By retaining one coach, the Patriots may have actually retained a few more.
Headed into an offseason fraught with uncertainty, it looked like the Patriots might lose both coordinators, their special teams coach and their assistant quarterbacks coach. Now, with Josh McDaniels telling the Patriots that he'll refuse the head job in Indianapolis and return as offensive coordinator, Bill Belichick might be able to keep all but one.
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Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is off and running as the head coach of the Lions, but keeping McDaniels in the fold is gargantuan for the Patriots. His experience with Tom Brady is invaluable, as coaching the future Hall of Famer could qualify as both a gift and . . . a challenge.
The gift is obvious. The challenge in working with the greatest quarterback in the history of the league is all-encompassing. Finding teaching points for Brady, going back and forth with Brady to fine-tune the offense, coming up with game-day alterations when need be -- McDaniels has done all of those things for each of the last six seasons and for five years before that from 2004-2008 as a quarterbacks coach and then an offensive coordinator.
But the value in keeping McDaniels goes beyond what he brings to the sidelines and the quarterback meeting room. McDaniels sticking in New England may have a domino effect on the rest of the coaching staff. Belichick may now be able to keep special teams coach Joe Judge and assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski -- both of whom were reportedly expected to join McDaniels in Indianapolis.
If that holds true, the Patriots would be left needing to fill just one major opening. The front-runner for the defensive coordinator job appears to be linebackers coach Brian Flores, who interviewed for the head coaching opening in Arizona before it was awarded to former Panthers assistant Steve Wilks.
There could be other changes made to the Patriots coaching staff -- offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia will turn 70 later this month and recently would not commit to a return in 2018 -- but keeping McDaniels means the team can grab hold of a measure of stability that not too long ago seemed to have slipped through its grasp.