The New England Patriots raised eyebrows across the NFL and Massachusetts sportsbooks on Thursday by announcing the team will begin interviewing candidates next week for their offensive coordinator opening.
The move comes after the duo of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, longtime Bill Belichick aides but neither possessing a deep offensive background, failed to replace former OC Josh McDaniels this past season after McDaniels left for the Las Vegas Raiders.
It's an intriguing opening across the NFL landscape, as only McDaniels and former Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien have held the title in New England since 2006.
Whoever becomes the signal caller in Foxboro next season will be tasked with helping QB Mac Jones bounce back from a disappointing sophomore season. Should the new OC succeed, he could even replace Belichick when the 70-year-old eventually decides to hang up his whistle.
Massachusetts sports betting apps won't offer action on the next Pats OC, but we have hypothetical odds for who could land the gig on the New England sideline for next season.
Odds of Next Patriots Offensive Coordinator
While there is plenty of intrigue around who Belichick will hire, there are two heavy favorites according to our model, both of whom have ties to the Patriots. This prop won't be offered at sportsbooks in MA. Retail sports betting is set to launch on Jan. 31 and online sportsbooks some time in March, and this hire will greatly affect the New England Patriots Super Bowl odds.
Not only would this reunion make a good deal of sense, but where there's smoke, there's fire. O'Brien previously replaced McDaniels as the Patriots offensive play-caller after McDaniels left to coach the Denver Broncos in 2009 (though Belichick didn't give him the formal coordinator title until 2011).
The Patriots under O'Brien continued to thrive offensively with Tom Brady under center, with O'Brien's tenure culminating in a run to Super Bowl XLVI, where the Pats lost to the New York Giants. Shortly after the Big Game, O'Brien was named head coach at Penn State, where he led the Nittany Lions for two seasons before becoming an NFL head coach with the Houston Texans.
O'Brien's time in Houston was successful overall, with four AFC South titles to his name, before being undone by also assuming GM duties. After his firing in 2020, he landed at the University of Alabama to rehab his image under another Belichick protegee, Nick Saban.
Now after two strong years in Tuscaloosa, O'Brien's contract is up, and by all accounts he is ready to return to the NFL sidelines for unfinished business.
Belichick is notoriously loyal when it comes to his staff, proven by the fact that he simply shifted Patricia and Judge to offense this past season rather than going outside the "Patriots Family."
In rehiring O'Brien, Belichick would again bring in someone not only familiar with the Patriot Way, but who has also proven himself as an NFL head coach and trusted Saban aide.
Combine that natural fit with O'Brien hitting the market as a coaching free agent, BetMassachusetts likes him as a favorite to land the gig at -150.
To put those odds into perspective, a $100 wager on a -150 bet would only win $66.67 at a sportsbook like WynnBET Massachusetts, suggesting O'Brien has a pretty legitimate shot at this job.
Known as a quarterback whisperer for his work in college with Johnny Manziel and Patrick Mahomes, among others, Kingsbury (+140) has his own unique ties to Belichick and the Patriots from long ago.
After throwing for over 12,000 yards in four years at Texas Tech, Kingsbury was a sixth-round draft choice by the Patriots in 2003, presenting him a chance to back up Brady for the years to come. An arm injury in Kingsbury's rookie season derailed that dream, and sent him into coaching earlier than he anticipated. He then worked his way up through the college ranks to eventually become the Arizona Cardinals head coach in 2019.
While his Cardinals tenure came to an underwhelming end after this past 4-13 season, there is still a high level of respect for the offensive-minded Kingsbury in Foxboro. Belichick, during the Cardinals' run to the 2021 playoffs, even told the media that Kingsbury should win NFL Coach of the Year.
With Kingsbury now on the open market, could a Foxboro reunion be in play? It would make sense for both parties, as Kingsbury could provide the "quarterback whisperer" leadership the 2022 Patriots were clearly lacking.
While not as likely as O'Brien, Kingsbury appears to be a legitimate candidate as well. A $100 wager on these hypothetical +140 odds would win $140 at a book like BetMGM Massachusetts.
While speculation will largely focus on O'Brien and Kingsbury, there could be a couple more "usual suspects" whose names will emerge as Belichick looks to increase the Patriots playoff chances.
O'Shea (+1600), currently the Cleveland Browns' passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, spent almost a decade (2009-2018) in New England as receivers coach, winning three Super Bowls under Belichick and Brady.
He also gained play-calling experience under Brian Flores with the 2019 Miami Dolphins as offensive coordinator.
Currently the Patriots' tight ends coach, 39-year-old Caley (+2500) is well-thought of in Foxboro, having been with the team since 2015.
However, Caley does not appear ready to call plays under Belichick, as the head coach opted to go with Patricia and Judge over Caley this time last year.
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