Way We Hear It: New England Patriots eyeing contingency plan if McDaniels leaves

Patriots likely would reach out to former assistant Daboll to potentially replace McDaniels

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The New England Patriots always seem to have a Plan B for most issues that arise, and we hear they could have their sights set on a possible replacement for Josh McDaniels should he accept a head-coaching offer elsewhere.

McDaniels' return to New England has helped lift Tom Brady back to MVP levels. The Patriots are Super Bowl contenders again after winning it all two of the past three seasons. That's why McDaniels' name once again is among the hottest in possible head-coaching openings next week.

And just as McDaniels returned to the Patriots in 2011 after coaching stints with the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams, we hear another former Patriots assistant could be in line to replace him if he leaves this offseason.

Brian Daboll is currently Alabama's offensive coordinator, and he helped lead the 11-1 Crimson Tide to a playoff appearance this season. Daboll only left his post as Patriots tight end coach less than a year ago, right after the Super Bowl LI victory, to take the Bama job. But that doesn't mean Bill Belichick wouldn't reach out to Daboll and Alabama head coach Nick Saban to see what the interest level might be.

Daboll has remained close with Brady, even having him FaceTime with Bama quarterback Jalen Hurts to help him learn elements of the system Daboll brought with him to Tuscaloosa. That bond can't be overlooked as Brady enters the twilight of his career.

Belichick also would consider in-house options if Daboll stayed in college. McDaniels and Bill O'Brien were previously little-known assistants when they were promoted to offensive coordinator, and perhaps someone such as assistant QB coach Jerry Schuplinski could be om the short list. But we feel the Patriots at least will reach out to Daboll should McDaniels leave.