FOXBOROUGH — At least for now, the Patriots don’t have to worry about losing their offensive coordinator.
Josh McDaniels notified the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday he was removing himself from consideration for their head coaching position, according to an ESPN report. McDaniels met with team officials on Saturday, but has reportedly decided that a return to being an NFL head coach won’t happen next season in Cleveland.
The Browns fired Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29, hours after the Browns finished 4-12 in his only season. McDaniels, a native of northeast Ohio, was also on the Browns’ radar a year ago, but he chose to pass on being considered for any head coaching openings, stating how pleased he was in his current job. McDaniels was 11-17 as the head coach of the Denver Broncos in 2009-10; he won his first six games, then went 5-17 before being fired.
McDaniels, speaking on a Monday conference call with local media, confirmed he met with the Browns, but chose not to elaborate. He wanted his focus on the Indianapolis Colts, the Patriots’ opponent in Saturday night’s AFC divisional-round playoff game.
Thanks to safety Devin McCourty, the Patriots have a built-in cheat sheet when it comes to defending the Colts. Well, at least some recommendations. That’s because McCourty’s twin brother, Jason, is a cornerback for the Tennessee Titans, who play the Colts twice per season as members of the AFC South.
Did Devin give Jason a ring recently?
What does Jason share with you?
“He really just tells me the notes that they gather. I think it’s big when you play someone twice a year, you understand more about them than I understand just from a personnel standpoint,” Devin said. “I texted him before and said, ‘Whenever you have time, send me over the Colts notes,’ and he sent them to me. I have some good things in there and some things we already knew. It’s always good, I think he really studies a lot so I get some notes that he takes just from watching film to get his perspective on things.
“What we really talk about a lot is the players: How he felt a player was, what he felt he did well when he watched film. We’re both in the secondary, so we talk about the receivers, the tight ends, the backs. I think that’s a key part of it, just getting someone else’s idea of their personnel.”
Ins and outs
The Colts’ signing of former Patriots receiver Deion Branch on Monday has received plenty of news coverage, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick was able to share his thoughts Wednesday on a related topic, not specific to Branch. In Belichick’s opinion, that inside information is not as high as most people might think.
“I think that’s way overrated,’’ Belichick said. “A lot of times the information in those situations is sometimes misinformation because things could change from whenever that person was — I’m not saying that in any particular circumstance, I’m just saying in general. A lot of times a player that’s been with another team tells you something, ‘This is what they do, this is their call, this is that,’ and it turns out that’s not really what it is. It’s pretty overrated.”
Dobson in walking boot
Rookie receiver Aaron Dobson missed Wednesday’s practice and was spotted afterward wearing a walking boot on his left foot. Dobson missed three straight late-season games with a foot injury, returned in Week 16 against the Ravens, but then reaggravated the injury early in the regular-season finale against Buffalo. He hasn’t practiced since.
Dobson was the only player missing from practice, which was held outside on the Gillette Stadium game field. Nine players were limited, including left guard Logan Mankins, who suffered an ankle injury against the Bills. The eight others: defensive backs Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard, Steve Gregory, and McCourty; linebacker Dane Fletcher; offensive lineman Will Svitek; receiver Kenbrell Thompkins; and running back Shane Vereen.
Vereen watched the Colts-Chiefs game last weekend, and noticed that the Indianapolis defense gave up 16 receptions to Kansas City running backs. Could that bode well for Vereen, who had more catches (47) than rushing attempts (44) this season?
“Yeah, definitely, definitely. I’m sure that in our offense and our game plan this week, that that’s kind of the plan as well, but you never know,” Vereen said. “You never know what we’re going to get on Saturday. I’m looking forward to seeing.”
Vereen also said the Patriots’ rushing attack, with himself, Stevan Ridley, LeGarrette Blount, and Brandon Bolden, can hopefully have some success running the ball and wearing down the Colts’ defense. Indianapolis was 26th in the league against the run in the regular season, and gave up 150 rushing yards to the Chiefs.
Dropping the ball
You wouldn’t have known it watching their wild-card game last weekend, but the Colts committed only 14 turnovers during the regular season, fewest in the league. In those first 16 games they lost just four fumbles — the same amount of turnovers they had against the Chiefs, a big reason the Colts were in a 38-10 third-quarter hole . . . The replica Hulk Hogan championship wrestling belt that tight end Matthew Mulligan ordered — it was actually a gift from his wife — has been delivered, and since Tuesday has sat prominently on top of his locker. Mulligan said a number of teammates have stopped by to have a closer look . . . A few cellphones went off while McCourty took media questions at the podium. The next player to the podium, left tackle Nate Solder, was asked what happens when player cellphones go off during a meeting with Belichick. “I don’t think that would ever happen,” Solder said, drawing laughs. “I’ve never been around when that happens. I don’t want to be around.”