Tip of the cap to Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei because his profile of New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is going to push McDaniels to the top of every single coaching short list next season. You can’t read this and not think he’s the best option to lead your franchise.
McDaniels was unceremoniously kicked out of Denver after he tried to act like a mini-Bill Belichick and he had to trudge his way to St. Louis to serve as offensive coordinator before returning to New England.
After starting out 6-0 with the Broncos, he went 5-17 before losing his job. He traded away the two best offensive players in QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall. He didn’t connect with anyone on the roster or in the Broncos back office. He was despised by everyone.
“I never played for a guy in my life who guys wanted to play for less,” former Broncos punter Mitch Berger said. “He was just a guy you didn't care about.”
And so when McDaniels was in St. Louis, his dad told him to reflect about everything that he learned or failed to learn during his time with the Broncos. McDaniels now has an Excel spreadsheet titled “lessonslearned.xls”.
I’m not going to spoil the stories behind the lessons because you should read the article. It’s amazing. But here are a few of the lessons:
"Take time to digest information and make good, PATIENT decisions. Never rush into anything—all things are important. Impulsive—is a bad word—listen to everyone and make the RIGHT decision. Nothing gets fixed quickly."
I actually think this lesson is the most important and it’s why McDaniels hasn’t taken a head coaching job so far. He wants an owner that understands the importance of patience because McDaniels wants to be patient with the players.
"LISTEN better. To anyone who tells me something. There are so many people who can help us win & have wisdom I don't have."
McDaniels was extremely young in his first head coaching gig, but now he’s realized that he doesn’t know everything. He doesn’t have the answers. He’s come back to the Patriots and watched Bill Belichick continue to learn every single day. That’s the part of Belichick that he needs to emulate in his new job.
"Be considerate of assistant coaches' time, their emotions & make sure they always know how much I care. Push them, hold them accountable and love each one of them personally. We win as a team, we lose as a team and I always take responsibility for the losses. They get the credit when we win—they deserve it."
When Bruce Arians rips into his long snapper or his rookie defensive tackle, it should perk up some ears in New England. That’s something you would never hear out of Bill Belichick because it isolates the player or coach on the receiving end. Good leaders know when to give credit and when to deflect blame.
"Players who feel you are taking care of them will give you all they have during the week and on Sunday."
McDaniels suffered with this more than anything else in Denver. The players didn’t like him and they didn’t want to play hard.
Compare that to this quote from Jets WR Brandon Marshall on Inside the NFL after watching an interaction between Belichick and QB Jacoby Brissett:
“Two things that showed me a lot about Bill Belichick,” Marshall said after watching Belichick mic’d up. “He gave his player a nickname, LB [sic, he meant LG for LeGarrette Blount], that’s respect, that’s love. The quarterback came back to him with the ball after he scored and said, here coach, ball security, that’s respect, and that’s love.”
McDaniels had a lot to learn when he was with the Broncos, but he wasn’t willing to listen. He’s spent the past six years listening and waiting for his next opportunity.
When that opportunity comes, he’s going to bring a wealth of experience, a wealth of knowledge, and a wealth of patience, caring, and understanding. He’s going to knock his next job out of the park.