The Truth About Josh McDaniels

Intrigued by the hiring of Josh McDaniels, I decided to do a spot of research.

I posted on the Pats page and received some absolutely fantastic information. The idea was to find out information about McD as a Co-Ordinator. At Denver he could not be fairly judged due to his massive increase in responsibilities. It is difficult to see if he would work for us as well as he did for New England, mainly due to the hierarchal system in place there. Bill Belicheck is a more experienced, wisened and respected Head Coach than Steve Spagnuolo's. He runs that organisation in such a manner that his 'underlings' do not have the authority to affect the team in a way that contradicts his approach. A big question regards whether Spags wields that same power.

In this post I'd like to summarise and present to you some of the information I gleamed from the Patriots fans. Again, many many thanks to the Patriots fans that commented on my post and shared such excellent information.


System Information.

Josh McDaniels gives his Wide Receivers options in their routes. This alludes to the comments made by many Bronco and Pats fans regarding the requirement of players in McD's system to be intelligent players. It means that Wide Receivers and Tight Ends have to have the intelligence to read the defense and adjust to what they are giving them in their routes. Quarterbacks also need to be very smart and on the same page as the WRs so that they can connect on these routes.

The Running Back that will receive the most snaps will be the Running Back who is most effective in pass protection. Kevin Faulk saw 50% of the snaps in New England, due to his blocking ability (and his receiving ability). 

Kevin Faulk - NFL Running Back (via BillySpikes37)


We'd have to see if SJax works hard at his blocking in the off season to fit the mould of a McDaniels Running back. Currently Kenneth Darby is our best blocking RB. For this reason alone I believe Darby will remain a Ram next season. This may also impact the likelihood of us drafting a complimentary back like Noel Devine or Quizz Rodgers in the upcoming draft. With Darby seeing an increase in snaps (hypothetically) this would lower the demand placed on SJax to run the ball and subsequently the need for a back up.


McDaniels employs a man/power blocking Run Scheme. This means that our desire for more beef up front to aid the run game should hopefully be met. One of the first things he did in Denver was remove the zone blocking scheme and add some bigger linemen.


McDaniels places emphasis on the 3rd WR as a safety net. So... If Clayton is #1 Amendola #2 in the slot and Gibson is #3, then Gibson should see a spike in production, mainly due to an increased role. Jabar Gaffney played this role for McDaniels. Generally this sort of player is a jack of all trades, solid mid level route runner. Whoever fits this role is open to debate.

Jabar Gaffney highlights (via sasuke6483)


As I'm sure we all probably know, McD loves using his wideouts. TE's were not used too much by the Pats when he was there, but they did not have anyone who was particularly dynamic. They had Ben Watson, but no Gronk or Hernandez. This leads people to wonder what he'd have done with those 2 studs at TE. Do we compare? No, but it'll be interesting to see how McD utilizes the skills of Oh Oh and maybe even Fendi. Bajema would likely be kept, as from history McD has mainly used TEs as blockers. Remember he drafted blocking Tight End Quinn in the 2nd Round in his first draft with Denver.



Patriots fans generally said that McDaniels neglected certain aspects of the offense. Specifically the RBs and TEs. It was stated that they were intrigued to see quite how Steven Jackson would be used.

McDaniels apparently seems to get carried away with the pass, and will keep on passing even if there is a sizeable lead. This aggression is good, and a welcome relief to the extreme conservatism of Shurmer, however it will be important to not put undue pressure on our D through potential turnovers throwing the ball, or 3 and outs from a lack of success. This seems like a topic that will be heralded if we win, and chastised should we lose.

A strong relationship between him and Spags should keep this aspect of his playcalling in check. Spags will need to be firm and strong as an HC, like Belicheck.

With regards to playcalling and the game plan, it was stated that it would be key for Spags and McDaniels to create a strong relationship. McD would then devise a gameplan, propose it to Spags, and Spags will yay it or nay it. Spags would also use his defensive expertise to correct elements of the gameplan. The first half of the season should be centrally controlled (Spags as overseer) and if this works, McDaniels demonstrating to Spags that he is competent enough, will lead to more freedom to McD throughout the season.



McDaniels' is often seen as too young to be respected. Hopefully he will be humbled by the Denver experience and come in as a more approachable and modest OC.

A lot of McDaniels' success for us will revolve around how well he can gel with Spags. If they butt heads, McDaniels will be shown the door. This is something that I drew a lot of attention to in my previous post Josh McDaniels: Good or Bad? and is something entirely beyond our control or vision. We can theorise and have our own opinions, but that is all. We'll find out in the upcoming season, if we have one.


Josh McDaniels, MIC'ed up! (via bhuisken)



The consensus is that McDaniels was an OK to good OC for New England. He did very well working within a successful structure with elite players. He did well bringing the best out of some players, but not everyone. Players like Lloyd, Gaffney, Cassell and Stallworth all had good seasons under his OC-ship, mainly due to him identifiying their strengths and playing to them. This shows a good eye for using of talent, which bodes well for us. We have a lot of very talented young guys, and hopefully McD will identify their skills and bring the best out of them.

An example was provided of how McD played to strengths. This example was Cassell. Despite 6 RBs being injured that season, McD placed emphasis on the run game to remove the pressure from Cassell, the Pats then ran for 2200 yards. This is a good sign, as hopefully, should Bradford struggle, SJax and the run game will be able to relieve him. On a side note. Has anyone noticed the issue McD has had with injuries to RB corps throughout his career?

Pats fans were uncertain whether McD's success was because of the players he had, or his coaching, but he has proven to be capable with the correct players, his success in STL being dependant on what our FO can do for him.

Being an OC only, his role in the acquisition of players should be minimal. He will have a slight say on who or what he would like, but the final call rests with Spags and Devaney. This means McD's requirements will have to mould to the requirements of Spags and Billy, namely the 4 Pillars.


My opinion.

I feel that McDaniels is exactly what I thought he was, and I will maintain the hopeful stance that he is a success. The doubts regarding his character for me remain an issue, and my fears stem from a fear that Spags doesn't have the influence and power that Belicheck has. I hope he defines some ground rules and does not give McDaniels too much power early purely due to his contract size and reputation (having been a HC).


Any thoughts or questions?

I have asked the Patriots fans to check this post and comment, so hopefully we will have a more in depth explanation and discussion in the comments.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.

Join Turf Show Times

You must be a member of Turf Show Times to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Turf Show Times. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.