BOSTON (CBS) — With no obvious in-house candidates to take over as offensive coordinator in the event that Josh McDaniels leaves New England, the Patriots may be forced to look outside their building. If they do, they just may look for a familiar face.

According to Adam Schefter, former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is a “potential replacement” in the event that McDaniels leaves to take a head coaching job. That nugget was dropped not long after reports surfaced of McDaniels being requested for an interview in Las Vegas.

O’Brien is a Massachusetts native who went to St. John’s Prep for high school and Brown University in Providence for college. He was a Patriots assistant from 2007-11, serving as the offensive coordinator for his final season.

O’Brien left the Patriots after the 2011 season to become the head coach at Penn State, following the school’s scandal centered around Jerry Sandusky, which led to the firing of Joe Paterno. O’Brien led the Nittany Lions to a 15-9 record over two seasons, before moving on to take the Houston Texans’ head coaching job.

O’Brien was in charge of the Texans from 2014-20, leading the team to a 52-48 record and four playoff appearances in his six-plus seasons. O’Brien went back to the college ranks in 2021 as the offensive coordinator for Alabama.

CBSBoston.com Staff