Josh McDaniels facing the unknown — either with Patriots or Browns

Josh McDaniels facing the unknown — either with Patriots or Browns

David Tepper touched off a tidal wave Tuesday morning. Now, Josh McDaniels better start paddling fast to Cleveland if he wants a new job.

It’s either that for McDaniels or return to safe harbor with the Patriots. And at this point, it’s not entirely clear just how safe that harbor is.

Here’s what went down and where things stand.

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Tepper, the newly-minted owner of the Carolina Panthers, was supposed to meet with McDaniels today about his head coaching vacancy. Carolina offered the blankest of slates for McDaniels — new owner, rebuilding roster, etc. But Tepper chose instead to cancel the McDaniels interview and hire Baylor coach Matt Rhule. Rhule has one year of NFL coaching experience under his belt. He was an assistant offensive line coach in 2012 for the Giants.

Speaking of the Giants, McDaniels was supposed to interview there on Wednesday. The Giants chose to cancel the McDaniels interview and hire Patriots special team/wide receivers coach Joe Judge.

What was the rush for the Giants? Well, with Rhule off the board and Mississippi State anxious to hire Judge, the Giants didn’t want to be left with candidates that weren’t keen on their coaching setup. Namely, the guy coming in would have to work with GM Dave Gettleman and would not have full control of personnel.

For McDaniels and — presumably former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who was also coming into the picture — that was probably a non-starter. Judge, who’s never been a head coach, obviously wasn’t fazed by Gettleman’s presence and shouldn’t be. He doesn’t have the clout to demand total control.

McDaniels still has an opportunity with Cleveland and is set to interview there Friday, although he’s suddenly got an open calendar if he wants to move that up. At any rate, the pros and cons of coaching the Browns have been mentioned often.

Talented but somewhat brash and erratic quarterback in Baker Mayfield. Talented but self-centered wideout in Odell Beckham Jr. Talented running back in Nick Chubb. Talent all over the defense starting with Myles Garrett, who finished 2019 suspended for clubbing Mason Rudolph with his own helmet after Garrett pried it off. An owner who seemingly changes his mind four times between waking up and emptying his bladder to start the day. An ambiguous front-office structure. A storied franchise in the state where McDaniels grew up that has an angry, long-suffering fanbase that once cannibalized Bill Belichick.

So where’s McDaniels leaning? At 43, he’s two years removed from leaving the Indianapolis Colts at the altar in a reputation-denting move.

In the two years since, he’s gotten blood from a stone with the Patriots offense. In 2018, he morphed them into a power running attack and won a Super Bowl. The post-Super Bowl documentary “Do Your Job III” was basically a Bill Belichick ode to the brilliance of McDaniels.

This year, with the team woefully understaffed at tight end and wide receiver and then diminished by injuries at center, left tackle and fullback, McDaniels still found ways to score with an array of trick plays and smart schemes.

Every big offensive play in Saturday’s loss to the Titans — the early screen to James White, two long runs by Sony Michel, the Julian Edelman touchdown — were scheme-related plays, not a case of one player just overpowering and out-talenting his opponents. McDaniels got heat for head-scratching decisions as well — Elandon Roberts on third-and-short, three straight runs at the goal line — but those occasions of overthinking came because the Patriots personnel had such a hard-time lining up and winning.

Which leads to this question: Does McDaniels want to come back to New England and run it back one more time?

There are so many unknowns in Foxboro. Where will Tom Brady be? Who is Brady’s successor? Who will be the wide receivers coach with Judge gone? Will center David Andrews and fullback James Develin be back? Will a greater effort be made to draft/sign/develop wide receivers and tight ends than has been made over the past decade? Will Dante Scarnecchia, 72, and Ivan Fears, 66, be back?

Over the past two years, McDaniels has seen an astounding number of his fellow coaches leave: Judge, Matt Patricia, Brian Flores, Chad O’Shea, Jerry Schuplinski, Brendan Daly and Josh Boyer. He’s seen the Patriots refuse to allow personnel executives Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort to interview elsewhere and seen the team file tampering charges against Houston when the Texans came looking for Caserio again.

