A propensity for gridiron-based championship hardware and cheering on Mac Jones notwithstanding, the middle of the Venn diagram between Foxboro and Tuscaloosa is rather small.
It widened on Tuesday with the return of Bill O'Brien to the Gillette Stadium sidelines. The University of Alabama's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and Dorchester, Mass. native was named the New England Patriots' new offensive coordinator after previously holding the spot in 2011, one of many roles he repped during a prior five-year stretch in New England (2007-11).
Between the championship expectations and the watchful eyes of brilliant yet strict head coaches like Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, it will perhaps help New England's embattled franchise quarterback and Alabama alum Jones to have someone who knows what it means to succeed in both the northern and southern football dynasties. That appears to be the case, as a report from MassLive says Jones is “very excited" and "looking forward to working with coach O’Brien."
While the two never did battle at Bryant-Denny Stadium together, Jones and O'Brien's Tuscaloosa tours briefly intersected when the former was embarking upon the NFL Draft process in the early stages of 2021, one that sent him down the path of the Patriots. O'Brien was returning to the college ranks after his seven-season term as the head coach of the Houston Texans.
That familiarity is the source of Jones' reported excitement.
'It’ll be nice to start a new working relationship with someone that you already have had the opportunity to work with," a source close to Jones told MassLive.
Jones and the New England offense could perhaps use all the help they can get as they move into year four of the post-Tom Brady era. The Patriots' offense put forth rollercoaster efforts throughout the season, ones that were unable to restore the familiarity of a playoff streak.
For the time being, it appears that Jones has earned his first win of the offseason, creating a smile beyond the four cities left on the NFL playoff bracket. Time will tell if the good vibes carry over into the regular season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
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