(Associated Press file)
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It's official. Josh McDaniels will return to the New England Patriots as an offensive assistant this week and will serve under Bill O'Brien, the offensive coordinator who was named coach at Penn State on Saturday.
The team made the announcement Sunday night.
O'Brien, introduced in State College, Pa., over the weekend, was due to fly back to Massachusetts on Sunday night, so he and McDaniels can gameplan for the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional round. The Patriots, the AFC's No. 1 seed, had a bye this weekend.
McDaniels, 35, worked for New England from 2001 to 2008, including three seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was coach for the Broncos from 2009 to 2010, before becoming the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2011.
McDaniels again will become the offensive coordinator for the Patriots once O'Brien's tenure officially ends in Foxborough.
McDaniels will go from near the bottom of the NFL after spending the season with the Rams (2-14), to a shot at the Super Bowl with a team that has a 13-3 record.
McDaniels' first game back in New England will be against the team that gave him his biggest chance in the NFL. But the Broncos, who drafted quarterback Tim Tebow during McDaniels' tenure, went in another direction after McDaniels lost 17 of his last 22 games.
McDaniels was the only Rams assistant under contract through next season when coach Steve Spagnuolo was fired last week.
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 longer developing pass plays than the Rams had in 2010 under Pat Shurmur, who left to be coach of the Cleveland Browns after the 2010 season.
The 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).