New England Patriots

Report: Bill O'Brien to leave Patriots for Ohio State OC job

The Patriots are in the market for a new offensive coordinator.

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The New England Patriots are about to have a new offensive coordinator for the third time in three years.

Ohio State is set to hire current Patriots OC Bill O'Brien as its new offensive coordinator, ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Thursday.

O'Brien spent just one year with the Patriots, taking the OC job in January 2023 as the result of a formal OC search after Matt Patricia handled offensive play-calling duties in 2022. O'Brien didn't find much success, as New England finished tied for last in the NFL in scoring at just 13.9 points per game.

O'Brien is plenty familiar with the college game and the Big 10; he was Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022 before coming to New England and was the head coach at Penn State from 2012 to 2013.

O'Brien's departure means new head coach Jerod Mayo will need to hire a new offensive coordinator for the 2024 season. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said recently he expects a "wide open search" for the Patriots OC job, adding that team owner Robert Kraft and president Jonathan Kraft are "empowering" Mayo to have final say on the team's next offensive coordinator.

Former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels -- who held the job until leaving in January 2022 to become the Las Vegas Raiders' head coach -- has been floated as a potential candidate, although he could follow ex-Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to his new destination. Los Angeles Rams tight ends coach Nick Caley could be an intriguing option for Mayo, as well; he spent eight seasons in New England as an assistant coach from 2015 to 2022.

The Patriots had yet to interview an OC candidate as of Thursday night, but that process should ramp up in the coming days following O'Brien's exit.

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