FanPost

Josh McDaniels. Good or Bad?

We won't know until he's called plays for us.

Regardless, in this dry spell we can speculate. The hiring of McD seems to have had a polarizing affect, but what is similar is the strength of the differing opinions.

We either love or hate the hire. If anything we can say he is Marmite-esque.

 

In this Fan Post I'd like to outline a few things about McDaniels that many of us may not know, or choose not to know. Apologies for the length and verbose nature of this fan post.

This is applicable to both the supporters and the haters of the hire. 

 

Pros:

 

McDaniels worked his way up through the Patriots organisation from personnel assistant (I was as shocked as you were) in 2001 to becoming the Offensive Co-Ordinator in 2005 with brief stints as Defensive backs coach and QB coach (a role he stayed as even when OC).

McDaniels as we all know was the offensive Co-Ordinator for one of the best offensive seasons in NFL history, leading the 2007 Patriots to a Superbowl undefeated, only losing to Steve Spagnuolo's Giants.

This highlight reel shows the imperious nature of that offense. Methodically driving down fields, neutralizing pass rushes with well executed screens and quick outs, giving Brady time for deep shots to two bonafide deep threats in Randy Moss and Donte Stallworth.

We know all about the records and the 18-1 season speaks for itself. This is an impressive feat to have attached to an Offensive Co-Ordinator's name.

The elite passing attack was complimented by an effective run game which set up the play action bombs to Moss and Stallworth. Not only were these Patriots good, but ruthless. Brady is quoted as stating they wanted to blow out and "kill teams".

 

McDaniels is often accredited to the success of backup QB Matt Cassel after Tom Brady went down week 1 vs Kansas City. As McDaniels was both QB coach and OC he quite rightly gets the praise for Cassel's good season. He helped prepare Cassel and simplified the playbook to make it safer and easier for Cassel to execute it. This shows good adjustment to personnel and organisation on his part. While the receiving corps still had Randy Moss and Wes Welker, Stallworth was gone, as was Kelley Washington.

Most impressively about Cassel's season is that; "In his first season as an NFL starter, Cassel posted the third-best completion percentage in Patriots history (63.4) while passing for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions." (from Nick Wagoner)

While in Denver McDaniels lead Kyle Orton to career highs in several departments, and quite importantly to career lows in interceptions. Giving Bradford a system that allows for minimal turnovers and easy completions through screens, slants, hitches, bubble screens and quick outs would be beneficial for his development, much like his first season. The 3, 4 and 5 wide sets spread the field, which should give our receivers more single coverage and subsequently easier match ups. in 2007 the Patriots offense averaged 4.1 yards per carry, a Franchise high for 22 years. This dispels the notion that running backs cannot succeed in McDaniels' system and he's never worked with a RB of SJax's calibre. Steven Jackson called for more wide sets earlier this season, realising himself that the stacked boxes limited his production. It's salivating to envisage Sjax in the open field making DB's miss and ploughing the rest. He has good enough hands to be active in the screen game and the presence of Maroney in McD's offenses show that big backs do fit into the system.

In 2007 the Patriots averaged 6.2 yards per attempt (including passing and rushing). The Rams this season averaged 4.6. With correct personnel and coaching we should see an increase this upcoming season.

Cons:

McDaniels' offense as stated relies on short routes. Those expecting 2007 style playaction bombs and deep throws for the 2011 Rams will be disappointed. This is a short passing system and it is these easy completions and YAC allowing routes that make McDaniels' system so Quarterback friendly. The name and terminology is very different, but McDaniels' spread relies on the same short passes that Shurmer did (but hopefully better designed and less predictable). We do not yet have the same sort of talent McDaniels offenses have had in the past. The deep passing game of 07 was greatly aided by the greatest deep threat in NFL History, Randy Moss, with Donte Stallworth working as a compliment. The Rams right now stand to boast the deep threat talents of Donnie Avery and Mark Clayton next season. The 07 Pats had Welker (in his first season with the team) producing regularly, and we currently have Amendola, who has been compared to Welker throughout the year. This could mean that Amendola remains the focus and threat of our passing attack, just like this season gone. Essentially, the worry is that schematically what McDaniels offers isn't much different from what we had last season, which was constantly a pain to watch. An additional negative is that Bradford has to learn entirely new terminology, which MAY hinder his development, as opposed to the comfort in the scheme he was so looking forward to enjoying next season.

