New England Patriots Hire Josh McDaniels: What It Means in 2011 NFL Playoffs

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJanuary 7, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of of the New England Patriots sits on the bench with Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Some have equated the rumors of a reunion between the New England Patriots and former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to a kid moving back in with their parents after college.

Speaking from experience, it's not exactly the worst thing in the world. Home-cooked meals? Free rent? Who could argue?

But for McDaniels and the Patriots, this is about much more than saving money or helping their child get back on his feet. And now that ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting it as a done deal, it's truly a best-case scenario for everyone involved.

McDaniels will work under current offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien throughout the playoffs. O'Brien has accepted the job as head coach at Penn State University, but will remain with the team through its last playoff game, whenever that may be.

The Patriots offense has been successful before and after McDaniels, but no offense in NFL history was as successful as New England's was during McDaniels' time as offensive coordinator. Quarterback Tom Brady gets to reunite with the man that helped draw up game plans and play calls for the prolific 2007 season in which Brady set a record with 50 touchdown passes.

The two had a very good working relationship, and although it got off to a somewhat rocky start with McDaniels as play-caller back in 2006, his level of familiarity with New England's offense should make the transition seamless this time around.

For now, though, the Patriots' focus is winning playoff games, and McDaniels could help in that sense. ESPN's Mike Reiss points out that McDaniels drew up game plans against several playoff teams this year: the Giants, Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Packers, Saints and 49ers. Although his personnel was different there, McDaniels may be able to glean some good info from his previous matchups with those teams should the Patriots face one or more of those teams.

Furthermore, the possible addition of a few new wrinkles in the offense could be just enough to give the Patriots an edge on the competition in the playoffs, where the difference of one play or one subtle change could be the difference between winning and going home.

That could be important in any scenario, but especially if the Patriots wind up facing a team they've already faced once this year—either the Pittsburgh SteelersDenver Broncos or New York Giants (can you imagine?). The offense won't change overnight, and likely won't change much at all under McDaniels, but even the smallest of wrinkles could be enough to give New England an advantage.

How much of an advantage is unclear, but this much is clear: Unlike college graduates moving back in with their family, the results should be mutually beneficial for the Patriots.

Erik Frenz is the co-host of the PatsPropaganda and Frenz podcast. Follow Erik on Twitter.