New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels turned down a few potential head coaching opportunities in order to stay with the Patriots. One NFL executive has told Sports Illustrated’s Greg Bedard what a team will have to offer McDaniels to draw him away from Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization.
“The only way McDaniels is going to take a head job is it’s got to be that way: He has to be working with somebody that he knows,” said another executive. “Belichick is a brilliant guy and Brady is awesome, I get all that. But if you were an owner and you hire a guy from that system, wouldn’t you want that guy to use that model? Why argue against that model? That model has been successful for 16 years now. It’s incredible. Belichick only wins because of Brady? That’s the dumbest thing you could ever say. There’s a process to how they do things. Why wouldn’t you encourage him to utilize that process? I don’t understand it.”
McDaniels was in the final running for both the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers posts, and he probably could have taken the Los Angeles Rams job, too. All three job postings had serious flaws that kept McDaniels at a distance.
The Jaguars brought in former New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin to lead the franchise, which has to remind many of when Belichick quit his head coaching job with the New York Jets because Bill Parcells “stepped down” from coaching, but retained an incredibly influential role in the front office.
The Jaguars were also looking for a head coach that wanted to work with QB Blake Bortles, and after hearing Mike Lombardi trash Bortles on a weekly basis, it’s probably not a stretch to think those sentiments are shared in Foxboro.
The 49ers were McDaniels’ top choice, but the ownership kept flip-flopping on the structure. At first, they wanted to hire a general manager, who would subsequently pick a head coach. Then they wanted a head coach who would pick a general manager. And then they started to interview other general manager candidates with the potential to force them upon their new head coach.
The Rams mortgaged their future to draft QB Jared Goff, so unless McDaniels loved Goff that was always going to be a reach.
Instead, McDaniels will wait for a post where he will get to pick his own general manager in a similar fashion to the Seattle Seahawks or Kansas City Chiefs. Any owner that would want to force McDaniels into an organizational structure is missing the entire reason to bring in a Belichick disciple.
The reason why Belichick coaches often fail in the NFL, but dominate at the college level is the degree of influence on the franchise culture. College coaches get to create the program. NFL coaches are often shoved into a pre-established order, only to find out that they’re not the right puzzle piece.
McDaniels is going to wait until an owner allows him to create the entire puzzle.