If O'Brien goes to Penn State, who replaces him?

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If O'Brien goes to Penn State, who replaces him?

FOXBORO - With reports swirling that Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is in line for the head coaching job at Penn State, the question in New England becomes who would be in line to replace him.
O'Brien's work in New England has been somewhat underrated. Succeeding Josh McDaniels in 2009, he had a bit of a rocky start (remember the giant signs he used to signal in plays early that year?) and '09 was not a banner season.
But in 2010, O'Brien presided over an offense that transformed on the fly after Randy Moss was jettisoned. With an untested backfield combo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead taking over when veterans Fred Taylor and Kevin Faulk went down, the Patriots' running game flourished. O'Brien also helped enmesh rookie tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in the offense and remade the team from one that challenged vertically to one that was potent in exposing mismatches.
Aside from weekly slow starts that have been an irritation, O'Brien's offense with Tom Brady at the controls has continued to be remarkably productive.
Here are three possible successors if O'Brien goes to Penn State.
CHAD O'SHEAProbably the most likely candidate since the Patriots usually promote from within. He's the team's wide receivers coach and has been in that role since 2009. He came to the Patriots in 2008 after working with the Chiefs and Vikings from 2003 through 2008. A college quarterback at Marshall and the University of Houston, the 39-year-old O'Shea also coached special teams. That kind of well-rounded offensive experience is a huge benefit to Belichick. He hasn't been an offensive play-caller, however. That may mean Bill Belichick will go without a titled OC in 2012 if O'Shea is given the responsibilities.
JOSH McDANIELSHe's the OC in St. Louis right now but Steve Spagnuolo and his staff are on the ropes. Obviously, if the staff goes, McDaniels is out of a job and looking. He could be seen as head coaching material elsewhere - Kansas City if Romeo Crennel doesn't go from interim to full-time head coach? - but he'll likely always have a home here.
JEFF DAVIDSONCurrently the offensive line coach with the Vikings, Davidson was in New England from 1997 through 2004 whereupon he went to Cleveland as the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach and then to Carolina from 2007 through 2010 as the offensive coordinator.

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

Despite Crowder's ties to Falcons, Celtics pulling for Patriots in Super Bowl

WALTHAM --  Go up and down the Boston Celtics roster and you won’t have any trouble finding players who will be cheering on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.
 
But there are some Celtics who understandably have mixed feelings about the game.
 
Among them is Jae Crowder, who grew up in Villa Rica, Ga. which is about 32 miles outside of Atlanta.
 
“I’ve been cheering for the Falcons all my life,” Crowder said. “I’m here in Boston; I’ve been a Patriots fan.”
 
And within that fandom, Crowder has developed a friendship with New England players, among them being Patriots running back LaGarrette Blount.
 
Not soon after the Patriots punched their ticket to the Super Bowl, Crowder got a text message from Blount.
 
“He knows,” Crowder said of Blount. “Yeah, he knows I’m in between.”
 
Isaiah Thomas, whose hometown Seattle Seahawks were beaten by the Falcons, said Crowder didn’t become a Falcons fan until they made the playoffs.
 
“Bandwagon? But I just took his money though,” quipped Crowder, referring to the Falcons beating the Seahawks in an earlier round of the playoffs. “We did them Seahawks real dirty; bandwagon.”
 
He’s not the only Celtics player with ties to Atlanta.
 
Boston rookie Jaylen Brown grew up just a few minutes outside of Atlanta in Marietta, Ga.
 
Thomas said Brown is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
 
“I don’t know how that is,” Thomas said. “Don’t let him tell you he’s an Atlanta Falcons fan. Jae just started reppin’ them when they made the playoffs. They can do what they want; they might as well root for the Patriots.”
 
For Thomas, cheering for the Patriots is more than just supporting his fellow professional athletes. As he tries to continue growing as a player and a leader for the Celtics, the Patriots and the way they do things in many ways has been a blueprint of sorts for Thomas.
 
“They’re the team you want to be,” Thomas said. “Every year they give themselves a chance. From top to bottom, they’re 100 percent professional. They think championship every year. That’s how you should be. We want to model that. Hopefully the can go out and win it, and we can try to piggy-pack on what they did.”
 
Another Celtic with Atlanta ties is Al Horford, who made it clear which team had his support.
 
“Going to school in Florida, being in the south for so many years, college football is kind of my thing,” said Horford, who revealed that he never attended a Falcons during his nine seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. “I would watch them on TV and stuff like that. I know it’s exciting for them. It’s a big deal to be in the Super Bowl. But I’m here in New England now so I’ll be cheering for the Patriots.”

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

Andy Dalton named Tom Brady's Pro Bowl replacement

With Tom Brady spending this week and next preparing for the Super Bowl, Andy Dalton has been named his replacement in the Pro Bowl. 

This will mark Dalton’s third Pro Bowl appearance. He finished fourth in the AFC in passing yards (4,206) and tied for 10th with 18 passing touchdowns. Brady threw 10 more touchdowns in four fewer games. 

Though he’s often skipped the actual games, this was the 12th season in which Brady was named to the AFC’s Pro Bowl roster. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last eight seasons.