In New England the big issue right now is the replacement of Josh McDaniels
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Thoughts and quick notes on the New England Patriots and the NFL:
1. Fill the gap in offensive coordination: a Bill Belichick story from 30 years ago applies today to the important question of who the New England coach plans to hire as offensive coordinator to succeed Josh McDaniels.
Belichick was interviewing for the Cleveland Browns head coaching job and shared his philosophy with owner Art Modell, then repeated something similar 10 years later with Patriots owner Robert Kraft.
“We’re going to teach the coaches our system and develop them from the inside so we don’t have to change our philosophy when the coaches change. I have my philosophy, that’s what we’re going to do, obviously with modifications. But we weren’t going to change the offensive philosophies, defenses and special teams every time we made a coaching change. I’ve tried to live by that my entire head coaching career.”
That’s how Belichick himself, at the 2016 NFL annual meeting, described one of his founding principles.
As for what that means for the 2022 Patriots and the offensive coordinator position, here’s a rundown of the highlights:
That the system does not change. This is critical for the sophomore quarterback mac jones. You won’t have to learn a new system as much as you will have to listen to a different voice in your helmet.
Opportunity to modify. An intelligent mind conveyed this as an easy-to-miss layer. Losing McDaniels isn’t ideal, but it also creates an opportunity for Belichick to potentially streamline an offense that has grown in depth and possibly turn it into a more player-friendly scheme.
Decision on the plays. Would Belichick trust someone who has never done it before? Those familiar with his thinking have doubts, which could be why some of the talk at the Senior Bowl last week was that the Patriots would target someone from outside the organization with playmaking experience.
Few really know what Belichick is thinking, with media-based speculation centered on the likes of Bill O’Brien, Adam Gase, Joe Judge, Mick Lombardi and Nick Caley, among others.
The only facts: Whoever it is, it will be running Belichick’s system, and Belichick doesn’t seem in a hurry to change it, having enjoyed some time off from the office last week.
2. Supply line: One benefit of Belichick looking outside the organization for an experienced offensive coordinator is the opportunity to expand his coaching network and open up a new line of coaches to develop. For example, when Greg Schiano briefly joined the team in 2019, he brought in Bob Fraser. Or when Matt Patricia returned in 2021, he did it with research/analysis specialist Evan Rothstein. Someone like O’Brien or Gase would likely come with a couple of his own assistants, and that could be ideal to fill in some gaps.
3. The Billy O Fit: O’Brien is proven as the Patriots’ offensive coordinator based on his past experience with New England, but aside from his Massachusetts roots, I’ve wondered why he’d want to return for a second stint. That’s an important job at Alabama, where he’s the offensive coordinator, and if he has another productive season in 2022, he’ll still be on the NFL head-coaching interview circuit like he was this year with Jacksonville. Likewise, as new Raiders GM Dave Ziegler pointed out about Belichick’s forward-thinking approach, surely the Patriots coach has considered that bringing O’Brien back in 2022 might just be a short-term fix. and look for another CO in 2023.
4. Slate’s plan: If Belichick decides it would be beneficial for the 2022 Patriots to have the veteran special teams captain around matthew slaterMy feeling is that it wouldn’t take much for the respected veteran to sign on for another season. Some people close to Slater don’t think he’s ready to retire.
5. Hallway Talk: Bills special teams great Steve Tasker (1986-97) is a nine-time Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist, and Slater refers to him as the “Godfather” of those whose careers have been defined by his contributions to the kicking game. There has been extensive debate about Tasker’s chances of being enshrined. Tasker envisions an easier path for Slater, whose 10 Pro Bowl appearances broke his special teams record of seven. On the “Great Dane Nation” podcast with Morten Andersen, he noted, “I don’t think there’s any question that he’s going to get in when his time comes. He may not be a Hall of Famer on the first ballot, but he’s going to be there.”
6. Sony in LA: Former running back for the Patriots, sonymichel, is preparing to play his second Super Bowl, this time as a member of the Rams. The Patriots traded Michel to the Rams in September for a 2023 fourth-round pick and a 2022 sixth-round pick. Even with the benefit of hindsight, it’s a trade the Patriots would make again, as the position was a of the team’s strengths in 2021. As for the Rams, who needed depth after the fall of Cam Akers, I asked ESPN Rams reporter Lindsey Thiry for her perspective and she said the Rams would, too. “He really helped redefine their offense after a three-game losing streak in November, when [el entrenador] Sean McVay had to commit to running more and playing more physical football.”
7. Mac in the Pro Bowl: It looks like Jones had some fun at the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown this week, teaming up with Browns cornerback, Denzel Ward, and Chargers safety Derwin James to help the AFC win the “Thread the Needle” competition. Jones didn’t fare as well in the “Precision Passes” event, as Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson, did very well, and then turned in passes in the “Best Sack” competition for his AFC teammates. His attempt to catch a ball led to his elimination from Dodgeball when the NFC won the overall competition. Next up: The game itself, which airs will have Jones (as a substitute) who joins patrick mahomes Y Justin Herbert as quarterbacks.
8. CFL to NFL: the guard/center of the Canadian Football League Drew Desjarlais (Winnipeg) didn’t stop looking at the NFL before signing a contract with the Patriots for 2022. New England was one of seven teams he surveyed and there would have been more if Desjarlais hadn’t decided to cut him at that point. What attracted the Patriots? Among other things, it’s Desjarlais’ bogged-down, physical style of play. Now the question is whether he will add his name to that CFL-to-NFL supply line that includes Cameron Wake, Jeff Garcia, Brandon Browner and Warren Moon, among others.
9. Long time to arrive: if the Bengals win Super Bowl LVI, they will push the Patriots to third place on the all-time “longest-waiting championship” list. The Bengals, in search of their first championship, are in their 54th season of existence. The Saints’ 43-year wait (2009) for a championship is No. 1, followed by the Patriots’ 42-year wait (2001).
10. Did you know? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Bengals are the second team in NFL history with multiple wins in a single postseason, joining the 2001 Patriots.
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Bill Belichick and his decision for a new offensive coordinator Why is it worth looking outside the Patriots?