Patriots

Hail Mary convinces McDaniels to stand up Indy, stay in New England

“If anyone knows any reason why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace . . . ”

And the Patriots spoke.

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Fifteen hours of meetings between Josh McDaniels, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft over the past two days have inspired McDaniels to leave the Indianapolis Colts at the altar.

McDaniels will remain Patriots offensive coordinator; Belichick will return as head coach in 2018.

The Colts, who entered into a verbal agreement with McDaniels and had begun hiring staff to surround him, are stunned and enraged.

But since the Patriots loss to Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52 on Sunday, McDaniels got greater clarity on the future plans of both Belichick and the Patriots organization.

It can now be presumed McDaniels will be given primary consideration as Belichick’s successor. That wasn’t the case previously.

The uncertainty in Indy regarding Andrew Luck’s future is a concern, but this was a decision that had more to do with the Patriots than it did the Colts.

Stability in New England (this season and the past 48 hours notwithstanding), the program in place with personnel czar and longtime friend Nick Caserio and the chance to keep his family rooted in New England were all convincers.

Prior to the end of the regular season, McDaniels tried to pinpoint the future plans of the team and Belichick but he didn’t get the level of clarity he hoped for. Now that he has that clarity, he’s decided to stay even if he gets demolished in the media for the decision.

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What prompted the Patriots to ensure McDaniels would stay? The 600-plus yards of offense the Patriots put up in the Super Bowl and 505 passing yards from Tom Brady were surely part of it. So too may have been the realization McDaniels was hoping to take well-regarded quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski and perhaps special teams coach Joe Judge as well.

That would have meant New England lost both coordinators (Matt Patricia is already in Detroit), the special teams coach and another one of their offensive brains. The brain drain would have put significant pressure on the Patriots 2018 coaching staff and Bill Belichick.

That problem is now gone. And McDaniels is staying.

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