How do Patriots deal with McDaniels' departure?

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

The New England Patriots are in the market for an offensive coordinator.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting the Denver Broncos have reached terms with Josh McDaniels, who called the plays for Tom Brady during New England's record-setting 2007 campaign and guided career backup Matt Cassel to 11 victories in 2008.

It might be a shock for Broncos fans to have a whippersnapper running their team after so many years of continuity under Mike Shanahan.

But McDaniels leaving the Patriots is no surprise. The 32-year-old graduate of Division III John Carroll, the same school that produced Don Shula, is one of the hottest NFL assistants of the past couple years.

Who will replace McDaniels in New England?

Patriots Nation fretted when Charlie Weis left for Notre Dame after the 2004 season, but everything worked out despite McDaniels being an unknown to anybody outside of Ohio, where his father is a prep coaching legend.

The Patriots officially went without an offensive coordinator in 2005, but McDaniels ran the show as quarterbacks coach. He assumed the title in 2006.

Belichick hasn't overseen many offensive coordinators. Weis and McDaniels are the only two he has worked with in New England.

Belichick didn't have an offensive coordinator his first three seasons as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

The main offensive minds were quarterbacks coach Gary Tranquill (now out of the game) and running backs/tight ends coach Steve Crosby (now special teams coordinator for the San Diego Chargers).

Mike Sheppard (now receivers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals) was on Belichick's staff for three years. Sheppard has been a coordinator for the Chargers, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints and in the college ranks at Kansas and Cal.

If the Patriots were to look internally, as they did last time they needed an offensive coordinator, the first logical place would be the quarterbacks coach. That was McDaniels.

Two assistants on Belichick's staff have offensive coordinator experience.

Tight ends coach Pete Mangurian was the Atlanta Falcons coordinator in 2003.

Receivers coach Bill O'Brien was the coordinator at Georgia Tech in 2001 and 2002 and at Duke in 2005 and 2006.

Who do you think the Patriots will pursue?