Chad O’Shea Could Provide Playoff Spark For New England Patriots

Chad O'Shea

The New England Patriots offense isn’t quite right this season, but help could be on the way in the form of former wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea. O’Shea spent 2019 with the Miami Dolphins but is now looking for work after a surprise firing. This could be fantastic news for the Patriots, as O’Shea could provide some value to New England in both the short- and long-term.

A Chad O’Shea Reunion Makes Perfect Sense For New England Patriots

Chad O’Shea in the Short Term

New England could use an offensive boost heading into the playoffs, especially in the red zone. The Patriots never found a Rob Gronkowski replacement, and his absence transformed New England into one of the worst red zone offenses in the league. According to Team Rankings, the Patriots scored a touchdown on just 50% of their red zone possessions, good for 26th in the league. This touchdown rate is the worst among playoff teams and could be the difference between victory and defeat in January.

This is where O’Shea comes in. In addition to working with the wide receiver, O’Shea also helped to design plays for the red zone. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels hasn’t shied away from how valuable O’Shea was to New England’s red zone attack, and the Patriots clearly miss having him around. New England’s red zone offense was destined to regress without Gronkowski, but nobody expected this type of lackluster production.

For what it’s worth, O’Shea found a way to duplicate his red zone success in Miami. The Dolphins finished the year with a 56.25% red zone touchdown rate, which is an impressive feat considering the limited roster talent. This success isn’t a mirage, as the Dolphins actually had a ridiculous 67.7% red zone touchdown rate at the start of December. Chad O’Shea won’t magically turn New England into the best red zone offense in the league, but he clearly has a gift for this type of work. Bringing him back could mean one or two additional touchdowns in the playoffs, which might the difference between victory and defeat.

The Long Term

In what’s becoming something of an annual tradition, Josh McDaniels is receiving significant interest in head coaching searches. According to various reports, McDaniels already has received interview requests from the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and New York Giants. Cleveland could be an interesting fit, as McDaniels grew up roughly an hour away from Cleveland. CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar also notes that Cleveland has “long been the job thought to interest McDaniels the most”, so this could be it for McDaniels in Foxboro.

If McDaniels leaves, the Patriots are going to need to find an offensive coordinator. Obviously, O’Shea has experience calling an offense and is familiar with New England’s system. In theory, he could seamlessly take over the job and keep the offense running smoothly.

Even if O’Shea isn’t the offensive coordinator of the future, the Patriots could still use him as a positional coach. According to Ben Volin of The Boston Globe, the Patriots are reportedly grooming wide receivers coach Joe Judge to be the next offensive coordinator. If Belichick chooses to promote Judge, somebody is going to have to coach the wide receivers. The obvious choice would be O’Shea, as he was the wide receiver coach during his first tenure with the team.

Bringing back Chad O’Shea won’t guarantee a Super Bowl, but it would increase New England’s short- and long-term outlook. New England’s red zone offense definitely has room for improvement, and O’Shea excels at working in enemy territory. In the long term, the Patriots could use O’Shea to help replace Josh McDaniels. No matter how you look at it, bringing Chad O’Shea back to Foxboro should be a top priority for New England.

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