The New England Patriots are heading into an offseason filled with plenty of question marks, and the coaching staff is no exception. Pending any additional moves, the biggest at this point in time is as follows:
Who will take over as the team’s next quarterbacks coach?
Josh McDaniels held both the title of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach ever since his first full season back in New England in 2012, but last season ceded the QB room to newly hired Jedd Fisch. While the position as a whole had its fair share of issues during a challenging 2020 season, Fisch did catch the eye of the University of Arizona which hired him as its new head coach even before the Patriots’ 7-9 campaign came to an end.
With only two weeks left in the season, McDaniels took over Fisch’s old job again. With the season now over, however, the Patriots will have to decide how to move forward and whether or not they will bring in somebody else to coach quarterbacks in place of McDaniels in 2021. They could opt to go with an internal re-assignment such as Mick Lombardi or Tyler Hughes, or after an outside hire.
If New England decides to go the second route, one name to keep an eye on might be Ben McDaniels. Sounds familiar? He is Josh McDaniels’ little brother.
The younger McDaniels will not return to the University of Michigan after his contract expires on Sunday, according to a report by Rainer Sabin of the Detroit Free Press, and could therefore be free to join his brother in New England. Him being considered as the Patriots’ quarterbacks coach would also not be a surprise, given that he held that role in Michigan the last two years and also previously at Rutgers and with the Denver Broncos.
McDaniels, who played quarterback at Kent State before turning to coaching, has worked with his brother before. He joined him in Denver in 2009 as an offensive assistant before working with the QBs one year later. After Josh McDaniels was fired by the Broncos midway through the 2010 season, his younger brother worked in multiple roles with numerous teams — including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2012-13) and Chicago Bears (2016-17).
In the latter role, he also visited New England once: McDaniels was part of the Bears team that held joint training camp practices at Gillette Stadium in August 2016.
While the Patriots will likely begin bringing potential outside hires aboard sooner rather than later, they are not expected to announce their official 2021 coaching staff until the summer. Last year, for example, they waited until late July to do so.