The New England Patriots are taking a very different approach to the offensive coordinator position in 2023.
After declining to name an OC in 2022 and handing play-calling duties to senior football advisor/offensive line coach Matt Patricia, the Patriots said in explicit terms last Friday that they'll begin an official offensive coordinator search this week.
That search has begun in earnest, with Patriots tight ends coach Nick Caley and Minnesota Vikings wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell among those expected to interview for New England's OC opening.
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Expect more interviews going forward: Our Tom E. Curran reported that Alabama offensive coordinator (and former Patriots OC) Bill O'Brien is the Patriots' "primary target" for the offensive coordinator role, while Phil Perry has also floated possible names such as Cleveland Browns wide receivers coach Chad O'Shea, Los Angeles Rams passing game coordinator Zac Robinson and Browns quarterbacks coach Drew Petzing.
That's a lot of names to keep track of, but we've got you covered. Below is an updated list of every offensive coordinator candidate who has already interviewed with the Patriots or is expected to meet with the team.
Nick Caley, Patriots tight ends coach
Caley is well-respected in New England as one of the team's longest-tenured assistants; he joined the team as an offensive assistant in 2015. His contract reportedly is set to expire this offseason, however, and he's already drawing interest elsewhere: The New York Jets plan to interview Caley for their OC opening, per reports.
Caley's name was floated as a potential successor to Josh McDaniels last offseason, so he's an intriguing OC candidate. If he doesn't get the job, though, it sounds like he's a threat to leave the Patriots.
Keenan McCardell, Vikings wide receivers coach
McCardell played four seasons for Bill Belichick with the Cleveland Browns from 1992 to 1995, so he's in the "family," so to speak. He also has about a decade of experience as an NFL wide receivers coach and has found plenty of success coaching superstar Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson in Minnesota.
It's also worth noting that the Patriots need to abide by the Rooney Rule, which requires NFL teams to interview at least one minority candidate for vacant head coach and coordinator roles. Interviewing McCardell would satisfy that rule, but McCardell is a strong OC candidate of his own merit who appears on track to land a coordinator job in the near future.
Adrian Klemm, Oregon associate head coach
Klemm is a surprise addition to this list, but he's plenty familiar with the Patriots: New England selected the offensive tackle in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL Draft, and Klemm won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots before leaving the team in 2004.
Klemm spent three seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as their assistant offensive line coach (2019 to 2020) and offensive line coach (2021) before joining the college ranks to become the Oregon Ducks' associate head coach, run game coordinator and offensive line coach.
Shawn Jefferson, Cardinals associate head coach/WRs coach
Jefferson is another former Patriots player to join the list. He was with Bill Belichick in New England for one season in 1996 before Belichick went with Bill Parcells to the New York Jets in 1997. Jefferson played for the Patriots from 1996 through 1999. His coaching career began with the Detroit Lions in 2006. He has been on the Cardinals staff since 2021.
Bill O'Brien, Alabama offensive coordinator
O'Brien spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama. He also has plenty of New England ties. He joined the Patriots as an offensive assistant in 2007 and rose to the role of offensive coordinator in 2011 before departing to become the head coach at Penn State in 2012. O'Brien's previous experience with the Patriots, plus his nine seasons as a head coach between Penn State and the Houston Texans, make him a highly qualified candidate for this job.