New QB Signing Reveals More Dysfunction Among Patriots Coaches

Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to
Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick speaks to / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, the New England Patriots claimed quarterback Nathan Rourke off of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

If you're just finding out about this, don't fret. You were only about an hour behind offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill O'Brien.

During media availability on Tuesday morning, O'Brien was asked what the team saw in Rourke that led them to claim the former Canadian Football League star. Rourke set a CFL single-season record during last season, completing 78.7 percent of his passes.

O'Brien's answer wasn't exactly the X's and O's, "Mel Kiper, Jr. scouting report" level insight that the media was likely anticipating.

O'Brien's answer continues to accentuate Bill Belichick's authoritarian regime in Foxborough.

As the Patriots' de facto general manager as well, Belichick isn't necessarily obliged to seek O'Brien's input, but at least running by the signing of a quarterback to your quarterbacks coach seems like it should be standard operating procedure.

It also isn't the first time that O'Brien has dropped some curious soundbites during his media availability this season. In back-to-back weeks in November, O'Brien name-dropped owner Robert Kraft when explaining the team's decision-making process at quarterback. His answers ignited extensive scrutiny over who was ultimately making the decision regarding who would start at quarterback in New England.

O'Brien has been around football and the NFL long enough to know that the media will run with the comments that you make during media availability. His relatively incendiary comments could be brushed off one time as a slip of the tongue, but it has become a pattern that begs the question: what is his motivation for doing so? If there are clashes behind closed doors between Belichick and O'Brien, that could explain it. For now, that is purely conjecture, but this pattern from O'Brien is curious.

Rourke was signed off waivers to counter Will Grier's departure from the Patriots' practice squad to join the Los Angeles Chargers, a team that has been linked to Belichick with their head coaching and general manager positions now vacant in Southern California.

It seems highly unlikely that Rourke will see any game action this season as he backs up Bailey Zappe and Mac Jones, but hopefully Belichick tells O'Brien before he puts him in the game.

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