Bill O'Brien is considered the favorite for the New England Patriots' offensive coordinator position. As our own Tom E. Curran reported, he's the Patriots' "primary target" and "there is unanimity on all sides that he's the best person for the job."
But is he the smartest option?
O'Brien was the Patriots' offensive coordinator in 2011 and before that, he served as a wide receivers coach and a quarterbacks coach. He left the Patriots to coach at Penn State, then took the Houston Texans head-coaching job in 2014. After being fired by the Texans in 2020, he joined Nick Saban's staff at Alabama where he has served as OC for the last two years.
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AL.com's Mike Rodak says Alabama fans want O'Brien gone after a disappointing 2022 season. On a new episode of the Next Pats Podcast with Phil Perry, he shared his thoughts on whether O'Brien would be a good hire for new England.
Next Pats Podcast: Bill O’Brien or bust?! All the latest in Patriots offensive coordinator search | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube
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"People are asking, 'why isn't he gone yet?' Because fans don't like him," Rodak said. "That's product of the high standard at Alabama, because the fans here expect them to win every single game. They expect them to win by 40 points. They expect Alabama to score 50 points. That's kind of how things went for a little while under Nick Saban. ...
"It feels like there's just a lot of fan angst and sentiment that they don't want him here anymore. It's hard to ignore at this point. It was kind of bubbling for a little while and it's certainly come to the surface now. So fans are waiting for any word of him leaving."
Rodak added that while O'Brien probably is the top option on the table, there's another name that stood out to him.
"Right now, it seems like he's probably the best option," Rodak said. "I would've been really intrigued by Kliff Kingsbury if he was on this continent, as it seems like he's in Thailand and not wanting to coach. Kingsbury, I think, did a lot of unique, innovative stuff at Texas Tech with Mahomes. He was actually the first college coach to offer Bryce Young back as an eighth grader. He would've been interesting as a Patriots offensive coordinator candidate and as an Alabama offensive coordinator candidate if O'Brien leaves, as it seems like he will.
"O'Brien and Mac (Jones), I think it would be better for O'Brien to run an NFL-style system for an NFL team. How much of his success when he was in New England the first time with (Tom) Brady, like how much was from Brady? I don't know. It's kind of the same question with Belichick. But yeah, I think he would be an improvement from what the Patriots had this season. I think what we saw out of Mac as a rookie two years ago was probably closer to what I would've expected from him in the NFL after covering him at Alabama. But with that said, it's still a big jump they have to make."
Also in the new episode: Why Alabama fans are rooting for Bill O’Brien to leave. Does Nick Saban want O’Brien back? Could Todd Monken be an offensive coordinator candidate? And potential Alabama targets for the Patriots in the draft.
Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below: