Robert Kraft gives Bill O'Brien a strong endorsement as Patriots OC

Robert Kraft

The New England Patriots are handling their offensive coaching setup much differently in 2023 -- and Robert Kraft approves.

During a meeting with a small group of reporters in Scottsdale, Ariz., ahead of Super Bowl XLVII, the Patriots owner gave his full endorsement of the team's decision to hire Bill O'Brien as its new offensive coordinator.

"I think he was an excellent choice," Kraft told our Phil Perry and Tom E. Curran, among others. "And he has learning-curve experience of our system. He knows Mac Jones. He knows how to build a great offense. And I'm excited to see what happens next year."

O'Brien's first NFL coaching job came with the Patriots in 2007, and he worked his way up to offensive coordinator in 2011 before leaving to take the Penn State head coach job in 2012.

After seven seasons as the Houston Texans' head coach, O'Brien spent the last two years working with Nick Saban as Alabama's offensive coordinator, even spending time with Jones during the 2021 offseason as the quarterback helped him learn the Crimson Tide offense.

So, O'Brien indeed is a natural fit to run the Patriots' offense -- unlike Matt Patricia, who was given offensive play-calling responsibilities in 2022 despite zero prior experience in that role. The results were disastrous, as New England stumbled to an 8-9 record in part due to persistent dysfunction on offense.


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Kraft had a 1-on-1 meeting with head coach Bill Belichick after the season that resulted in Belichick being "amenable to changes," Curran reported on Jan. 11. A change at offensive play-caller appeared to be the top priority, with the Patriots putting out an unprecedented statement that they were conducting interviews for an OC.

While there's still plenty of uncertainty entering the 2023 season, Kraft seems fully on board with O'Brien's hire and pleased that the team has addressed one of its most glaring issues from last year.