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McDaniels takes control of the Patriots offense

The Patriots will enter 2006 with two new coordinators. Josh McDaniels takes over the offense while Dean Pees is now in charge of the defense.

The New England Patriots announced on Friday that Josh McDaniels has been named the team's offensive coordinator. McDaniels served as the Patriots quarterbacks coach for the past two seasons and will continue those duties this year as well.

McDaniels, 29, is entering his sixth season with the Patriots. Last year under McDaniels, Tom Brady led the NFL with 4,110 passing yards and had the most productive season of his career.

"My relationship with Tom is one of the most positive things when I come to work everyday," McDaniels said. "It's a privilege to coach a player like that."

McDaniels began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Michigan State for Nick Saban in 1999. After two seasons with the Spartans, McDaniels joined the Patriots as a defensive coaching assistant. In 2004, Bill Belichick promoted McDaniels to quarterbacks coach.

According to McDaniels, his role didn't change much during the 2005 season.

"Our offensive staff has been together for a while now," McDaniels said. "My role didn't change much during the season. All the things I was responsible for at the beginning of the year, I was responsible for at the end."

McDaniels takes over an offense that struggled running the football in 2005 but still has Brady and a lot of explosive weapons. Now an NFL coordinator at the age of 29, McDaniels could become the next Patriots assistant who will be a hot head coaching prospect in the near future.

Pees talks about his new role

With Eric Mangini now officially with the Jets, new offensive coordinator Dean Pees was introduced to the media on Friday.

Pees, 56, will be entering his 34th year in coaching, including acting as the Patriots linebackers coach for the past two seasons.

"Dean Pees has done an outstanding job coaching our linebackers," Belichick said shortly after Pees was promoted. "When he joined us, Dean brought a wealth of experience into this system and has been a significant part of our success over the past two seasons."

The Patriots didn't wait long to replace Mangini. They announced Pees as the new defensive coordinator about an hour after the Jets got done introducing Mangini as their lead man.

"Bill came in and told all of us that Eric had accepted the Jets job," Pees said. "Then he came in and talked to me, offered me the position and I accepted it."

In his two seasons as linebackers coach, the Patriots finished sixth and fourth respectively against the run. The linebackers have been the strength of the Patriots defense since Pees took over, totaling 49.5 sacks over that span.

Pees was also instrumental in convincing Belichick to move street free agent Artrell Hawkins from cornerback to safety, a position he hadn't played since his college days at Cincinnati.

"I know moving me to safety was partly his idea," Hawkins said. "He knows a lot about playing in the secondary from all his years as a defensive backs coach. He really helped out by telling me what to look for out there."

This will be the second year in a row the Patriots will open the season with a new defensive coordinator. Last year Mangini took over for Romeo Crennel - who left to take the head coaching job in Cleveland. It was expected Mangini would be in New England for a while but the Jets liked him enough to make him the youngest head coach in the NFL – even though Mangini had only been a coordinator in the league for one season.

Despite reports to the contrary, Belichick was pleased to see his young protégé get a head coaching position.

"For over a decade, I've had the pleasure of working with Eric Mangini, who is an outstanding coach and an even finer individual," Belichick said. "The opportunity Eric has now earned is truly an example of good things happening to a good, hard-working person."

Pees noted he respected both of his predecessors and the look of the Patriots defense won't change with him at the helm.

"Both Eric and Romeo are two different types of people with different personalities but we ran the same scheme under both guys," Pees said. "It's basically Bill's scheme so I'm just going to continue to do what we do here.

"I coached the 3-4 in high school and ran it in college. I was hired as the defensive coordinator at Miami (Ohio) because they ran the 3-4, so my background in the 3-4 defense goes back quite a few years."

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