Patriots Top Assistant Coach Leaves and Creates Major Dilemma

Getty Jedd Fisch and Josh McDaniels

The New England Patriots‘ QB Coach Jedd Fisch is headed to Arizona to become the school’s head coach, and it will leave a huge void if other dominoes fall.

As it stands, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will now have to act as the team’s quarterbacks coach as well. This isn’t a major deal, as it is a role he’s handled in the past in addition to his coordinator duties.

The bigger issue could come down the road if this is just the first of a series of changes that impact the Patriots’ coaching staff.

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What Happens if Josh McDaniels is Next?

Say what you want about McDaniels’ performance as an offensive coordinator this year. Even I have pointed the finger at his ultra-conservative playcalling during a troubling season.

However, overall he has done a strong jo0b throughout his tenure with the Patriots, and it seems inevitable he will get another opportunity to become a head coach. Things didn’t go well for McDaniels when he took over the Denver Broncos in 2009, but like many coaches–Bill Belichick included–his next foray into the highest levels of coaching could be much more successful.

It would appear he’s the guy built to succeed Belichick, but it doesn’t appear as The Hoodie is ready to walk away at this time. Will McDaniels be willing to wait on his mentor to hand him the job, or will take the next opportunity?

He was close in 2018 when he accepted a job to become the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, only to shift gears a day later.

The next time the opportunity presents itself and McDaniels takes steps to pursue a head-coaching position, he’ll almost certainly follow through.

If that happens as soon as this offseason, the Patriots don’t appear to have top candidates on their staff to fill Fisch or McDaniels’ role. If it all comes apart at the seams, the Patriots may have to scramble to find viable candidates to run the offense–which has never been Belichick’s strong suit.


Other Candidates?

Most of the top candidates for the offensive coordinator position are working elsewhere, but we all know how that can work if a “better” job comes along.

That said, consider someone like current Cleveland Browns wide receviers coach and passing game coordinator Chad O’Shea as a possibility. He has helped to revitalize what the Browns have been able to do in 2020.

He’s also a former Patriots assistant with whom Belichick is obviously familiar.

There’s also current New York Giants quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski. He’s another former Patriots assistant, but he left to join the Miami Dolphins and Brian Flores (yet another former Patriots assistant). Schuplinski spent a year with Flores as the assistant quarterbacks coach before heading over to the Giants with Joe Judge when he took the head coaching gig in the Big Apple.

Because of the Patriots’ long-standing success, there is a seemingly endless line of former assistants sprinkled throughout the league. If need be, Belichick can pluck what he hopes is a quality fruit from his own tree.

 

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