The changes keep coming for the Patriots this offseason, first with Bill Belichick parting ways with the team and then Jerod Mayo being named his successor. And now news broke late Thursday night that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien would also be leaving the team, heading to Ohio State to become their next OC.
Although it wasn't an entirely surprising move for the former Texans head coach, it had been speculated that he was interested in remaining with the Patriots through the rest of his contract. It was also rumored he could follow Belichick to wherever he ends up coaching next.
But all of that is in the past now, as O'Brien is returning to college football after just one season away.
That now adds another position for Mayo to fill within his coaching staff, which is incredibly important and will likely define the next era of Patriots football. But at the same time, it puts a lot of responsibility on the new head coach, who may or may not have a general manager to help put it all together.
Unfortunately, we won't have a definitive answer about that role being filled for a while; at least, that's what it seemed like based on Robert Kraft's response during the press conference earlier this week. It is a position that should be prioritized, especially since Belichick held the title for two decades, and Mayo isn't experienced in that aspect of the game whatsoever.
But the Patriots do what the Patriots do, right?
So what does O'Brien leaving mean for the team heading into the 2024 offseason?
There appear to be plenty of options they could interview to become the next offensive coordinator, and according to several reports, Mayo was already working on filling the vacant defensive coordinator role by setting up interviews this past week.
Because of that, expect him to move on to finding the next OC sooner rather than later. That will ultimately be an interesting decision and a sign of how the former linebacker wants to proceed with the offense.
Will he bring back a familiar face like Josh McDaniels?
Could he hire someone who has never been on the Patriots staff and will bring an entirely new scheme as well?
We'll have to wait and see.