FOXBORO (CBS) – New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is reportedly off to Penn State, but the team will not let his departure become a distraction as they get ready for next Saturday’s playoff game.
“We’re still getting ready for the playoffs. We didn’t change anything,” receiver/safety Julian Edelman said in the Pats locker room on Friday. “We’re going to get back to work here soon and enjoy a couple days off and rest.”
O’Brien told Patriots owner Robert Kraft he finish out the playoffs as offensive coordinator with New England, and then take over the Nittany Lions.
“I personally spoke to him, and he committed to me, that he would do everything he could to help us to try to continue to win,” Kraft told the Herald’s Karen Guregian Friday morning. “And that’s good for his legacy, too.”
The Pats are hoping O’Brien won’t be settling into his office at State College anytime soon, but also aren’t concerned about him splitting duties either.
“I know coach as an offensive coordinator and part of us,” said Edelman. “He’s done great for us and I know he’s going to keep on doing well for us. I look forward to preparing with him the rest of this week.”
Although Edelman has seen most of his time on the defensive side of the ball this season, he loved playing under O’Brien, who is known as a no-nonsense coach that gets his players fired up every time they take the field.
“He’s very charismatic and emotional,” Edelman said of O’Brien. “He knows his stuff and you love playing for him, you want to do well for him. That’s Coach O’Brien.”
The Patriots get the weekend off after finishing the regular season 13-3 and the top team in the AFC. They get to sit back and relax as four other teams fight to move on to next weekend.
But watching the games as a fan will be difficult for the New England players, who will be scouting potential playoff opponents in the back of their mind.
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“(I’m) definitely going to watch the games. It’s always hard to say you’re going to be a football fan, because you’re watching and you’re breaking down ‘that was a cover-four’ or your positional group,” said Edelman. “You always do that; at least I always do that.”
With Edelman getting some playing time at safety, the wide receiver will be scouting all phases of the games this weekend.
When asked if he would be watching both offense and defense, Edelman was quick to correct the reporter.
“All three sides, the whole game,” he said with a smile.
The Patriots have a first-round bye, but be sure to tune in to a special playoff edition of Patriots GameDay Sunday January 8 at 11:30am on WBZ-TV. Then on Saturday, January 14, tune in to the Pats Playoff matchup on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub at 8pm. Pregame coverage begins with 98.5′s Patriots Preview at 5pm.