June 19, 2024

PATRIOTS RUMORS: Is Josh McDaniels Set For a Patriots Reunion?

Following the 2021 season, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels packed up his bags and headed off to Las Vegas for his second NFL head coaching stint, taking a significant portion of Bill Belichick’s staff with him during what ended up being a brief tenure with the Raiders.

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Now, it appears, McDaniels could be set for a reunion with his former coach, which given Belichick’s uncertain future, certainly adds to what’s already an interesting situation here in New England.

The former New England Patriots coach was spotted on Sunday at Gillette Stadium for the club’s season finale against the Jets, which definitely raised some eyebrows.

According to NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry, the Patriots are reportedly set to bring current offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien back for another season.  If that ends up being the case, it would mean that whatever role Belichick might have in mind for McDaniels would have to be in a different capacity.

His return would certainly sets up an interesting situation.  O’Brien has at least had success in the past in the league, and the discussion of him potentially wanting to become a head coach again at some point is something we’ve heard speculated about since he came back to the team last offseason.

Obviously, his stock didn’t jump as high as he probably wanted it to this season, given Mac Jones’ struggles and where New England’s offense finished as a whole.  At the same time, most people have pointed the finger at the lack of talent overall on offense, with O’Brien receiving very little – if any – of the blame for their 30th-ranked performance in 2023.

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With O’Brien’s long-term plans in mind (if becoming a head coach again is something he’s looking for), that could potentially be a factor in what their plans may be as it pertains to McDaniels.  He could simply be brought back as a quarterbacks coach or an assistant, adding yet another quality coach to a staff that has experienced significant losses in recent years.

There’s something to be said when it comes to being somewhere you’re wanted.  If McDaniels has any desire to stay in the NFL, a return to New England – a place where ownership also thinks highly of him – would make sense.

Knowing they’re at a crossroads, if Robert and Jonathan Kraft are looking to provide the club with any long-term stability for developing their next potential franchise quarterback, bringing back McDaniels is probably the smart move.  After two failed stints, it’s probably safe to say he’ll be available for the foreseeable future, and whoever they end up drafting will likely not have to worry about him going anywhere.

When you look at McDaniels’ success, there’s something to be said when it comes to his ability to develop quarterbacks.  We saw his contributions with Tom Brady, along with Matt Cassel, and what he did with Jones.

Albert Breer talked about the relationship between McDaniels and Jones, with the rookie experiencing most of his success in his first season with McDaniels by his side.  Breer also pointed out that that Jones required a lot of “handholding,” with McDaniels often in his ear up until the NFL-mandated communication cutoff before the snap.

However, anyone who remembers the Peter King and Tom Brady podcast following the club’s historic comeback win over Atlanta, this isn’t exactly a new practice or something that should be frowned upon.  McDaniels often apparently did the same thing with Brady, who famously discussed the value of that with King about he and McDaniels in their win over the Falcons.

As a result, hand-holding or not, it’s cleary something McDaniels is really good at, and would be an asset in teaching a future player how to view the game.

That could also be something that sways ownership, but that clearly depends on what they ultimately decide when it comes to whether or not Belichick remains in the fold.

One key domino also fell on Tuesday after the Tennessee Titans fired Mike Vrabel, who is rumored to be interested in coming to New England should Belichick be let go.  Prior to Vrabel being fired, the belief was that the Titans wouldn’t part with him without seeking compensation.  As a result, Tuesday’s news takes that roadblock off the table and definitelychanges things.

Belichick and ownership reportedly met on Monday, but reports have said no immediate decision is expected to be made.

So, for now, the speculation into his future will likely continue as we wait to find out what the future holds for him here in New England.

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