In 2005, after Charlie Weis left New England for the head-coaching job at Notre Dame, the Patriots didn’t hire another offensive coordinator to fill his position. Instead, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick devoted plenty of time to the job and worked in conjuction with his quarterbacks coach, Josh McDaniels.
A similar scenario is now playing out. McDaniels has accepted the Broncos’ head-coaching job, and Belichick is once again expected to devote plenty of time to the job. But he also will work in conjuction with Bill O’Brien, who was promoted this month from wide receivers coach to quarterbacks coach.
O’Brien is expected to be groomed as New England’s new McDaniels, a coach Belichick can entrust with his offense. It’s a tremendous responsibility for a 39-year-old assistant who joined the Patriots’ staff in 2007 after 14 seasons of coaching college football. O’Brien used to coach at Georgia Tech, Maryland and Duke, where Belichick and the Patriots found him.
Until now, O’Brien has been an unknown. But that, like the faces on the Patriots’ coaching staff, is about to change.