New England Patriots: 3 takeaways on Brady/Belichick/Kraft exposé book

Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Bill O’Brien could end up being Bill Belichick’s eventual replacement

One of the more interesting takeaways from Wickersham’s preview involves former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien. O’Brien would eventually takeover the Houston Texans, nearly build a Super Bowl contender, and then in one fell swoop, destroy it with a number of befuddling moves. Wickersham picks up key information on what may have led O’Brien to blow things up in Houston, and how he almost made a return to New England.

For those not familiar, O’Brien was involved in a power struggle with Texans general manager Rick Smith, and claimed he was trying to get himself fired from Houston during their battle. O’Brien ended up winning as Smith got fired, and assumed Houston’s general manager role. He promptly pulled off a number of mind-boggling trades, which included trading star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals for next to nothing because he wanted a new contract.

During the same period of time O’Brien was bickering with Smith in Houston, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was interviewing for head coaching vacancies around the league. McDaniels even took the Indianapolis Colts job for a point in time before eventually backing out.

In the event McDaniels left, Brady, Kraft, and a few others discussed potentially bringing back O’Brien to fill McDaniels role while setting him up to be Belichick’s eventual successor. O’Brien apparently caught wind of this, which led to him attempting to get fired by Houston. McDaniels ended up sticking around though, and O’Brien ended up doing enough to get himself fired by Houston midway through the 2020 season.

This is a particularly interesting revelation, especially given McDaniels recent playcalling struggles for the New England Patriots. You have to believe McDaniels sticking around was partly due to O’Brien winning his battle in Houston. Kraft was forced to scramble, and ended up convincing McDaniels to stick around as a result.

It raises the question of what will happen once Belichick eventually decides to retire. No one knows when it will happen, but McDaniels has presumably been groomed for the position for years now. But this revelation makes it clear that Kraft certainly doesn’t have as much confidence in McDaniels as originally believed.

It still seems like McDaniels would have the inside track considering how much experience he has in New England, but it’s interesting to see New England would have considered O’Brien given his struggles in Houston. Whether he is making excuses for his struggles or was actually trying to get fired is up to you the reader, but it’s clear there is now another layer to picking Belichick’s successor whenever he decides to call it a career.