Latest rumor suggests a former coach may be returning to the Patriots

Super Bowl LII - New England Patriots - Practice
Super Bowl LII - New England Patriots - Practice / Elsa/GettyImages

Would it be at all shocking to anyone to hear that Josh McDaniels may return to the Patriots for the 2024 season? Because that's the latest rumor beginning to circulate as part of the ongoing drama of Bill Belichick's future with the team.

After he was fired from Las Vegas, it was assumed that the longtime offensive coordinator would find his way back to his old team as he had before. But it seemed like many dominoes would need to fall before that could happen, mainly that of Bill O'Brien, since if McDaniels returned, it surely wouldn't be to succeed Belichick.

Now it's being said if Belichick and Robert Kraft work out a compromise to keep him in New England through the end of his contract, the possibility of McDaniels' return skyrockets. Jeff Howe of The Athletic cited sources who revealed a reunion between the trio may play a part in keeping Belichick around for another season.

“Belichick will need to lay out a firm plan to dramatically improve the on-field product after the Patriots’ worst record (4-13) of Kraft’s ownership. Part of that plan may include a reunion with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is considered a candidate to return, sources close to the situation said.”

A Josh McDaniels re-hire in New England wouldn't be a bad idea, except...

In theory, there aren't many complaints to come up with regarding McDaniels' return to where he's seen the most success. He helped a rookie, Mac Jones, have a standout season, earning him Pro Bowl honors in 2021. Since he left to coach the Raiders after that season, Jones has regressed tremendously, and many have wondered how he would have fared if McDaniels had never left.

We could see that next year, maybe without Jones, but the idea of McDaniels returning to the Patriots staff while O'Brien is still there seems odd.

Because he hasn't performed well as a head coach, the assumption is he would take over his old position upon returning. But if that's not available, perhaps he's given an assistant coach title like Belichick did for Joe Judge in 2023. It's the only way it would make sense, yet it still feels like too many like-minded guys are on the sideline when they need less fuss involved with the offense.

It seems like something could be in the works, however, since McDaniels made his first public appearance since he was fired in November by attending the Patriots Week 18 game against the Jets last Sunday.

Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn't. But for the time being, it's just speculation.

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