Bill O’Brien, the new Patriots offensive coordinator who previously worked under Bill Belichick, will have his hands full in resurrecting an offense that was reportedly “dysfunctional” and “riddled with distrust,” according to a bombshell report from the Boston Herald.
The offensive struggles reportedly stem from a wave of dysfunction between Pats quarterbacks coach Joe Judge and former offensive play-caller Matt Patricia, according to sources who spoke to the Herald on the condition of anonymity. The Patriots (8-9) finished the 2022 season third in the AFC East division after losing three of their last four games. New England ranked 17th in the league with 21.4 points per game.
“I love coach [Belichick], but he f----- us,” one source told the Herald in regard to the offense.
According to multiple anonymous sources who spoke to the Herald, the offensive woes date back to training camp ahead of the ’22 campaign. Per the report, the Patriots attempted to play faster offensively by condensing formations and incorporating more outside zone runs and bootleg play-action passes. Instead, as the season progressed, New England’s offense became a diminished version of former offensive play-caller Josh McDaniels, the current Raiders head coach, along with portions of Sean McVay’s system with the Rams.
The disconnect and frustration on staff filtered into meetings, as players asked myriad questions regarding how to break down certain defenses on the field.
“Guys would ask, ‘Well, what’s going to happen if [the defense] does this?’ And you would see they [coaches] hadn’t really accounted for that yet,” one source told the Herald. “And they’d say, ‘We’ll get to that when we get to that.’ That type of attitude got us in trouble.”
When quarterback Mac Jones went down with a high ankle sprain in October, a broader disconnect emerged between Judge and Patricia along with a lesser presence by Judge in position coach meetings, per the Herald. Previously, Judge would command meetings and share play-calling sheets with Patricia and Belichick.
But as New England continued to face scrutiny each week, it was not uncharacteristic for “Judge and Jones to trade profanity-laced” jabs, according to the Herald.
Another source told the newspaper, “A lot of people were frustrated with Judge.”
New England’s offensive inadequacies were on full display when a jaw-dropping lateral play resulted in a last-second loss to the Raiders on Dec. 18.
Now, O’Brien will take the lead in trying to fix the craters that exist within the Patriots offense.