Patriots, Josh McDaniels need each other

The New England Patriots need an offensive coordinator who understands the system now that Bill O'Brien is leaving for Penn State.

Josh McDaniels needs to get back in his comfort zone after three underachieving years with the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams.

The timing is perfect for a McDaniels-New England reunion. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the Patriots are expected to land their former offensive coordinator and have him working immediately on staff.

For now, McDaniels will work under O'Brien for the playoffs. But next season, McDaniels likely will take over the same offensive coordinator job he held from 2006 to '08. The transition should be seamless for McDaniels. New England is running primarily the same offense.

The Patriots will be fine. Truth be told, quarterback Tom Brady -- not the offensive coordinator -- is the biggest key to making New England's offense work. Brady and the Patriots put up great numbers when McDaniels left, and they will continue to do so after O'Brien.

But familiarity is always key with New England. Usually, head coach Bill Belichick likes to promote from within. This pretty much falls in that category despite McDaniels' venturing off to try his luck as a head coach.

McDaniels learned two things in the past three years: The grass isn't always greener on the other side, and it's good to come home. Both McDaniels and the Patriots should benefit from these lessons.