When New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels began the week, he had a trio of head coaching interviews lined up. With New England out of the playoffs, McDaniels had more time to prepare and even desired to move those interviews earlier in the week.
But when Josh McDaniels asked to move his interviews with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers, Bill Belichick refused, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. The reasoning, according to Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston, was so McDaniels could finish his end-of-season reports.
What makes this even more troublesome, Belichick pushed special teams coordinator Joe Judge to interview for the Giants on Monday, La Canfora writes, knowing that they could only hire one of his most trusted assistant coaches. Judge was ultimately named coach on Tuesday, a move expedited by Mississippi State’s massive interest in the special teams’ coordinator and former Bulldogs’ football player.
While McDaniels did interview with the Cleveland Browns on Friday, one that lasted a lengthy amount of time, the Patriots are still wary of losing McDaniels and have done as much as possible to keep him on staff.
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Why So Much Interference with McDaniels?
The Patriots mindsight on McDaniels at this point is that in keeping him on the staff, it would likely lure Tom Brady to return to New England in free agency. Given Brady’s familiarity and relationship with McDaniels, having him around for another year would be a huge draw for the veteran quarterback.
La Canfora writes: “Brady’s future is very much in limbo, with the 43-year old quarterback contemplating playing elsewhere in 2020, sources said, which would make retaining McDaniels even more paramount as there is no set replacement on staff and Brady has been in one offense his entire career.”
McDaniels’ agent, Trace Armstrong, also played a role in ensuring McDaniels didn’t get the Carolina job. His other client, Matt Rhule, ended up being hired just as the offensive coordinator was preparing to interview with the Panthers in New England.
McDaniels May End Up Back with Patriots
After a long interview with Cleveland, the Browns still had not made any decisions on who would be their new head coach. And for Mike Lombardi of The Athletic, it might signal the Browns are losing interest in the prized offensive coordinator.
With Cleveland reportedly widdling down its options to McDaniels and Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, there is reason to believe the Browns like what they see in the latter more.
This season wasn’t a good one for McDaniels, with his play-calling coming into question and the Patriots offense ranking 16th in the league averaging around 350 yards a game. Even that figure is inflated from a few early blowout victories over bottom-of-the-barrel teams.
For the Vikings, Stefanski revived a slumping offense to rally for a playoff spot and turned Dalvin Cook into one of the NFL’s top running backs.