** Since publication, per reports Josh McDaniels has decided not to become the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. McDaniels met with Patriots team owner Robert Kraft and was convinced to remain as New England’s offensive coordinator **
Josh McDaniels earlier this hour was named as the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. McDaniels had been linked with the vacant Colts job prior to Super Bowl LII, but was unable to be officially confirmed as their next head coach due to NFL rules. He has a track record of success as an offensive coordinator in New England but a some-what questionable record when coaching outside of Foxborough. McDaniels could be a great fit for the Colts if he’s able to replicate his system from New England with young start quarterback Andrew Luck, as long as the talented signal caller is able to stay on the field.
Previous head coaching experience in Denver
This will be McDaniels’ second head coaching job in the NFL after a disastrous run in Denver from 2009 to 2010 which was mired with controversy surrounding his handling of the roster. His tenure in Denver started with the trading of QB Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton after the new head coach initially tried to trade Cutler for Tom Brady’s back up in New England, Matt Cassel.
To start the 2009 season, McDaniels rattled off six straight victories including an impressive win over mentor and former team, the New England Patriots. McDaniels then lost four straight games before heading into week 17 with the change to still make the playoffs despite a 8-7 record. The Broncos lost and went .500 in McDaniels first season. His handling of the roster was further questioned after he benched star wide receiver Brandon Marshall who was eventually traded to the Miami Dolphins after the season ended.
McDaniels was fired late in 2010 after going 3-9 in his second season. His handling of the roster and ability to deliver results were questioned while Denver faced an embarrassing probe over what was deemed “Spy Gate II” by the media. McDaniels’ time in Denver saw the Broncos fail to record at least a .500 season for only the third time since 1991.
His time as an offensive coordinator
Following his departure from Denver, McDaniels landed as the OC and QB coach of the St Louis Rams. In his lone season with the Rams, McDaniels led the NFL’s worst offense which averaged just 12.1 points per game. Second year starter QB Sam Bradford was unable to repeat his successful Offensive Rookie of the Year season and was bothered all year by injuries. McDaniels lone season in St Louis saw the Rams finish 2-14.
Despite failure in both Denver and St Louis, McDaniels is most well known for his incredible success as long-time OC of the Patriots from 2006-08 and again from 2012-17. While McDaniels has struggled to shake off the “Tom Brady” tag, he was the mastermind behind an excellent 2008 season where he made Matt Cassel look like a serviceable quarterback and also helped develop Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brisset over the fast few seasons in New England.
What Indianapolis are getting
McDaniels has won five Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots and has been able to utilise under appreciated players by incorporating them into the wider scheme. It is difficult to say how much of the Patriots success should be attributed to McDaniels and how much is due to QB Tom Brady’s brilliance. The Indianapolis Colts are certainly getting a new head coach with an excellent offensive track record but a murky history of making personnel decisions.
If GM Chris Ballard is left to manage the roster while McDaniels is charged solely with coaching the offense and developing Andrew Luck, the Colts could look to challenge the up and coming new boys in the AFC South. McDaniels will likely need to bring in a seasoned defensive coordinator to help turn around the defense.
The bottom line is that when healthy Andrew Luck has looked every bit a top-5 and franchise quarterback. If the Colts are able to keep him on the field, Josh McDaniels should be able to get every bit of talent out of him and help the Colts challenge for AFC supremacy.
Follow Tom Like on Twitter, @TomLikeNFL.