Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, appearing Tuesday on the weekly coaches’ teleconference, addressed his decision to withdraw from consideration for the Browns’ head coaching position.
McDaniels met with Browns officials Jan. 4 but subsequently took his name out of the running.
Does it mean that he expects to be with the Patriots next season?
“I’ll definitely be here,” he said.
“I think all it means is I made a decision that this is the right time for me to be here. I’m really happy here, I’ve said that numerous times. There’s not really much else to it.
“It’s a process you go through sometimes, and you ultimately have to make choices based on what’s best for you and your family, and that’s what I tried to do.”
No answers yet
Bill Belichick was in no mood to give a medical update on punter Ryan Allen, and didn’t want to talk about Brandon Spikes, whose agent said Monday night that the team’s decision to place the linebacker on injured reserve was not a mutual one.
“We’ll put out our injury report tomorrow after practice, like we usually do,” Belichick said, when asked if he anticipates Allen being able to play against the Broncos.
Allen suffered a shoulder injury in last Saturday’s win over the Colts, which led to kicker Stephen Gostkowski taking over both roles the rest of the game.
The Patriots are scheduled to be back on the practice field Wednesday, and whether or not Allen is there could be the first indication of what the team might do.
Belichick was asked if it’s possible to sign a punter later in the week, even as late as Friday, or if Gostkowski could simply continue serving as both kicker and punter.
“Sure, both those things are possible,” Belichick said.
When the subject turned to Spikes, Belichick cut off a questioner who was asking the coach for his reaction to the statement put out by the linebacker’s agent.
An ESPN report Saturday said Spikes, who was placed on season-ending IR Jan. 3, was late for a bye-week practice, which was part of the reason he was designated.
“We’ll talk about the game and the players that are on our roster,” said Belichick. “I’m not going to talk about any players that aren’t currently on the active roster.”
Linebacker Von Miller (torn knee ligament) and defensive end Derek Wolfe (illness) are out (Wolfe was placed on IR Tuesday), but the Broncos’ defensive front is still disruptive, according to Patriots center Ryan Wendell.
“They did a great job condensing the pocket [against San Diego], getting to Philip Rivers, making it tough on him,” Wendell said Monday. “The sacks, they couldn’t run the ball, there’s a reason for that, that defensive line is stout, and it’s going to be a good challenge.”
One week after gashing the Bengals on the ground in a wild-card win, the Chargers ran for only 65 yards against Denver, on 18 attempts. Rivers was sacked four times. In their regular-season loss at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 24, the Broncos sacked Tom Brady three times and held the Patriots to a similar rushing average (116 yards on 31 carries).
“Those guys play hard every week,” said Wendell. “I think there have been some differences, with some players coming in and some players going out.
“I think their defense, from [coordinator] Jack Del Rio all the way down, has done a good job of playing to the strengths that they have on the field.”
Antsy at the line
One area of Peyton Manning’s game that possibly gets overlooked? His ability to draw the defense offsides with hard counts at the line of scrimmage
In Sunday’s game, the Chargers were penalized five times for neutral zone infractions, one of which came on a third-and-1.
“That’s certainly a hidden stat in the game that is a big deal to us,” said Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia. “He was able to get some line-of-scrimmage penalties, which we always talk about, we never want to give up free yardage.
“With a guy like Peyton Manning, who has such a variation of cadences that he uses, you have to be very aware and on top of that.
“The key for us will be the ball, that triggers all of the play, offense and defense, that’s the key point. It’s extremely difficult, you’re ready to go, you’re trying to be aggressive, you’re trying to attack that man in front of you, and that hard count comes through, or that exaggerated cadence comes through, and he gets them.
“We’ll absolutely have to make sure he doesn’t get us.”
Belichick confirmed that the Patriots are considering flying to Denver on Friday, two days before the game. They are scheduled to practice Friday at 10:45 a.m., and media access comes before practice. When the Patriots have played on the West Coast in recent years, they typically fly two days out, so they have an extra day to get acclimated. In this case, perhaps they’d like extra time to also get adjusted to the altitude . . . Only two teams have been able to hold the Broncos under 30 points, yet it happened four times. San Diego kept Denver under 30 in all three meetings: 28 and 20 points in the regular season (the teams split), and on Saturday, when the Broncos won, 24-17. “You’re talking about one of the most productive offenses in the history of the NFL,” Patricia said. “We are going to go through all the film from the entire season and try to evaluate it.” The other team to hold Denver under 30? Kansas City, in a 27-17 Broncos win.