ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- The man who ran the New England Patriots' high-scoring offense is taking over as coach of the Denver Broncos, charged with revitalizing a team that failed to make the playoffs the past three seasons.
Josh McDaniels, the Patriots' 32-year-old offensive coordinator, agreed to a four-year deal to replace Mike Shanahan, who was fired Dec. 30 after 14 seasons with a 146-91 record.
McDaniels will be introduced at a news conference at team headquarters Monday night in Denver, which was hit by an overnight snowstorm.
He'll take over an already potent offense, led by quarterback Jay Cutler and receivers Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal, that's looking to return the Broncos to prominence. Shanahan, known as "The Mastermind" for his creativity on offense, won two Super Bowls in his first four seasons but won just one playoff game in the decade since John Elway retired.
McDaniels' credentials include guiding the record-setting offense that led New England to 18 straight victories last season before a stunning loss to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl. That team scored an NFL-record 75 touchdowns and 589 points.
McDaniels is known for his creative play calling and game plans -- just as Shanahan was when he took over the team in 1995 at the age of 42.
Denver went 8-8 this season and became the first team in NFL history to blow a three-game divisional lead with three weeks left. Shanahan was fired 48 hours later, with three years and $21 million left on his contract.
McDaniels' stock soared with the Patriots, where he quickly ascended from personnel assistant in the scouting department to offensive coordinator for Bill Belichick.
Last season, under McDaniels' tutelage, Tom Brady threw for a record 50 touchdowns, and the coach drew even more praise this past season when the Patriots lost Brady to a knee injury in the opener and Matt Cassel -- a quarterback who hadn't started a game since high school -- came on to lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record.
While McDaniels inherits a high-octane offense, he'll also be receiving a dismal defense in need of yet another overhaul. That's why it was believed a defensive mind might have had the inside track to the job, someone like the New York Giants' Steve Spagnuolo or Minnesota's Leslie Frazier.
The other candidates for Shanahan's job were Raheem Morris of Tampa Bay, Rick Dennison of Denver, Jason Garrett of Dallas and Todd Bowles of Miami.
The new coach won't have as much power as Shanahan, who had final authority on just about everything as vice president of football operations. Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said he'll begin searching for a general manager after he hires his coach.
Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley was simultaneously watching an episode of The Wire on his DVD player and ESPN when the news scrolled across the bottom of his television Sunday night.
He's a bit shocked the Broncos suddenly have a new coach. He figured it would be later this week -- at the earliest.
"It's going to be interesting to see what happens," Stokley said. "I hope we can keep some of our offensive coaches and keep the continuity that we built last year."