Nothing has happened officially with the New England Patriots coaching staff following the team’s Week 18 loss to the Buffalo Bills and their failure to qualify for the postseason. However, many expect a change in the offensive coordinator to be inevitable. Could the change bring the recently fired former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury to New England? Recently, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer made a case for Kingsbury to return to his NFL roots.
A Case is Made For Kliff Kingsbury to Succeed Matt Patricia as Patriots OC
After former Patriots OC Josh McDaniels took the head-coaching job with the Las Vegas Raiders this past offseason, New England’s head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick hired a former defensive coordinator and head coach Matt Patricia as the new play-caller. Needless to say, the offense wasn’t productive under Patricia.
New England ranked 20th in total offense in the 2022 regular season, per Pro Football Reference. Via NBC Sports, Breer spoke about possible replacements for Patricia. Kingsbury is a guy he admitted was “off the board” (partly because he hadn’t been officially relieved of his duties in Arizona yet), but still an interesting possibility.
“If you want to go completely off the board, here’s one for you. The Patriots have done their research on Kliff Kingsbury,” Breer said. “I don’t know if Kliff Kingsbury is even going to be available, I don’t know if Kliff Kingsbury’s even going to want to coach if he’s fired in Arizona, but I do think he’s somebody the Patriots would look at as far as if you’re looking at somebody who might be able to move things forward a little bit and has different ideas to inject into what you’re doing.”
The Patriots originally drafted Kingsbury as a quarterback out of Texas Tech in the sixth round of the 2003 NFL Draft. Kingsbury never played a down for the Patriots, but it is safe to say that Belichick and his staff have a level of familiarity with him. While Kingsbury’s Cardinals fell to a woeful 4-13 record this season, several people still believe in his offensive philosophy.
“I know things haven’t been perfect in Arizona, but one thing defensive coaches have told me consistently over the last couple of years is because it’s so outside of the norm, Kingsbury’s offense might be the most difficult to prepare for in the entire NFL,” Breer said. “So that would be one name to put on your radar if the O’Brien thing doesn’t happen.”
With the Patriots missing the playoffs for the second time in three seasons and McDaniels heading into his second season with the Raiders, Belichick and Co. are expected to look for someone with an offensive background to replace Patricia.
Breer and others like NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport believe former Patriots assistant, Houston Texans head coach, and current Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is at the top of the list of potential replacements.
If the Patriots turn to O’Brien, it won’t be much of a surprise. It’s possible the only way the Patriots seriously consider Kingsbury is if they cannot convince O’Brien to come back to New England, where he served as an offensive assistant, wide receivers and quarterback coach, and offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, per Pro Football Reference.
Could Bill O’Brien Be Bill Belichick’s Successor in New England?
O’Brien has been working for Belichick’s good friend Nick Saban at Alabama, and there is a chance the former may ultimately want another shot at being a head coach in the NFL. With McDaniels gone to Las Vegas, it’s logical to think O’Brien could be a potential successor to Belichick if he helps The Hoodie return the Patriots to Super Bowl contention.
There are still several chips left to fall before anyone can make heads or tails of the Patriots’ next moves. However, the offensive coordinator situation is likely to be the hottest topic of conversation during what figures to be a long offseason in New England.