New England Patriots

Could Josh McDaniels return to Patriots? NFL Insider gives update

Will the Patriots stick with Bill O'Brien as their offensive coordinator?

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Josh McDaniels has been the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots two separate times. Could he end up returning to Foxboro for a third stint with the Pats?

That depends if Bill O'Brien stays.

“Bill O’Brien is currently under contract, but if he and the Patriots go their separate ways, expect a familiar face, Josh McDaniels, to be at the top of the list for Jerod Mayo's next offensive coordinator," NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported Saturday.

McDaniels was fired by the Las Vegas Raiders in November. He went 9-16 in less than two seasons as their head coach. McDaniels' first head coaching job lasted less than two seasons when the Denver Broncos fired him in 2010. He has a 20-33 overall record as a head coach.

McDaniels' track record in New England as an OC is very good. He enjoyed tremendous success with Tom Brady, and he also was able to get the most out of Mac Jones during his 2021 rookie campaign. McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for the last three of the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning teams (2014, 2016 and 2018).

O'Brien was hired last offseason to be the Patriots' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was once New England's OC in 2011 before leaving to become head coach at Penn State.

The offense struggled in O'Brien's first year back and averaged a league-low 13.9 points per game. That said, there were several factors out of his control. Injuries played a huge part in the offense's lackluster production. The Patriots also did very little last offseason to upgrade their talent and depth at the skill positions.

There also were reports that O'Brien's offense was being handcuffed by Bill Belichick. "I've talked to people inside the organization who feel Bill O'Brien isn't allowed to run the offense that he brought in," Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer said in early December on NBC Sports Boston's Sports Sunday.

O'Brien probably deserves another chance to run the offense without any restrictions. He's a good coach, and it's hard to imagine many offensive coordinators would have had success with what the Patriots put on the field this past season.

How to handle the offensive coordinator position figures to be one of several urgent items on the offseason to-do list for new head coach Jerod Mayo and team ownership.

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