For the last two decades, the New England Patriots have been the most successful franchise in the NFL. Bill Belichick was the mastermind behind the whole operation but Josh McDaniels was a big part of the success during his time as offensive coordinator. He was on the team’s staff for all six Super Bowl wins and was offensive coordinator for three of them. He’s finally moved on as he was hired to be the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason.
Not only did he leave Belichick without his most important assistant, but he also took a lot of coaches with him. Mick Lombardi, Carmen Bricillo and Bo Hardegree all left New England to join McDaniels in Las Vegas. In the past, Belichick hasn’t been a fan of former assistants taking coaches from their old team but he said he’s got no hard feelings towards McDaniels. He even praised the coach.
“Josh is a great coach. I’m sure he feels like it’s a great opportunity; that’s why he took it,” Belichick said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Other than against us, I hope he does well. I’m sure he will do well. He’s an outstanding coach.
“Some of the people that are with him are very good, too. It all worked out well. It’s an opportunity we couldn’t provide. He’ll be hard to replace, but like I said, I feel like we have really good coaches on staff, and that’s what we’ll do.”
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Can McDaniels Step out of Belichick’s Shadow?
This Raiders opportunity isn’t the first head coaching job for McDaniels. He tried his hand at being the lead man with the Denver Broncos in 2009. He was fired after compiling an 11-17 record in less than two seasons. He was only 32-years-old when he took that job and was likely trying to be a younger version of Belichick.
Since getting the Raiders job, McDaniels has made it clear that he’s a different person now.
“When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football,” McDaniels said during his introductory press conference. “I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed, and I didn’t succeed at it.
“Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person, as a coach. What do I need to do different, how do I need to handle my role, if I have another opportunity, and do better at it?”
There’s only one Belichick and it sounds like McDaniels has come to terms with that.
Raiders Already Differing From Patriots
Based on this first offseason, McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler are clearly diverting from how the Patriots do things despite their ties to the team. New England has traditionally avoided making big moves in free agency. In just the first week of free agency, Ziegler traded for Davante Adams and signed Chandler Jones – a player Belichick traded.
Obviously, there was a method to the Patriots’ way of doing things but that’s going to work for every team. Ziegler and McDaniels appear to understand that while other former Belichick disciples have had a hard time adjusting.