‘I have one of the best jobs in the world’: Josh McDaniels is staying with the Patriots
Josh McDaniels is staying with the Patriots. Only this time, it’s with a lot less suspense.
“I’ll be here moving forward,” McDaniels said Tuesday, confirming his intention to remain offensive coordinator in New England.
McDaniels interviewed for just one of the eight NFL head coaching jobs that opened up during or after the regular season (Green Bay). The Packers hired former Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur Tuesday, eliminating the possibility that McDaniels might leave to team up with Aaron Rodgers.
McDaniels said he will not have any more interviews this year.
“The book is closed,” he said.
McDaniels, who spoke with Packers brass Friday, called the experience “educational.” He has had plenty of interviews over the years, and said he has always enjoyed the chance to learn about another team and how it operates. But he is happy to stay put and focus on the playoffs.
“I think I have one of the best jobs in the world,” McDaniels said. “And I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue competing this week against the Chargers.”
McDaniels made himself a test case in NFL hiring practices last year when he left the Colts at the altar, verbally accepting an offer to become their head coach and going so far as to assemble a staff before pulling out to remain in New England.
The Colts already had announced the hiring when McDaniels withdrew, following an appeal from Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft just after Super Bowl LII that resulted in a contract extension.
The question was whether McDaniels’s about-face would hurt his chances in future hiring cycles. McDaniels has repeatedly confirmed that he would like to become a head coach again.
One interview out of eight openings isn’t what you’d expect for a 42-year-old offensive mind with five Super Bowl rings, though McDaniels self-imposed some limits on how many jobs he would consider. He turned down the Bengals’ request for an interview.
There was a lot of speculation — stemming from McDaniels’s roots in Ohio and his experience working with quarterbacks — that he could wind up with the Browns job, but Cleveland never called.
“I have had no contact with them,” McDaniels said.
McDaniels said he had “no idea” whether last year’s situation with the Colts affected his standing with teams conducting searches this year.
He told the Globe in March that he hadn’t had clarity on what his role would be in New England going forward until that meeting after the Super Bowl. ESPN reported at the time that McDaniels was told that Belichick would spend more time with him on things such as roster construction and salary-cap management to help him down the road, though McDaniels said Tuesday that his role is similar to last year’s.
“I don’t really think that that’s really changed,” McDaniels said. “Hopefully I can improve whatever it is that I’m responsible for, but my role here has been the same.”
A telling comment
When the Chargers beat the Ravens in the wild-card round, two weeks after losing to them in the regular season, there was a lot of postgame chatter about how Los Angeles had sniffed out tendencies in Baltimore’s offense based on tells such as how the offensive linemen set their feet or which guard was pulling on a given play.
That’s the type of preparation and smart football the Patriots are often associated with, so it was interesting to hear Belichick say he believes “some of those things are a little bit overrated.”
“I think that’s part of football. There’s certainly tendencies,” Belichick said. “I’ve never coached against a good team that didn’t have tendencies; I’d say pretty strong tendencies.
“Usually, that’s what makes teams good teams is they do something and they do it well and they can continue to do it even though you have some anticipation of what they’re going to do. But that’s what makes good football teams good.
“I’m sure that every team we play studies us for keys and tips, just like we study them. There’s always things that you can learn or help anticipate.”
That’s not to invalidate what the Chargers did — from what players said, the Ravens’ tells were just too obvious, and Los Angeles also had the players to take advantage of Baltimore’s offense — but it was an interesting, perhaps unexpected, perspective.
Defensive line coach Brendan Daly described one way in which second-year defensive lineman Deatrich Wise has improved against the run. Daly said that Wise has grown more patient once he gets engaged with a block, which allows him to use his long arms to his advantage and use the blocker’s body to close gaps.
“A lot of guys have a tendency to try to locate the ball too quickly, or as they locate the ball, their pad level gets high because they’re trying to find it over the top of the blocker, as opposed to continuing to press the blocker and locating the ball by looking around the blocker,” Daly said.
Hollister is done
Tight end Jacob Hollister’s injury-plagued season came to an end Tuesday when the Patriots placed him on injured reserve. Hollister had been combating a hamstring injury and played in just eight games this season. To fill his spot, the Patriots promoted tight end Stephen Anderson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Belichick said recently that Anderson has done well playing sometimes as a tight end, sometimes as a big receiver in practice. Anderson also plays on special teams. “He’s done well for us,” said Belichick. “We use him in a lot of different roles in practice as well. He’s been great.” . . . The Patriots were left with two spots open on their practice squad and filled them with offensive lineman Dan Skipper and defensive back A.J. Howard . . . The quote of the day came from Belichick, when asked about defensive lineman Trey Flowers telling reporters Monday that he had a nightmare in which he failed to set the edge: “I’m not an analyst of nightmares.”