Across The Middle: Call to McDaniels Had To Be Made

| January 3rd, 2018

I don’t know if Josh McDaniels has learned from his failures in Denver, but I’m glad Ryan Pace intends to find out. We can sit back and debate the qualifications of all the other candidates, but there’s no questioning what McDaniels has done. The 41-year-old offensive coordinator…

  • Has five Super Bowl rings.
  • Has coached nine offenses that have finished in the top 10 in scoring and seven that have taken top 10 spots in yardage.
  • Has won at least one game with six different quarterbacks, including an 11-5 campaign with Matt Cassell.
  • Has has been credited with developing young quarterbacks (who were later traded for draft picks) in Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett.
  • In New England’s 2017 Super Bowl run, they averaged 34.6 points per game. They scored 28 points against the best defense in the league to win the 2015 Super Bowl.

You name it, he’s done it. He’s the one guy every team with an opening has to interview.

Part of the argument against McDaniels is the New England factor with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. But it works both ways. In eight seasons with McDaniels as the offensive coordinator, Brady has averaged 33 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. In eight seasons without him, he has thrown an average of 5 fewer touchdowns and 4 more interceptions.

The same can be true about his time with Belichick. In seasons in which McDaniels has been the offensive coordinator, the Patriots have averaged 14.25 wins, never winning fewer than 11 games — and that came with Cassel at quarterback.

But it isn’t just that McDaniels failed in Denver. It’s how he failed. It was 100 percent because of his ego.

McDaniels was walking into a great situation. A team with strong ownership handed him the keys to a franchise with studs everywhere on offense. He messed it up.

I’ll never forget Peter King writing in his Monday Morning Quarterback column that McDaniels was the next Belichick with Kyle Orton (yes, Kyle Fricking Orton) as his Tom Brady when Denver started 6-0 in McDaniels’ first year. They won just 5 of their next 22 games before he was fired.

Making matters worse, McDaniels made one of the worst draft picks in the history of the league when he spent a first round draft pick on a quarterback who can’t throw. There’s no question I wouldn’t want McDaniels running the organization. Nobody should want him picking the franchise quarterback because using a first round pick on Tim Tebow is an unforgivable mistake.

But, does anybody question if the guy can coach? That’s what the Bears are looking for. I have no idea if McDaniels would be interested in a job in which he doesn’t have complete control, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

McDaniels is going to get another head job at some point. If his ego has dwindled, he just might be great. I don’t know if that’s the case, neither do you and neither does Pace. But I’m glad Pace is going to find out because there is no better candidate on paper.

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