The Patriots’ season hasn’t even started yet, but it looks like their decision to hire a real offensive coordinator is already paying off.
With Bill O’Brien calling the shots, New England’s offense actually looks, you know, functional. That certainly wasn’t the case last year, when Matt Patricia and Joe Judge completely botched the offense in their first attempt at running one.
For their part, Patriots players have already noticed a massive change and are quickly getting up to speed on O’Brien’s new scheme.
In an article for NESN, beat writer Zack Cox had the following quote from backup QB Bailey Zappe after Monday’s practice: “The install has been doing good. We’re way ahead of (where) we thought we were going to be.”
Patriots Training Camp News
This is highly encouraging news for the Patriots that the team is already getting the hang of O’Brien’s offense. Learning a totally new scheme for the second year in a row isn’t easy, but it sounds like New England’s players are making great progress and feeling comfortable with it.
That definitely wasn’t the case last year, when all the reports from training camp focused on how out of sync and discombobulated the offense looked. Sure enough, those struggles carried over into the regular season, as the Patriots managed just 7 points in their season opener and started the year 1-3.
Things didn’t get much better from there, as the team finished 26th in total yards and frequently got bogged down in the red zone, settling for field goals rather than finishing drives with touchdowns.
The first major test for the new offense will be during this week’s preseason game against the Houston Texans. It’s one thing to feel good about an offense in practice, but it’s another thing to execute it against an opposing defense.
Still, it seems that New England’s offense is in good hands with O’Brien. After serving as Alabama’s OC the last two years and previously working in the same role for the Patriots in 2011, he clearly knows what he’s doing and is good at his job. The same could not be said of Patricia and Judge, who had never coached offense before and were blatantly out of their element.
Time will tell if O’Brien can get New England back on track after a disappointing 8-9 season in 2022. But right now, at least, he’s off to a pretty good start, giving us hope that the Patriots might be able to defy the odds and win the AFC East for the first time since 2019.