The most notable changes that the New England Patriots made to their roster this offseason were to their coaching staff following the departure of longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. But one person who didn't join the staff has apparently been visiting the team.
According to ESPN's Mike Reiss, Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was in attendance at Patriots practice this past week. O'Brien is a former Patriots assistant who worked for Bill Belichick from 2007 to 2011.
But Reiss isn't convinced that O'Brien's presence means he's getting any sort of role with the team. Per the report, Belichick has said that he feels his coaching staff is complete, but will still bring in visitors from time to time.
“Bill Belichick previously said the Patriots’ coaching staff was likely complete, but that doesn’t mean visitors won’t be welcomed at various times — and Belichick’s network is deep,” Reiss wrote. “Along those lines, players took note of current Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien on the field at Gillette Stadium last week at the voluntary offseason program. O’Brien, of course, has deep roots in New England as a former Belichick assistant.”
The Patriots saw several top offensive assistants depart along with Josh McDaniels when McDaniels took the Las Vegas Raiders job.
But rather than fill the vacancies, Belichick has left no less than three jobs open on his coaching staff. The plan this season will reportedly be a committee of his remaining offensive staff working with the players while Belichick takes over offensive playcalling.
It's possible that a job in New England awaits Bill O'Brien somewhere down the road. But not this year.
Will Bill O'Brien return to the Patriots as a full-time staffer?