In the past, the Patriots have held many of their assistant coaches back from the NFL Scouting Combine following a long season. The 2017 season was a long season, and therefore offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and other Patriots assistants will not be making the trip to Indianapolis.
ESPN's Mike Reiss is reporting that "the majority of New England coaches" aren't expected to attend. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport is reporting that about half of the defensive staff will be there.
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While it may be standard operating procedure following a Super Bowl appearance for the bulk of Patriots coaches to miss the week of evaluations at the combine, that McDaniels will not be involved is mildly interesting.
The Patriots are expected to be in the market for a young quarterback to develop behind Tom Brady, and McDaniels (offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2012) will be working right alongside any young quarterback the team selects. McDaniels passed on the chance to become the head coach of the Colts in order to stick in New England, and so it would stand to reason that if the Patriots pick a quarterback, particularly if they pick one in the first few rounds of this year's draft, that quarterback will be working with McDaniels for years to come.
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Wouldn't McDaniels want to have a combine introduction to the players who could be in the running for "The Next Guy" at quarterback for the Patriots?
Maybe. But it's not like seeing them at the combine is the last and only chance to evaluate.
The reality is the opportunities to get to know prospects are limited in Indy. Formal interviews last 15 minutes, whereas meetings surrounding pro days, private workouts and official visits to team facilities are typically much better settings for coaches to familiarize themselves with players.
The combine is far from useless. There's a reason the team interviews players in that setting. But when it comes to finding a Brady successor, it's probably not vital that McDaniels is in attendance to see prospects throw against air, broad jump, and participate in a brief question-and-answer session.
Plus, the person who will make the final call on if the Patriots draft a quarterback and when, Bill Belichick, will be there. Same goes for director of player personnel Nick Caserio. Their bases will be covered.