FOXBOROUGH — Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia concluded a whirlwind of job interviews Saturday but made it clear Monday morning that they’ve put those meetings in their rearview mirrors.
McDaniels had meetings with the 49ers, Rams, and Jaguars, while Patricia sat down with the Rams and Chargers about their head coaching vacancies.
The number of openings was trimmed by one late in the afternoon when the Jaguars promoted interim coach Doug Marrone, according to ESPN.
“It’s humbling and it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to do any of those things,’’ said McDaniels. “I feel very fortunate to even have the opportunity to sit in front of those people that they would listen to me and spend time with me.’’
McDaniels, who coached the Broncos in 2009 and ’10, also said that his focus is “absolutely going to be on the Texans this week, and I’m looking forward to getting ready to go.’’
Patricia, who has spent the last 10 seasons in New England and did interview with the Browns last season, was similar but brief as he assessed his meetings.
“Obviously over the weekend I was very thankful for those opportunities and that was a great experience to go through,’’ he said. “I think everything right now for me is Houston, flip the page as soon as I can.”
McDaniels said coaching trains you to change gears quickly, which is why he could easily jump from selling himself to prospective employers one minute and setting his sights on the Texans the next. The Patriots didn’t officially know their next opponent until the Steelers thumped the Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
“I think the profession that we work in requires that of us each week,’’ he said. “We get ready for one team, we put all our focus and time, our preparation, our energy into getting ready to do the best we can each week against a certain opponent, and then the very next day, as soon as the game ends actually, our focus shifts to something different.’’
McDaniels also shed light on how Bill Belichick serves as a mentor during this process — despite the fact that he may be losing a trusted assistant.
“He’s the best. He’s very unselfish and he cares for us all,’’ McDaniels relayed. “If there is something that we need or we would ask of him, I’m certain that he would do it and give it to us, whether it’s advice, wisdom, counsel, what have you. He’s not only somebody that we take our cue from in terms of getting ready for the next opponent, but he’s a mentor in a lot of different areas of our lives and this would be no different.’’
McDaniels also had similar praise for team owner Robert Kraft and team president Jonathan Kraft.
Patricia was quite complimentary of his boss as well.
“To be real honest with you, Coach Belichick is unbelievable,’’ Patricia said. “He’s one of the smartest football coaches I’ve ever been around. I’ve learned a lot from him. I just really enjoy every day trying to understand the game and how he sees the game and what he looks at.’’
Belichick was asked about his coordinators during his afternoon appearance on WEEI and he fully supported them.
“They have done a good job for me and if an opportunity comes up for them that is right for them, then I hope if they want to move on that way professionally then that’s their choice.”
Like most of the Patriots, Malcolm Butler is putting no stock in New England’s 27-0 win over the Texans in Week 3 — a game in which New England was a 2-point underdog at home and was started by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett.
“Of course we won the game, but teams are not peaking early in the season,’’ said the cornerback. “So you most definitely say they got better, we got better, so, time will tell.”
Butler said they won’t be overlooking the Texans, who have their full attention after winning the AFC South and dropping the Raiders on wild-card weekend.
“Most definitely, that’s why they’re advancing to the next round.’’
Left tackle Nate Solder doesn’t think the Texans history against the Patriots (Houston has lost five straight in the series) is a factor. In fact, he thinks because the teams have played so frequently, the 15½-point underdog visitors won’t be intimidated by a chilly playoff trip to Gillette Stadium.
“I think that it’s going to be a real challenge because they have some familiarity with the area, they have some familiarity with the way we do things, everything that we do,’’ he said. “I think they have great coaches and I think they have a really good defense, it’s going to be tough for us.’’
O’Brien weighs in
There are a couple of roads Texans coach Bill O’Brien doesn’t want to go down, metaphorically speaking.
The first? Discussing the Texans’ Week 3 shutout loss to the Patriots.
“I’m probably not going to go down that road. I think it’s a long season,” the Houston coach said Monday, two days after beating the Raiders. “I think we try to divide the season in some ways into quarters. So that was the first quarter of the season. Now, we’re into the fifth quarter of the season. I think both teams are totally different.”
The second? Talking about how to convince his players that they can win in Foxborough, where the Patriots are 15-3 in the postseason under Belichick.
“I don’t know if you go down that road. It’s a different year. Every year is different. It’s not about convincing. Our players are going to walk in here [Tuesday] with the mind-set that they have earned the right to be here and that they are looking forward to the challenge,” O’Brien said.
“We are going to focus on what we need to do to learn the game plan, to execute the game plan in practice and then go up there and play aggressively and play to win. We aren’t going to talk about what went on in the past . . . None of that matters. The only thing that matters is how each team prepares this week.’’
What else doesn’t matter? Being underdogs.
“The only thing that matters is what takes place in between the lines on Saturday night,” O’Brien said. “No, I don’t really go too much to the Vegas betting line. I don’t think that would be really a good motivation tool this week.”