The Patriots’ top offensive coordinator candidates with Bill O’Brien are reportedly headed to Ohio State
In the back pass game, Waldron likes to create space for the “pick” route. Using great spacers like Cooper Kupp on those routes, McVay moves the chains on third downs by giving his best receivers the space and freedom to get open (see Choice Stucko above). At its core, McVay’s offense is about making things look structurally symmetrical to keep the defense balanced through play/play sequences and movement, which results in explosive plays on early downs. After that, they’ll move to more West Coast playbook sequences on third down, two-minutes, and other obvious passing situations.
Waldron is familiar with the Patriots organization from his team in the late 2000s. However, the biggest appeal is bringing McVay’s offense to New England.
Zach Robinson (Rams quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator)
Similar to Waldron, Robinson is another disciple of McVay with loose ties to the Patriots as a former pick of Belichick in 2010. Robinson only spent a few months in Foxborough as a seventh-round pick, but his coaching background is very interesting. Along with his NFL coaching experience under McVay since 2019, Robinson has worked as an independent quarterback consultant following his playing career. Robinson’s work as a quarterbacks coach like Tom House or Jordan Palmer makes him an excellent candidate to develop a rookie quarterback. Outside of the Xs and Os, Robinson could help youngster Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye with mechanics, footwork and other details of the position. Essentially, New England’s next young QB will have a special coach on staff.
As for Robinson’s vision as a schemer, he has risen through the ranks of McVay’s staff from assistant quarterbacks coach to assistant wide receivers coach to passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach over the past two seasons. Since his coaching background was with the Rams, you would think his scheme would mimic what he knows by learning from McVay. You can expect many of the same principles as McVay: heavy three-receiver sets, condensed formations, zone/outside duo sequences with play action, movement on the snap, and McVay’s back-pass game. The Rams ranked second in condensed formation usage (58%), so Robinson was able to play receivers more tightly in the formation rather than spreading the field out like Waldron.
At 37 years old, the Patriots would hire one of their best young offensive minds if they can lure Robinson out of Los Angeles, but they’ll have to hurry — Robinson has multiple suitors.
Clint Kubiak (49ers offensive passing game specialist)
As the son of former NFL coach Gary Kubiak, Clint Kubiak has been coaching in the NFL since the 2013 season when he first arrived in the pro game as an offensive quality control assistant. Since then, Kubiak has coordinated the Vikings’ 2021 offense, worked with Nathaniel Hackett in Denver as quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator, and is now Kyle Shanahan’s passing game coordinator in San Francisco. What do all these stops have in common? Kubiak grew up coaching with a heavy influence on the outdoors/west coast.
The 49ers and Rams essentially run the same offensive system, but there are some key differences in how they arrive at their basic plays. With the Rams specializing in three-receiver sets, Shanahan’s tree relies more on heavy personnel. The 49ers ranked second in using ’21’ personnel on 36.2% of their offensive plays, based on attacking two backfield sets. San Fran likes to advance out of the zone, with FB Kyle Juszczyk paving the way for Christian McCaffrey. They will then construct complementary plays that look structurally similar but feature traditional play action, half-boot action, or bootleg plays to switch the point of attack.
The 49ers and Rams eventually reach similar things, especially in crisp passing situations, and both are among the league leaders in condensed formations. But they get there from different combinations of personnel, so it will be up to Mayo how he builds his attack.
Top Texans Offensive Assistants – Ben McDaniels (WRs coach and passing game coordinator) and Jerrod Johnson (QBs coach)
Let’s put these two together since they are both on a Texans staff that could lose offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik to a head coaching job. If Slowik leaves, Houston will likely promote McDaniels, yes, Josh’s brother, or Johnson to OC. However, both coaches have a hand in C.J. Stroud’s rapid development, as Slowick brought Shanahan’s system to Houston under former 49ers defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans.
McDaniels has extensive coaching experience in both college and the pro game, with a stop at the University of Michigan before landing in Houston with Nick Caserio in 2021. It is unclear how McDaniels will organize the running game given that he has worked in so many different offenses. , but the Texans’ current passing game is similar to the Niners’ game.
As for Johnson, he is a rising star in coaching circles, similar to Zach Robinson. Johnson began coaching after a long playing career and has worked directly with the quarterbacks over the past two seasons. Johnson is only 35 years old and doesn’t have as much coaching experience as the other candidates on this list, so it may be a few years too early for him to become captain. But his work with Stroud this season has put his name on the map.
Tee Martin (Ravens quarterbacks coach)
Although he has only been in the NFL for three seasons, Martin has been coaching for nearly 20 years, and most of his experience has been in the college ranks. Martin has coached quarterbacks and wide receivers, and served as the Ravens’ QBs coach last season. His experience working in Greg Roman and Todd Monken’s offense built around star QB Lamar Jackson is very interesting if the Patriots are considering selecting Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels with the third overall pick. Martin could bring the QB game designed in Baltimore with the spread formations and more advanced passing system run by Monken. That would be an interesting pairing for the Patriots, who will need a new system for Daniels.
– Let’s also get former Patriots TEs coach Nick Caley (now with the Rams), Shawn Jefferson (Panthers WRs coach), and Keenan McCardell (Vikings WRs coach) together. Mayo reportedly participated in OC interviews last season with Belichick, and all three were interviewed for the position a year ago, along with O’Brien and Adrian Klemm. If the new Pats coach likes one of them, he could get another chance to interview for the role.
– Former Colts and Texans offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is another highly experienced coach who could land an interview in New England. Hamilton will likely run his version of the Reed/Reich offense with the Patriots. His experience in the league will help Mayo.
– I’ve been a fan of Kliff Kingsbury for a long time, but he seems to follow Caleb Williams to the NFL or stay at USC. However, Kingsbury, who ran a modified Air Raid in Arizona to bring the system to the pro game, is an offensive expert who can operate that side of the ball.
– Liam Coen is another McVay disciple who will emerge as an NFL offensive coordinator this cycle. After working with McVay for two different stints, Quinn returned to Kentucky last season to serve as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Quinn was born in Warwick, Rhode Island, and played quarterback at UMass, so he has ties to the New England area.
– It would be a wild story for current Dolphins WRs coach Wes Welker to return to New England as a coach. That didn’t happen with Belichick, but Welker overlapped with Mayo as a player. The former Pats have been coaching wide receivers since 2019 in Shanahan’s system, first with the 49ers (2019-2021) before following Mike McDaniel to Miami in 2022.