FOXBORO (CBS/AP) – The New England Patriots are expected to hire St. Louis Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, as first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.
McDaniels will take a job as an offensive assistant coach and will begin immediately working for the team.
McDaniels will take over as offensive coordinator next season, a job he previously held.
The Patriots’ current offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien has accepted the head coaching at Penn State.
O’Brien plans to remain on the Patriots staff through the end of the season.
McDaniels would go from near the bottom of the NFL after spending the season as offensive coordinator of the St. Louis Rams, who were 2-14, to a shot at the Super Bowl with the Patriots with an AFC-best 13-3 record.
He was offensive coordinator with the Patriots from 2006 to 2008 before becoming head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009. He was fired with a 3-9 record in 2010 after losing 17 of his last 22 games. The Patriots, who had a bye this weekend, go into the playoffs with an eight-game winning streak.
The 35-year-old McDaniels was the only Rams assistant under contract through next season when Steve Spagnuolo was fired on Jan. 2.
“I’m sure Josh will have opportunities around the NFL to possibly be a coordinator or better throughout this process,” Kevin Demoff, the Rams vice president and chief operating officer, said at the time. “It’s going to be fluid, but we’ll figure out what’s best for both parties.”
The Rams scored the fewest points per game in the league, 12.1, gained the second fewest yards, 283.6, and the third fewest yards passing, 179.4. Sam Bradford struggled at quarterback with just six touchdown passes and six interceptions in McDaniels’ system, which had many more longer developing pass plays than the Rams had in 2010 under Pat Shurmur.
That lack of production contrasts sharply with the Patriots offense under McDaniels, especially in 2007 when they went 16-0 then won two playoff games before losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants 17-14.
In that season, Tom Brady set a single-season league record with 50 touchdown passes for an offense that averaged a league-best 411.2 yards. It also was first in yards passing, 295.7 and points per game, 36.8.
Now McDaniels is poised to be reunited with Brady and another prolific offense in time for the Patriots practices for their divisional playoff game next Saturday. As the top-seeded team in the AFC, they earned home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.
The Patriots were second in the league in overall yards with 428 per game and yards passing with 317.8. Their average of 32.1 points was third.
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