The New England Patriots needed some good news after a tumultuous 2022 season, and they appeared to get it Tuesday.
The Patriots are hiring Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator, our Phil Perry confirmed. It's a homecoming for the Andover, Mass., native, who spent four years in New England from 2007 to 2011 and was the Patriots' offensive coordinator in 2011.
O'Brien's hire is great news for quarterback Mac Jones, who has a relationship with O'Brien after helping the coach learn the offense at Alabama during the 2021 offseason. But as longtime Patriots safety Devin McCourty noted Tuesday on a new Patriots Talk Podcast with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry, O'Brien's presence should be a morale booster for the entire team, as well.
"The building blocks will be there. I think you're gonna have a lot of people who are ready to get after it and are excited for the season," McCourty told Curran and Perry.
McCourty explained that changes are always expected after disappointing seasons, and that the vibe in New England could be similar to what the players experienced during the team's free-agent spending spree following the 2020 season.
"With changes comes the unknown and with changes also comes excitement. Every year, you see that," McCourty said. "We just went through that after the 2020 season when we had an influx of free agents coming. There was a whole new kind of momentum and life brought in, and it was still unknown. Like, no one knew how everything was gonna work out and what guys we're gonna do, but it's that change, it's the new people coming in.
"I think that's what Billy O is going to bring offensively. It's going to be just a new coach coming in ... and I think that's going to create a new kind of energy and life (around the team)."
The Patriots are far from done, too. New England reportedly could bring in Adrian Klemm as its new offensive line coach, and the team is projected to have nearly $33 million in cap space this offseason to acquire talent via free agency or trade.
As McCourty suggested, there could be a learning curve with new coaches and new players in the building. But after a disappointing 8-9 season, fans should welcome the change.
"I think all Patriots fans should be excited to see what (the offense under O'Brien) looks like, because there's a lot of young, talented guys on that roster," McCourty said. "You were able to see that this year at different times throughout the season. So as a fan, I would be excited watching that."
To hear more from McCourty on the O'Brien hire and where he stands about retiring or coming back to play in 2023, tune in to NBC Sports Boston's "Quick Slants" tonight at 6 p.m. ET. You can also hear McCourty's full conversation with Curran and Perry by subscribing to the Patriots Talk Podcast or watching on YouTube below.