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Will Josh McDaniels ‘jump’ Patriots ship for the Browns?

12.19.12 at 2:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — On Tuesday, Josh McDaniels, as he always does, did a lot of talking about the past game and the upcoming opponent for the Patriots offense.

On Wednesday, all of the buzz was about whether this might be the final few weeks of his second stint in New England.

Mary Kay Cabot, the Browns beat reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, tweeted that McDaniels would jump at the chance to coach the Browns.

McDaniels is a native of nearby Canton, Ohio and was a star quarterback for high school powerhouse Canton McKinley, where he played for his father Thom. He was then recruited by and played for John Carroll University in the Cleveland suburbs. He was a wide receiver for John Carroll after being beaten out at quarterback by now-Patriots personnel director Nick Caserio.

The irony here is rich. Last season at this time, it was McDaniels who was allowed out of his offensive coordinator job with the Rams to join the Patriots as a consultant in time for playoffs.

Would this be a distraction? Almost certainly not, since the Patriots have become experts in transition coaching beginning with the 2004 team that lost Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis at the end of a season that concluded with a win in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Just last season, the Patriots made it back to the Super Bowl with McDaniels working with offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, who left to take over at Penn State.

Cleveland is the place where Bill Belichick began his head coaching career, and Belichick certainly understands the rich tradition of football in Northeast Ohio, especially for those who grew up with it.

Speculation has ramped up in recent days that the Browns, who are suffering through 4-10 season, are likely to make several upper management changes, with a new CEO already in place in Joe Banner. Michael Lombardi, another Belichick insider, has been rumored to take over as general manager for Tom Heckert, who was hired by outgoing president Mike Holmgren. New Browns owner Jimmy Haslam hired Banner from the Eagles, and Banner is said to be interested in Lombardi.

If Lombardi takes over football operations, then he would likely consider McDaniels on any short list of candidates to take over for Pat Shurmur.

Wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea could be on a list of potential offensive coordinators to fill the void if McDaniels leaves.

And according to Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe, two initial sources said that if Lombardi and McDaniels join forces in Cleveland, “the chances are good that they will attempt to trade for Patriots backup quarterback Ryan Mallett and install him as the franchise quarterback. Brandon Weeden would be out, or in a backup role.”

If it happens, this would be his second NFL head coaching stint. Things started off perfectly in 2009, when his Broncos got out of the gate 6-0, including a miracle win over the Bengals in his first game and an overtime win over the Patriots, when he famously celebrated afterward with a run toward the end zone.

But things fell apart quickly. He lost his next four games and the team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs. He was 11-17 with the Broncos, fired after a 3-9 start in 2010.

Read More: Cleveland Browns, Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots, nfl
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