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NFL Playoffs Patriots vs Chiefs: OC Josh McDaniels wants every quarterback to be a game manager

For whatever reason, the term game manager has an ugly connotation. It implies a quarterback that doesn't exact is will on opposing defenses, but instead moves the offense by avoiding mistakes and picking up small yards one pass at a time.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is considered a text book game manager in most league circles, while Patriots quarterback Tom Brady graduated from that distinction back in 2006.

Well, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels wants Brady to focus on being a game manager in order to win some games.

"I think every quarterback has to manage the game, regardless of what team he plays for or which opponent he's facing," McDaniels said. "That's the first thing I would ask of our guys here. And I don't know how it's taken nationally or publicly, but look a quarterback's job first and foremost is to run the offense. And sometimes that means taking what the defense gives you."

And this argument makes sense. There's no point in having a quarterback launching multiple 60-yard passes to Brandon LaFell, only to see them fall incomplete and force the offense into a third-and-long situation, right? The Patriots thrive when they can put the receivers in a position to succeed after the catch, whether that's by scheme of by Brady's pass placement.

"What [being a game manager] means is trying to do the right thing on every snap as many times as you can during the course of the game," McDaniels continued. "And I would imagine that most of the guys who are still playing in the playoffs would agree that their number one goal every week is to run the offense and execute it at a high level, and however that's taken outside of the building, that's for other people."

The return of Julian Edelman, along with the improved health of Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and LaFell, should help bolster the Patriots passing attack. What New England has been missing the past few weeks, and what they have been working on over the bye week, is an increased focus on getting the fundamentals correct. That means taking the smart play, instead of the low opportunity play.

When Brady plays heroball, the offense can fall to pieces due to turnovers and poor mechanics. Now that he finally has a full contingent of skill players, the Patriots quarterback can go back to trusting the scheme and to managing the game and the players around him.