All the while, Bill Belichick has shown no sign of stepping down and McDaniels has received zero assurance that — if Belichick were to step down — he’d be the successor.

There were three main reasons McDaniels passed on the Indy job two years ago. The Patriots’ 11th-hour commitment to him financially and by simply articulating how much they wanted him. Stability for his young family. Unease with the ownership and quarterback situations in Indianapolis.

In hindsight, McDaniels made the right call. The Patriots won another Super Bowl and he wasn’t caught up in the Andrew Luck retirement maelstrom. And he’s still a valued head coaching candidate. He was smart to stay.

Now? It’s hard to say in this first week of January which place is more unsettled — Cleveland or New England.

Report: Tom Brady joined this exclusive Florida golf club after Tampa move

Report: Tom Brady joined this exclusive Florida golf club after Tampa move

When in Florida, do as Floridians do.

Tom Brady is wasting no time acclimating to his new surroundings after moving to Tampa last week following his free-agent deal with the Buccaneers.

The former New England Patriots quarterback has joined the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Fla., according to Outside the Cut and USA TODAY's Golfweek.

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Brady and his wife, Gisele, had been members of the prestigious Brookline Country Club since 2017 while Brady played in New England, and the Seminole Golf Club certainly isn't a step down.

The highly exclusive club, designed by Donald Ross in 1929, has called high-powered businessmen like Joseph P. Kennedy, Henry Ford II, Jack Chrysler and Robert Vanderbilt members over the years and was rated the No. 12 golf club in the country by Golf Digest in 2019.

The club is on Florida's east coast just north of West Palm Beach, about 200 miles from where Brady is residing in Derek Jeter's sprawling Tampa mansion.

We'd imagine Brady will find excuses to make the trip, though: He's an avid golfer who reportedly will play in an upcoming charity doubles match with Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Looks like the 42-year-old has a new course to practice on as he settles into life outside New England.

Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Devin McCourty sounds off on Rex Ryan, ESPN over Amari Cooper 'nonsense'

Rex Ryan's harsh comments about Amari Cooper last Friday aren't sitting well with anyone.

So, why did ESPN air them in the first place?

That's what New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty wondered Sunday while taking both the former NFL head coach and his current employer to task for Ryan calling Cooper a "turd" on ESPN's "Get Up!"

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"I just wanted to call ESPN and say, ‘ESPN, listen: You have the Jordan documentary coming out. You don’t need to air Rex Ryan,' " McCourty said on his "Double Coverage With the McCourty Twins" podcast.

McCourty's point: ESPN airing Ryan's harsh comments about Cooper -- in which Ryan called the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver a "disappearing act" who "doesn't love football" and added "I wouldn't have paid this turd" -- was a ratings grab.

McCourty sarcastically noted ESPN doesn't need the extra publicity with "The Last Dance," its highly-anticipated documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1998 Chicago Bulls, dropping later this month.

"Ratings are going to go through the roof. When you drop the Jordan doc, it’s a wrap," McCourty said. "As soon as Rex Ryan said that, (ESPN) should have cut it, should have never had it on air.

"Whatever (they) had to do, just cut it. Throw it in the trash. The Jordan doc is going to drop. We don’t need any extra hits for nonsense."

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Devin's twin brother, Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty, also ripped ESPN for promoting Ryan's comments on social media.

"Everybody was all-in on this ‘turd’ comment," Jason said on the podcast. "I guess at the same time, it’s all about entertainment: How can we get more viewers, how can we get people to click this, click that?

"But at what point in the game can you call somebody a turd? Whether he’s a good player or not a good player, it was just bad ball all around."

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tweeted his defense of Cooper on Friday, as well, so it sounds like Ryan doesn't have many players in his corner.

Ryan later apologized on ESPN for his comments about Cooper -- which the McCourtys may tell you probably helped the network's ratings, too.