McDaniels says other opportunities 'irrelevant'


McDaniels says other opportunities 'irrelevant'

Josh McDaniels doesn't turn 37 until April.

The Patriots offensive coordinator has crammed a lot of living into the past five years -- architect of the most explosive offense in NFL history in 2007, a successful season without the NFL's best quarterback in 2008, a 6-0 start as Broncos head coach in 2009, a peeing match with a franchise quarterback (also in 2009), a firing in 2010, a hiring...and on...and on.

Despite the way things went for McDaniels in Denver, his resume and youth will make him a head coaching candidate over the next month.

I asked McDaniels Monday morning about that reality.

"I'm thrilled to be back here and I came back here for all the right reasons," he began. "To learn and get better as a coach, to work in an organization that I really have a great deal of respect and appreciation for. I'm happy here. My family's happy here. We're excited about what's ahead of us here in the playoffs. To talk about any other opportunities at this point is, to me, irrelevant.

"I'm totally focused on this season and what this season holds," he added. "I couldn't be more excited to be here and be a New England Patriot and try to do the best job with the title that I have right now."

All that said, there's a strong likelihood McDaniels will be contacted for the head coaching jobs that are opening up. San Diego, Cleveland and Philadelphia are all franchises that could use a savvy offensive mind and a new voice.

McDaniels gave general reflections on what he's learned since being hired to coach the Broncos.

"I think that every opportunity that you have and that I've gone through since I started a long time ago in 2001 here has been a learning experience for me," he stated. "There's certainly gonna be mistakes along the way in every role that you hold and that you have an opportunity to work in.

"As long as you can get better from every mistake you make or even positive results that you get, there's always something to learn from those things to make you a better coach, a better leader, a better teacher, a better person, a better communicator, a better staff member," McDaniels added. "Hopefully, that's what I've tried to do in all my experiences including the ones I've recently had that weren't here in New England. I hope every day that I'm better than I was the day before and every year, the same thing. Going forward in any role that I have I want to be as good as I can be for that organization that I'm working here. I couldn't be more happy to be here in New England."

EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?


EX-PATS PODCAST: Why does it seem Patriots secondary is playing better without Gilmore?

On this episode of The Ex-Pats Podcast...

0:10 - Mike Giardi and Dan Koppen give their takeaways from the Patriots win over the Falcons including the defense coming up strong against Atlanta but New England still taking too many penalties.

2:00 - Why it felt like this game meant more to the Patriots, their sense of excitement after the win, and building chemistry off a good victory.

6:20 - Falcons losing their identity without Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator and their bad play calling and decisions on 4th downs.

10:00 -  A discussion about Matt Ryan not making the throws he needed against the Patriots and if he has falling off the MVP caliber-type player he was last season.

14:00 - How and why the Patriots secondary seems to be playing better without Stephon Gilmore and why Malcolm Butler has been able to turn up his play as of late.

Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study


Mother Nature gets between Belichick and his Patriots-Falcons film study

If your team makes a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter, but you can't see it on the All-22 tape, did it even happen? 

Bill Belichick said the fog that hovered above the Gillette Stadium turf on Sunday night didn't impact the play on the field, but it did make its imprint on the game in other ways. First of all, spotters and coaches up at the press level had some difficulty relaying information to coaches on the sidelines. Video on the hand-held tablets for sideline use -- as well as the old-school still-frame pictures Belichick prefers -- was also obstructed. 

Then on Monday, as coaches tried to digest the film, the fog butted in on the process again. 

"It affected us a lot this morning because it’s hard to see the game," Belichick said during a conference call. "The fourth quarter is – I don’t know – pretty close to a white-out on the sideline film. The sideline cameras are at the top of the stadium, so that’s a tough shot.

"The end zone cameras are a little bit lower and they get a little tighter shot, so the picture is a little bit clearer. But, on that shot, a lot of times you’re not able to see all the guys on the perimeter. It’s kind of an in-line shot.

"Yeah, the first half, start of the third quarter, it’s all right. As they get into the middle of the third quarter and on, for those of us with aging eyes, it’s a little strained to see it, and then there’s a point where you can’t really see it at all, especially from the sideline. So, yeah, it affected us."

Belichick re-iterated that the fog didn't do much to the product on the field (other than maybe making life difficult for kick and punt-returners), refuting Julio Jones' claim from late Sunday night. When it came to digesting the film, though, that was another story.

"It was more, I’d say, just tougher for, whether it be our video camera or the fans that were sitting in the upper deck. It’s just there was too much interference there," Belichick said. "It was probably hard to see the game. I know when we tried to look at the pictures in between series – you know, I don’t look at the tablets, so I won’t get into that – but the pictures, it was kind of the same thing. It was hard to really be able to make out exactly what you were seeing."