Report: Patriots add assistant coach with strong Bill O'Brien ties

Bill O'Brien

Bill O'Brien indeed has input on the hiring of offensive assistant coaches in New England, it appears.

The Patriots are adding Will Lawing to their offensive staff, ESPN's Mike Reiss reported Thursday night.

It's unclear what Lawing's title will be in New England, but the North Carolina native has extensive history with O'Brien, who was hired as the Patriots' offensive coordinator earlier this month.

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Lawing was a graduate assistant at Penn State in 2013 when O'Brien was head coach, then joined O'Brien on the Houston Texans' staff for the next seven seasons, working as a defensive quality control coach (2014 to 2016), offensive assistant (2017 to 2018) and tight ends coach (2019 to 2020).

When O'Brien became Alabama's offensive coordinator in 2021, Lawing came with him again, joining the Crimson tide in an analyst role. So, Lawing has worked on the same staff as O'Brien for the past decade, and his hire in New England clearly indicates that O'Brien has a say in new coaching hires.

It's possible that Lawing could become the Patriots' new tight ends coach if Nick Caley -- who reportedly interviewed for the Houston Texans' offensive coordinator job this week -- moves on from the team. New England also may look to add an offensive line coach if it doesn't give assistant Billy Yates the title.