As news developed over the past week that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien was likely to leave the Patriots for an outside position, many have speculated that the Patriots could bring back a familiar face: former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Last night, it was confirmed that Bill O'Brien would be leaving the team for the vacant head coaching position at Penn State. This morning, Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Patriots (and the Chiefs) have requested permission to talk to McDaniels.
Assuming the Patriots view McDaniels as an offensive coordinator candidate, the Rams could deny the Patriots permission to interview him since the job would be a lateral move.
The Rams fired head coach Steve Spagnuolo on Monday, but McDaniels remains under contract for the 2012 season. St. Louis seems to be taking a wait-and-see approach if their new head coach would want to retain McDaniels, but reportedly won't retain him if leading candidate Jeff Fisher is hired.
The next step in this process will be to wait and see whether or not the Rams grant permission for the Patriots to speak to McDaniels. If they do, and the interest between New England and McDaniels is mutual, then I expect things to move quickly. McDaniels is still a valued coaching commodity, and if the Patriots stall, he could end up going to a team like Kansas City (don't forget that McDaniels had a lot of success with quarterback Matt Cassel in 2008, and tried to acquire him from the Patriots in his first year with Denver in the 2009 offseason).