels good."
Bourne added: "(O'Brien is) doing well. He knows how to engage with all of us, I feel like. He knows our traits right now and he knows where to put us, so it's been good," Bourne said. "We're still learning each other as a group, but he's doing well. You can tell he knows what he's doing."
New England Patriots
It's probably not a coincidence that Bourne mentioned multiple times that O'Brien "knows what he's doing." At times last season, it didn't look like the Patriots knew what they were doing offensively under Patricia and Judge. The offense struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone, the passing attack was inconsistent and the offensive line committed too many penalties, among other issues.
O'Brien is a true offensive mind who's enjoyed a ton of success on that side of the ball at the college and pro levels. Bourne is optimistic about what's to come based on what has transpired so far with O'Brien in charge.
"It just feels good. Change is good," Bourne said. "It's something we needed, I feel like. It's good. It feels good so far, so yeah, if that's what it's gonna be, then it's better so far."
After being one of the Patriots' most productive offensive players in 2021, Bourne saw his role decrease quite a bit in 2022. He tallied just 35 receptions for 434 yards and one touchdown in 16 games. That lone touchdown came in a Week 16 matchup versus the Cincinnati Bengals during which Bourne set season highs with six receptions and 100 yards.
Bourne is happy to move on, forget last season and make the most of another opportunity in New England.
"New year, new me, new us," Bourne said with a smile. "New everything. That's what we're focused on. That's always the goal every year is to move forward and be better."