Josh McDaniels’ departure from the Denver Broncos and return to the New England Patriots included a pit stop in St. Louis. And there, from one January to another, McDaniels served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2011 Rams.
It was a team that’d win two games and lose both its head coach and general manager by year’s end. McDaniels, though under contract for the following season, made his exit soon after Steve Spagnuolo and Billy Devaney did.
But over the eight years since, that St. Louis team has been revisited.
The list of eventual Patriots who played for the 2011 Rams has continued to grow.
Tight end Lance Kendricks, once a rookie second-round pick in McDaniels’ offense, is the latest name in a line that toes familiarity and coincidence. He signed with New England on the eve of training camp this July.
“It does bring back a few memories of getting yelled at as a rookie, all of those things,” Kendricks told reporters of his reunion with McDaniels last weekend. “It’s good to be here and good to be back with that coach.”
The consensus All-American out of Wisconsin caught 28 passes for 352 yards under McDaniels.
Kendricks is one of eight members of that year’s Rams offense to have a subsequent stint with the Patriots. He’s one of 11 in all when accounting for the defensive side of the ball.
VIA THE 2011 RAMS
Stephen Jackson, running back – Jackson amassed 1,145 rushing yards, 333 receiving yards and six touchdowns for the 2011 Rams. The franchise’s all-time rushing leader signed with New England in December 2015, and scored his first career playoff TD in AFC title defeat.
Greg Salas, wide receiver – A fourth-round pick in the 2011 draft, Salas caught 27 passes for 264 yards over six contests as a rookie. St. Louis traded Salas to New England early in 2012, and he appeared in one game for the Patriots following a stint on the practice squad.
Brandon Lloyd, wide receiver – In Denver during McDaniels’ days as head coach, as well, Lloyd posted 51 receptions for 683 yards and five touchdowns with the Rams in 2011. The Patriots signed Lloyd the next offseason, and the wideout started 15 games for the team in 2012.
Danny Amendola, wide receiver – Amendola’s 2011 season in St. Louis ended after one game due to triceps surgery. The well-traveled slot receiver and punt returner would rebound with 63 catches in 2012, and signed a five-year deal with New England that March.
Brandon Gibson, wide receiver – Gibson entered into 15 games for the 2011 Rams, starting nine. He caught 36 passes for 431 yards and one score in the process. New England signed Gibson as the 2015 league year began, though a torn ACL cut a strong preseason short.
Michael Hoomanawanui, tight end – Hoomanawanui started every contest he played in for the 2011 Rams. He’d sign with the Patriots in wake of the 2012 the roster cutdown, and would be sent to the New Orleans Saints in exchange for defensive tackle Akiem Hicks in 2015.
Lance Kendricks, tight end – Kendricks appeared in 15 games and started 10 during his first year with the Rams. He’d remain a Ram through 2016. Now 31 years old, Kendricks spent the past two seasons as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
Kevin Hughes, offensive tackle – Hughes signed with St. Louis as an undrafted free agent in 2011, and checked into three games as a rookie. Hughes later latched on with the Patriots in the spring of 2015, but was waived with the injury designation in training camp.
Chris Long, defensive end – The No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft amassed a career-high 13 sacks during the 2011 season, and Brendan Daly was his D-line coach. Long later appeared in his first playoff games, and won his first Super Bowl, with Daly and the Patriots in 2016.
Josh Hull, linebacker – Hull played in 11 games for the 2011 Rams after landing the year prior as a seventh-rounder. New England would sign Hull in April 2014, though the former Penn State linebacker was waived after three months.
Bradley Fletcher, cornerback – 2011 marked Fletcher’s third year with St. Louis. It came to a close due to a torn ACL after four starts. New England agreed to terms with the veteran corner out of Iowa ahead of the 2015 season, but Fletcher was released by October.
Some tours in New England proved brief.
And Kendricks, for now, is the lone player from the 2011 Rams left in Foxborough.