Bill O’Brien addresses sideline blow-up with Mac Jones: “That’s coaching”
By and large, Bill O’Brien had not lived up to his “Teapot” nickname this year, in his second go-round with the Patriots organization. At least not in the public eye. That changed in a big way when O’Brien let his emotions bubble over, blowing his top on the sideline while screaming at Mac Jones on the bench following a poor decision by the quarterback on a failed third down in Germany. Jones was late to recognize an open Rhamondre Stevenson in the flat and tried to correct his mistake by throwing an underhanded toss toward the running back — a ball that could have been picked off and returned for a touchdown. The incompletion was followed by a missed field goal, leading to the moment on the sideline that was captured on the NFL Network broadcast. While most people aren’t accustomed to seeing anyone at work being spoken to in that fashion, the veteran coach considered it a rather normal moment.
“I think that was just coaching in the moment. That’s kind of the way I coach,” O’Brien said in a video conference call with reporters on Tuesday. “Sometimes the way to get a point across is to, you know, be very demanding and be very intense about it. That’s just the way I coach, that’s who I am, that’s how I’ve always coached.”
For his part, Jones said last year that he wants to be coached hard. And certainly, playing under Nick Saban at Alabama and Bill Belichick in New England hasn’t kept him in a warm-and-fuzzy environment throughout his post-high school career. And O’Brien believes that type of coaching is welcomed by Jones.
“Sometimes that rubs certain players the wrong way. Sometimes, players want that,” O’Brien said. “I think Mac — I don’t want to speak for Mac, but I think Mac wants to be coached. He wants to be told, ‘Hey look, this can be better.'” In this instance, it didn’t seem to help Jones. He missed on a potential touchdown pass on the Patriots’ next drive to Hunter Henry, forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal, and he threw a back-breaking interception with a wide-open Mike Gesicki streaking into the end zone on the possession after that. Jones was then benched, giving Bailey Zappe a chance to lead a game-winning drive in the final minutes. Nevertheless, the 54-year-old head coach sees that sideline moment as a positive case of doing his job the way that he knows how.
“That’s just the way I coach,” he said. “And that’s coaching, in my opinion.” Michael Hurley, WBZ.com Sports Michael Hurley is a digital sports producer at wbz.com. He’s worked at WBZ for more than 10 years. Previously, he covered Boston sports for NESN.com. Read More