Two years after leaving the Indianapolis Colts at the proverbial altar, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is again creating considerable buzz as a head coaching candidate. So far, three teams who currently have vacancies at the position have asked the organization to interview the 43-year-old: the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants and the Carolina Panthers have all expressed interest in potentially hiring McDaniels.
McDaniels is no stranger to this kind of popularity and the process it brings. Besides almost joining the Colts, he also previously worked as head coach for the Denver Broncos and has had numerous other interviews throughout the years — for good reason: he usually has the Patriots offense among the most potent and best coached in all of football, despite the inconsistent 2019 season being a bit of an anomaly for him and his group.
Nevertheless, he has still created his fair share of head coaching opportunities which does not come as a surprise to one of his assistants: New England offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, who is in his 14th season working alongside McDaniels, recently spoke about his colleague and also pointed out that he was instrumental in getting the now-71-year-old out of retirement in 2016 — two years after he initially stepped away from the game.
“I would never have come back here if he was not here. I mean that,” said Scarnecchia about McDaniels. “He’s just such a really good coach, and a great guy for me personally to work with — for all of us to work with. I don’t want to speak for everybody, but he’s very bright, he’s a football guy through and through. He understands the game from the front to the back end, and the whole width and breadth of everything. He’s a coach’s son, born to the game.”
As noted above, McDaniels’ first shot at a head coaching gig came with the Broncos and it turned into a disaster. While he and his team started the 2009 season well and went 6-0 to open the year, Denver eventually finished the campaign with an 8-8 record and out of the playoffs. 12 games into the 2010 season and with a 3-9 record, the organization decided to part ways with him amidst rumors of McDaniels alienating both his staff and players.
The picture Scarnecchia paints of him is a different one, however: “To me, he’s an easy guy to get along with. He’s fun to be around. But he’s a no-nonsense guy in a lot of respects. He’ll tell you, ‘Look, what do you think? Do we need to do this? Do you think we need to do that?’ Just appreciate his candidness. I appreciate the way he’s able to get everybody to work together, within the offensive staff, and see the game through one set of eyes.”
“That’s always been something that we covet around here — everybody [being] on the same page. I think all those things make it very easy to work with. I really love the guy. He’s a good coach,” added the veteran coach. “Just a pleasure to be around and to work with — a hard-working guy. A really, really good coach. Someone is going to be very lucky to have him as a head coach some day.”