Over the past couple of days, we've followed the rumors that former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could return to the team. Thursday night, it was reported that the Patriots would reach out to McDaniels. Friday, it was reported that the Rams wouldn't block a lateral move by McDaniels to New England or Kansas City, and that McDaniels would meet with the Patriots this weekend.
Now, in a story that has moved incredibly fast, it appears that Josh McDaniels will indeed be returning to the Patriots. The most surprising part of this news? McDaniels' return will be effective immediately.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Josh McDaniels is expected to be re-hired by the Patriots for the remainder of the 2011 postseason as an "offensive assistant coach." Following its conclusion, the Patriots are then expected to name McDaniels the team's offensive coordinator.
With current offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien recently accepting the vacant head coaching position at Penn State, McDaniels likely represents the best possible replacement for O'Brien. Since leaving the Patriots, McDaniels has gained valuable head coaching and personnel evaluating experience. He's still a very good coach, and the Patriots are fortunate to get him back. In fact, it wouldn't even be a stretch to say that McDaniels could potentially be an upgrade over Bill O'Brien.
McDaniels got the best out of Tom Brady and the Patriots offense in 2007, as we know he isn't afraid to take risks as a play caller. Bill O'Brien has been known to be a bit predictable, and McDaniels is anything but that. In addition, could provide a boost to Ryan Mallett and Bryan Hoyer's development at quarterback, as his development of Matt Cassel was a great story in 2008.
Of course, McDaniels isn't stepping into the offensive coordinator position quite yet. For the Patriots' playoff run, I think he can also provide some value. With St. Louis, McDaniels faced the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Packers, Saints, Giants, and 49ers - all playoff teams who the Patriots could potentially face somewhere down the line.
In addition, McDaniels can also help take some pressure off Bill O'Brien as he handles "double duty" with New England and Penn State. He's a good coach, and while adding a coach such as McDaniels could seem a bit unconventional, I can only see McDaniels helping the Patriots during their playoff run.