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Patriots' Bill O'Brien: NFL's Best Offensive Coordinator?

Where does New England Patriots' coach Bill O'Brien rank among the best offensive coordinators in the NFL?
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A new countdown ranked Bill O'Brien as one of the elite offensive coordinators in the NFL, which the New England Patriots are counting on to get quarterback Mac Jones back on track as they try to compete in a suddenly-loaded AFC East. 

Pro Football Focus recently ranked O'Brien as the third-best offensive coordinator, trailing only Ben Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Kellen Moore of the Los Angeles Chargers: 

"O’Brien the coach is excellent," PFF writes. "He was undone somewhat by O’Brien the personnel man, and so his tenure in Houston is, perhaps, unfairly remembered, but the Patriots secured a major upgrade at offensive coordinator this offseason. O’Brien has had success in the NFL in multiple stops, including New England, and was coaching an outstanding Alabama offense in college before his return to the professional ranks." 

It is true that even though Deshaun Watson wasn't drafted until 2017, O'Brien -- who became the coach of the Texans in 2014 --  led Houston to playoff appearances in 2015 and 2016 despite being undermanned at quarterback. Being fired after an 0-4 start in 2020 and a spotty record when he got control of player personnel probably did leave observers with an inaccurate view of his overall tenure with the Texans. O'Brien had a 52-48 record and with four playoff appearances in parts of seven seasons as coach of the Texans, which are fairly remarkable numbers when you consider the disaster Houston has been over the four seasons since.

Speaking of disasters, the Patriots' offense was one in 2022 as coach Bill Belichick handed the keys to the offense to a combination of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge, neither of whom had backgrounds as offensive coaches. O'Brien will be a drastic upgrade both as a coach and play-caller after last year's attempt to replace Josh McDaniels, who departed to become the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after Jones' rookie season. But whether there's enough talent around the third-year quarterback remains to be seen. 

Tight end Mike Gesicki was an excellent offseason addition, and by all accounts, the Patriots remain in the mix for former All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins. But even if Hopkins ultimately is reunited with O'Brien, New England could have the worst skill-position talent in the AFC East. 

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