I’m not one of those romantic Patriot fans who long for all their former players and coaches to return for nostalgia’s sake, but I think the move to bring McDaniels back would be an intriguing one.
In Michael Holley’s book War Room he touches upon McDaniels’ creative offensive innovations after the Pats acquired Moss, Welker and Stallworth in 2007. I can only imagine the kind of things McDaniels would do with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
The other factor that could make this a tempting move is Brandon Lloyd. Lloyd recently expressed his loyalty to McDaniels:
“I’m tied to McDaniels. He uses me differently than other offensive coordinators used me in my entire career. He uses me as an every-play receiver. The short game, mid-range game, gimmick passes, deep balls.
"I do everything in this offense as opposed to other coordinators who would just run me off as the deep guy; run me off into double coverage and then say I’m not open. So I really like how Josh uses me within the offense. I’m extremely comfortable in the offense.
Despite some erratic off-the-field behavior early in is career, Lloyd is exactly the kind of player the Patriots offense lacks. He knows the offense, and has the speed to be the proverbial "deep threat”.
The potential addition of McDaniels and Lloyd would make the 2012 Patriots offense even more deadly that it’s been the last two years. If you thought Gronk and Hernando were dominant when defenses didn’t have to truly concern themselves with defending the deep part of the field, they’d be completely unstoppable with someone like Lloyd in the fold.
I’d be all for a reunion with McDaniels whether it included Lloyd or not. McDaniels’ creativity would add an entirely new twist to the Patriots offense that would give opposing defensive coordinators nightmares all off-season.
I don’t think it’s a slam dunk by any means for him to return though. Would he want to come back to Foxboro to finish what they started in what some would surely paint as a step backwards for McDaniels’ career? It’s clear that Bill Belichick has remained close with McDaniels, and I’m sure Tom Brady would love to have him, but there will be many factors and other suitors that will play into it.
Hopefully we won’t be talking about it again until February.