Continuing on with my mini-series, Josh McDaniels proves to be one of the more intriguing head coach candidates during this carousel. However, this one is going to be a little different than the others since I had a hard time ‘making a case’ for McDaniels.
The offensive coordinator and quarterback coach for the New England Patriots, and former head coach of the Denver Broncos, is someone you have to really take a look at to understand. What are some of McDaniels’ redeeming qualities? First, he is a branch off of the ol' Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells coaching tree. Secondly, he is someone that molds his scheme around the talent he has rather than plugging and playing the talent provided to him.
During McDaniels’ tenure in Denver, the Broncos’ offense ranked 15th in the NFL in 2009 and then 13th in 2010. While this was a down grade from 2008 when the Broncos were ranked 2nd in total offense, that stat dipped to 23rd the year after he moved to St. Louis. Obviously, there were a lot of variables surrounding the circumstances in Denver including Tim Tebow (www.joshmcdanielssucks.com , yes this is an actual website) . However, his time in Denver was nothing to be excited about. Let’s also not forget the hot water, he got himself into for filming the 49ers’ practice in London in 2010. With all of that being said, what McDaniels did show during his Denver tenure was his ability to change around his playbook based upon his opponent. Something that has a very "Nick Saban-esque" feel to it.
It's hard to grade Josh McDaniels on his career in New England due to having Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Rob Gronkowski at disposal. However, even when they are not playing, the offense continues to click. The question remains; who does the praise go to? Bill Belichick or McDaniels? It is hard to tell. On the other side of the coin, while McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for the Rams in 2011, their offense was ranked 31st in the NFL.
So, what can we expect if Josh McDaniels becomes head coach? I do not believe that Jimmy Garoppolo would come with him but I do think we would see a dramatic shift in the offensive system we are used to seeing. Wherever he goes, you will see a more pass heavy offense, he will be able to get the most out of his quarterbacks, and he will be able to surround himself with a good coaching staff. One would hope that McDaniels has learned from his prior mistakes and that taking away personnel control, like he had in Denver, would allow McDaniels to focus solely coaching.
While studying McDaniels, I could not find much to be excited about. If you judge McDaniels away from Belichick, you have a very pedestrian resume. When you judge McDaniels as a Patriots offensive coordinator, there is a lot to be excited about. The gamble that you have to take is simple; what version of Josh McDaniels are you getting?