|It’s all business between Bill O’Brien and Tom Brady, with some trust thrown in||08.06.11 at 2:40 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Bill O’Brien is entering his first year as the formal offensive coordinator of the Patriots. But the new title is just that, as he reminded reporters on Saturday afternoon during a coaches’ press conference prior to the afternoon training camp practice.
He also reminded everyone that while this might be his first year as formal offensive coordinator, this is his fifth year in the Patriots system, working with superstar quarterback Tom Brady.
“I’m going into my fifth year here. It’s a good relationship. It’s a professional relationship. It’s a relationship where there’s a lot of communication. It’s all about football. We talk all the time. There’s a lot of trust. Again, you’re talking about a guy that works really hard, it’s really important to him, a prideful guy. And so, there’s just a bunch of trust there and good communication and I think it’s been a good relationship.”
After two seasons with Duke, O’Brien was hired by the Patriots in Feb. 2007 as an offensive assistant. He oversaw the one of the greatest offenses in NFL history as Brady and Randy Moss set passing records for TD passes and receptions and the Patriots put up the most points in their history.
After dropping Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots promoted O’Brien to wide receivers coach. He became the team’s quarterback coach and offensive play-caller following the 2008 season and the departure of quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. This past February, he finally graduated to the position of full offensive coordinator.
Have his responsibilities increased?
“No, we have a really strong staff as a whole, obviously led by Bill [Belichick],” O’Brien said. “We have a really strong offensive staff that works very well together. We’re all in it together. We each have different roles. I’m basically the guy that just kind of collects the paper and puts it all in the right stack and gets us all organized. It’s a collaborative effort.
“We all work together and try to put together a good practice plan, a good drill [plan], a good game plan and that’s what we do. That’s what it’s been about here since I’ve been here. And everybody has a role and we all work together pretty well.”
It was his background working with quarterbacks that earned him the trust of Bill Belichick and eventually Brady. On Saturday, he talked about what he has seen from Brady in his previous four seasons in New England and what makes a good NFL quarterback.
“To be a good quarterback for us, just like he’s been obviously, it’s about decision-making and it’s about accuracy,” O’Brien said. “In this past offseason he’s had, where there were no defenses out there, obviously there is a little bit of an adjustment period to when you come back to a training camp and now you have defense, different coverages, different fronts and different blitzes that you’re seeing from the defense. Just like everybody else out there, he’s working to be more consistent. I thought the past two days have been really, really good practices for him.”
O’Brien is not just watching Brady, though. There’s Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett.
“I believe it’s a really good situation,” O’Brien said. “I believe you have three good quarterbacks. Obviously you have Tom, who is a proven guy. Then with Brian and Ryan, you have two guys there that obviously can throw the ball. Again, working for consistency, working to learn the offense. They are at different points in their career now; Brian is going into his third year, with Ryan being a rookie. So they are at a little bit different points there. Both of them have impressed as far as being able to throw the football. You got three guys there that can really throw the football. That’s been good.”
On second-year WR Taylor Price, O’Brien acknowledged this is an important camp.
“It would be a similar answer to Ocho and the whole group,” O’Brien said. “At this point of training camp, I think this is practice 12, there have been ups and downs. He’s really trying to smooth it out. He’s been there every day, he’s working really hard, he’s a competitive guy. It’s really important to him. I believe that he will work to be consistent and we’ll see how it goes.”
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