Blog Entry

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:31 pm
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:31 pm
One thing Belichick's offensive coordinators have had in common: a QB by the name of Brady. (US PRESSWIRE/Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has agreed to become Penn State's next head coach,'s Mike Freeman confirmed Thursday night.

This comes after a week of rumors had O'Brien taking the job, not taking the job, then interviewing for the job in that order on consecutive days. But now that his employment status is set, what does this mean for the Patriots?

It's not the first time the organization has lost an offensive coordinator (or even one to a high-profile college job). Notre Dame hired Charlie Weis in December 2004 and he coached the Fighting Irish through five mostly disappointing seasons before he was fired.

Weis was Bill Belichick's first offensive coordinator in New England, arriving in 2000, the same year the Patriots used the 199th on (wait for it…) Tom Brady. The Pats won three Super Bowls from '00-'04; when Weis headed for South Bend, he was replaced by then-29-year-old quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels. (McDaniels didn't officially have the title of offensive coordinator until 2006, but according to a 2008 New York Times, story he called the plays during the 2005 season.)

McDaniels was there in 2007, too, when the Patriots went 18-0 and set countless offensive records on their way to the Super Bowl. They lost to the Giants in one of the biggest upsets in championship history, and following the 2008 season, McDaniels was hired by the Broncos to replace Mike Shanahan. He lasted a season and a half before poor personnel decisions and a string of losses led to his dismissal 12 games into the 2010 campaign.

Both Weis and McDaniels reemerged as NFL coordinators; the former with the Chiefs in 2010 (Weis later returned to college, first as Florida's OC this fall before accepting the Kansas head-coaching gig in December), the latter with the Rams in 2011.

O'Brien's NFL journey began in February 2007, when the Patriots hired him after two seasons as Duke's offensive coordinator. After a year, he was promoted from offensive assistant to wide receivers coach. And like McDaniels before him, O'Brien called plays "unofficially" before eventually being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011.

So how have New England offense's fared the year after losing their coordinator? Unsurprisingly, as long as Tom Brady's upright, it's pretty much all systems go.

In 2004, the Pats' offense ranked third, according to Football Outsiders metrics. In 2005, after Weis left for Notre Dame, the Pats ranked seventh. In 2008, they were eighth; in '09, with McDaniels in Denver, they were first.

Next question: with O'Brien off to State College, who replaces him in New England?'s Tom Curran has a list of names -- some familiar, others less so.

* Chad O'Shea, Pats wide receivers coach
* Josh McDaniels, Rams offensive coordinator
* Jeff Davidson, Vikings offensive line coach

But again, the most critical element to New England's success isn't the guy calling the plays, it's the guy under center. The Patriots go as far as Brady goes. But we already knew that.

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Since: Dec 7, 2011
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:47 am

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

the pats want him, but he may have a desire to be a head coach again. pioli of the chiefs will probably offer him the job. pioli cant get the pats out of his system. he should have stayed there.

Since: Sep 6, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2012 12:18 am

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

With all the negative publicity that is surrounding O'Brien at Penn State from Lavar Arrimngton and the like, my concern is how that is going to effect the Pats this year, never mind next year. He has to wear 2 hats, and one of them has to be giving him a headache with all the negativity. Brady has unfortunately not lived up to his high standards his last 3 playoff games, and this cannot help. This Pat's may luck out against the injured Steelers, the inept Broncos,or the young Bengals, but this will not be their year... McDaniels returns, but too late for this year. And another year ticks off in Brady's career; Brady's idol Montana still the biggest winner.

Since: Jul 7, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 2:43 pm

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

Well said PatriotNation. But thats what makes him the Greatest QB of ALL Time

Since: Jan 6, 2012
Posted on: January 6, 2012 10:20 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 1, 2011
Posted on: January 6, 2012 7:31 am

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

This just in:
Troy Brown has accepted the position, HOWEVER,  will also have to manage special teams, DB's, and will also serve as training equipment quality assurance cordinator.Money mouth

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:28 am

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

The Patriots should hire Barry Bonds to be the OC. Both Bonds and Brady graduated from Serra High School. Represent! Peaceout and all that good stuff. As many here have said....the OC position is more or less a babysitting job since Tom Brady calls most of the plays anyway. 

Since: Nov 10, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2012 11:52 pm

Who replaces Bill O'Brien in New England?

In reality, since 2004, the OC job in New England has been more of a caretaker position.  Everyone knows Brady audibles a majority of the plays at the line.  He really is the OC on the field, in the same way Manning has been for years in Indianapolis.  Robert Kraft could save money by just making TB the defacto coach.  He does the job as well as anyone has in New England since he came into the league.

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