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Meet a Head Coach Candidate: Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels

Analysis and Commentary

For the third time since 2013, the Chicago Bears are looking for a head coach. The ideal candidate is someone who can stabilize the position, hire a top-notch coaching staff, keep the defense performing at a high level, bring the offense up to speed, and ultimately, win a Super Bowl. It’s a lot to ask, but someone could be up to the task.

With those characteristics in mind, we’re going to take a look at each of the candidates the Bears plan on interviewing leading up to the announcement of a new head coach. 

Previously: George Edwards, Vikings Defensive Coordinator; Pat Shurmur, Vikings Offensive Coordinator

Name, Current Team, Position

Josh McDaniels, New England Patriots, Offensive Coordinator

NFL Coaching Experience

  • 2001 New England Patriots (Personnel Assistant/Coaching Assistant)
  • 2002-03 New England Patriots (Coaching Assistant)
  • 2004-05 New England Patriots (Quaterbacks)
  • 2006-08 New England Patriots (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
  • 2009-10 Denver Broncos (head Coach)
  • 2011 St. Louis Rams (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
  • 2012-17 New England Patriots (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)

Worked For…

  • 2001-08, 2012-17 Bill Belichick
  • 2011 Steve Spagnuolo

Notable Assistants

  • 2009-10 Adam Gase (Wide Receivers)
  • 2009-10 Mike McCoy (Offensive Coordinator)
  • 2009-10 Mike Nolan (Defensive Coordinator
  • 2009-10 Ed Donatell (Secondary)
  • 2009-10 Ben McDaniels (Offensive Assistant/Quarterbacks)

Starting Quarterbacks Coached as Head Coach/QBs Coach/Offensive Coordinator

Tom Brady (2004-08, 2012-17), Matt Cassel (2008), Kyle Orton (2009-10), Chris Simms (2009), Tim Tebow (2010), Sam Bradford (2011), A.J. Feeley (2011), Kellen Clemens (2011), Jimmy Garoppolo (2016), Jacoby Brissett (2016)

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Hey, It Might Work…

As someone who believes in second chances, I’m obliged to at least listen to McDaniels’ case for his second NFL head coaching gig after already checking in on Vikings OC Pat Shurmur. And like Shurmur, there are some good points to make regarding his candidacy.

McDaniels is just 41, yet still has 12 years of experience coaching quarterbacks and 10 years as a coordinator. And that doesn’t count his two-year stint as the Denver Broncos head coach. And while those two years in Denver were a dud, there is something to be said about the experience and what can be gained from failure. McDaniels doesn’t have to look farther than his current boss, Bill Belichick, to know that truth. His experience creating game plans and calling plays could be a boon for Mitch Trubisky’s development if McDaniels landed in Chicago.

Obviously, Tom Brady is going to make your offense look great. There is no denying it. Then again, it looked pretty good when Matt Cassell was slinging it around the field to the tune of 3,693 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2008 or when Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacboy Brissett combined to go 3-1 to start 2016 while Brady was suspended.

OK, Maybe He’s Not The One…

Not only did McDaniels’ head coaching run go poorly, he alienated a bunch of people along the way. McDaniels didn’t make any friends upon his arrival in Denver, forcing out Jay Cutler and unloading him onto the Bears (and we all know how that turned out!) and eventually jettisoning wide receiver Brandon Marshall after his first season with the team. McDaniels didn’t even make it through his second year, getting the ax after a 3-9 record. He also was on board with using a first-round draft pick on Tim Tebow. Yikes.

McDaniels landed on his feet with the St. Louis Rams, but his offense ranked 31st in yards and 32nd in points. The NFL has 32 teams, so that should tell you how poorly the Rams offense performed.

Also, the NFL investigated the McDaniels-led Broncos for a potential videotaping violation that occurred during the team’s trip to London in November 2010. The last thing the NFL’s charter franchise needs is its own version of SpyGate.

In The End …

The Bill Belichick Coaching Tree gives us pause. Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Bill O’Brien, and McDaniels have combined to go 103-152 after leaving New England and taking head coaching jobs elsewhere. We won’t even dive into the Charlie Weis debacles at Notre Dame or Kansas.

McDaniels is a clear-cut top candidate for the Bears and every other team in the market for a head coach. And for the Bears to land the biggest fish would do a lot to help turn around the public perception of this struggling “legacy franchise.” But just because McDaniels is available for interviews doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll leave. For all we know, McDaniels could continue to ride Brady’s coat tails until the quarterback’s eventual retirement. And frankly, I wouldn’t blame him.


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Luis Medina

Luis is the Lead Writer at The Ten-Yard Line, and you can find him on Twitter at @lcm1986.