McDaniels in Denver still had Brandon Marshall for a season, then after his exit Brandon Lloyd who put in a pro bowl season. McDaniels must be credited for giving Lloyd the increased role and seeing him produce but it can be argued Lloyd has always been a solid receiver but never been given number 1 responsibilities. He was given a chance and flourished. We can only hope the same happens for one of our receivers, and that they stay healthy... remember Clayton was putting up pro bowl stats before he got hurt, purely because he won the chance to be used as a number 1 receiver.

The scheme for me personally is not much fun to watch. I do not enjoy watching Patriot games (as they still use the core system) nor did I enjoy watching (McDaniels') Broncos games. This may be disregarded as 'as long as we win I don't care' but for me, I like to see my team win in style. Not by "killing" opponents, I think respect goes a long way, but also playing a brand of football in which I can whoop and holler. I promise I will even with this offense, but I'd rather it be a more interesting type of offense... *Martz* cough cough. (I am in no way saying we should have gone for Martz, just saying I enjoy watching his offenses play).

Fans got tired of his stubborness with playcalling, use of personnel and some rather ridiculous decisions in big games.

 

 

 

A lot of people take exception to McDaniels' on a level that transcends the scheme. This is particularly interesting because it is very rare for Co Ordinators and Coaches to be disliked on a somewhat personal level. 

Some people say it's because he wears his heart on his sleeve, he's a fiery competitor, meticulously prepared and used to winning (as if born of Bill Bellicheck). Others take exception to his connections to both Spygate scandals, the fact he is a Patriot product or that he is "an a*shole" "a jackass" and "a moron".

Going to Denver for Josh McDaniels was a test. One that he failed. It can be seen as a child leaving the security of education, and branching out into the big grown world, and not managing. The Patriots are an organisation and team spearheaded by cold patriarch Bill. Everyone conforms to his autocratic rule, work to the team ethos and selflessly sacrifice for the cause. It is a formula for success that is not often seen elsewhere. Under this huge character of Bill Belicheck and tradition of success Josh was protected. He was working with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, Randy Moss and talented veterans such as Welker, Stallworth and THAT Oline. The defense was perennially good, when someone left, another stepped in and did just as well if not better. This was the case with McDaniels. He learnt from Weis and when Weis saw greener pastures he moved. Josh stepped in and tasted more statistical success but never won a Superbowl. Side Note: Josh McDaniels was outcoached in the Superbowl by or own Steve Spagnuolo. He had no answer for the strategy Spags employed, despite tasting it in the tight victory of NYG in week 16. This is worrying and ties into issues had in Denver regarding 'stubborness'.

McDaniels is just one of a long line of ex Patriot CoOrdinators and in all honesty, besides a record setting season and a solid season with a back up has he actually accomplished? you may scoff, but with that talent and such a solid core, he has merely beaten on teams because they could. I'm sure other great offenses of the past could put up gaudy numbers, but it was the aggressive mentality to humiliate teams that set them apart.

Once in Denver McDaniels oversaw the single most shocking dismantling of a football team in NFL history. I thought zygmunt and martz were bad... but this guy was worse. We know all about it, but it's important to highlight several things.

He drove Cutler, Marshall, Scheffler, Nolan and many more out, replacing them with lesser talents or in the case of coaches, with people he was already familiar. Now it is clear that he will not be in charge of these decisions in his role as an offensive co ordinator, but it is the manner they left that raises some questions.

Jay Cutler:

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_11919325

People will say Cutler was a cry baby, he should have been more mature, but so should McDaniels. As a senior figure he should have minimized the outcry, allayed his quarterback's fears and done what was best for the team. Not his ego.

 

 

 

This was a particularly troubling quote.

