With new coaching vacancies around the league developing daily, there's little surprise that executives looking for a new head coach are calling Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels --one of those early thirty-something candidates. In his third season of running the Patriots' offense, McDaniels is being sought for interviews this week. The Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens have both asked for permission to talk to the Patriots coordinator.
NFL rules stipulate that coaches on teams in the playoffs cannot be contacted about possible coaching vacancies during the postseason, except during their bye week. The rule was put into place to allow coaches on teams that are successful, to have an opportunity that wasn't available previously. When the Patriots secured the number one seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs they also earned a bye week past the wildcard round of the playoffs. Because of the team's success, McDaniels is potentially available for those looking for a new head coach.
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, left, talks with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels after the Patriots scored their first touchdown during first quarter action of their NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough, Mass. on Sunday, Dec. 9, 2007. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
The Ravens, Falcons and Dolphins are all in the market for a new coach. Brian Billick got the boot this week in Baltimore; Bobby Petrino quit on Atlanta in the middle of the season and Cam Cameron was dismissed this morning.
According to Adam Caplan, senior NFL writer for Scout.com, it comes as no surprise that teams have asked to interview McDaniels. As Caplan noted (in this piece), talented coordinators are always likely to get a look.
The Patriots-based Bill Belichick coaching tree is growing. Should the baby-faced McDaniels land a head-coaching job, he will become the fourth Patriots coordinator to leave New England for a coaching job elsewhere in the past 3 years. The others are: Eric Mangini, Jets (2006); Romeo Crennel, Cleveland (2005) and Charlie Weis, Notre Dame, (2005).
McDaniels has been with the Patriots organization for seven seasons. He rose through the ranks starting as a personnel assistant, and eventually moving to quarterbacks coach in 2004, then offensive coordinator in 2006.
An Ohio native, familiar with the McKinley - Massillon high school rivalry growing up, McDaniels has had a longstanding relationship with football. His father was the coach at McKinley and is now coaching at Massillon. A quarterback in high school, McDaniels went on to play wide receiver in college at John Carroll University. He went on to work as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State University.
The Patriots released a statement from McDaniels on the interest the Patriots' coordinator has received:
"I am very grateful for the chance to interview for NFL head coaching positions but I have decided not to pursue those opportunities at this time. I plan to focus all my attention on our postseason preparation."
With the latest statement, all indications are McDaniels realizes the opportunity to interview will come again down the line. This round of questioning by Atlanta and Baltimore are likely just feeling out interviews, not potentially serious job offers. These are the types of things McDaniels has no need to indulge in. And he wisely declined.