"I went in there with every intention of solving the issue, being a Bronco, moving forward as a Bronco. We weren't in there but about 20 minutes, (McDaniels) did most of the talking, and as far as I'm concerned, he made it clear he wants his own guy. He admitted he wanted Matt Cassel because he said he has raised him up from the ground as a quarterback. He said he wasn't sorry about it." (Courtesy of the denverpost- link above)

The lack of apology is hard to understand and it is this sort of ability to alienate people that leads one to think... what if Steven Jackson has an issue with something? What if Sam Bradford has an issue with something? Will McDaniels be tactful enough to apologise or will he say he cannot work with these people not buying into his scheme? it's a long shot as Sam and Steven are model pros, but it's enough to place a fear in the mind that has no right to be there.

http://www.denverpost.com/premium/broncos/ci_14771867

This article highlights numerous personality issues. Solid vets such as Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins toe the line of neutrality. Saying that spats are by products of losing and happen everywhere.

McDaniels did not speak to Tom Brady for 3 weeks because they fell out.

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/03/28/mcdaniels-brady-once-went-three-weeks-without-talking-in-new-england/

this one barely expands upon it, but worth showing.

Brandon Marshall:

For me, it's all about openly questioning Marshall's toughness. He made it clear he did not believe Brandon Marshall was hurt, and subsequently thought it was worth making a show of announcing that he was benching him for behaviour not conducive to the team, as opposed to stating that he was hurt and would miss the game. That to me is indefensible and things like that tie into the element of mis trust that pervades the issues with McDaniels.

Head Coach and OC are different, but the requirement to get along with players is inescapable at any level. McDaniels has proven that he struggles with this aspect.

http://www.denverpost.com/krieger/ci_14112757

 

He also fired the reason for Denver's success in 09, Mike Nolan. Why? It hasn't been revealed. One of the few instances of professionalism. The speculation surrounding the firing concerns McDaniels' intention to hire a new coach from New England as a positional coach and as Assistant Head Coach, thus undermining Nolan. This is again untrustworthy, sneaky behaviour and a show of poor people skills. If you cannot work well with other he may cause a rift. 

"If he treated people right, everybody’d just keep their mouths shut. But when you treat people like a piece of [expletive], this is what happens,"

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2010/11/30/josh-mcdaniels-has-another-ghost/

 

 

 

I am already fearing an exodus of Rams offensive staff such as Nolan Cromwell (who did a good job coaching WRs up) as Dick Curl has announced his decision to retire. Yes, he's old, but why now? Why not before McD came? Why not right after the season ended? Why not later? This is not good news for Bradford as he has been brought into the league by Curl and he is a close friend of Spags'.

http://blog.stlouisrams.com/

the fact that McD's unqualified younger brother is already being speculated by the Rams' own media is troubling, and could lead to ideas of a McD disciple invasion of the Rams offensive staff, further giving him more clout than he deserves.

This hiring of former 'buddies' in New England can lead to other issues.

Spygates I and II. It is deplorable to cheat, it is poor form to be caught and it is plain stupid to be caught twice. Without swinging unbased accusations I will state that McDaniels has been a part of two Franchises embroiled in Spygate drama... He also hired someone who was directly involved in the first case and quickly became involved in a second. McD apparently did not know of it or anything, but he was found at fault for not reporting it. Questions can be raised.

http://www.denverpost.com/woodysmailbag/ci_16754902

I have told McDaniels on two occasions that his former bosses, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, could get away with their personalities and their disdain for the public and the press as long as they won, but people would turn on them in a hurry if they lost. That's what's happened here.

(from the above link)

This again shows that personality is considered an issue and cannot be ignored.

 

as an OC his job is not only to coach and call plays, but to talk with Spags and Devaney about which players fit his system. His draft history speaks for itself and this alone is incredibly worrying.

 

CONCLUSION

There is much more that can and will be said, but I just thought I'd point you in the direction of some ideas and hopefully we can discuss the hire. The links are full of information and worth reading.

I can understand why so many are excited, but I am stepping with trepidation. I hope he is a success, I hope we play good football and I hope we achieve our goals without losing fan favourites or valuable members of staff.

It is imperative in my opinion that he silently goes about his work like Shurmer did. He does his job well and is commended but he doesn't bask in the commendations. His influence should be minimal.

These are my wishes. What are yours?

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