NFL Teams Shouldn't Hire Josh McDaniels as Their Head Coach This Offseason

Liam McKeone
Josh McDaniels
Josh McDaniels / Michael Hickey/Getty Images

For the first time in 10 years, the New England Patriots will not be playing in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. As the offseason arrives early in Foxborough, rumors about who might leave the organization after a disappointing year have already begun in earnest, most prominently around Tom Brady. But even before their playoff loss, the rumor mill had already churned out several juicy tidbits about offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a yearly candidate for open head coach positions. McDaniels already has an interview scheduled for the Giants' job, and both the Browns and Panthers have expressed interest as well.

All of these organizations would be making a massive mistake by bringing McDaniels on board.

Everyone knows the Patriots' offense was bad this season. Chalk that up mostly to the personnel. These people aren't necessarily wrong, either; Julian Edelman was the only non-RB pass-catcher anyone would consider even above-average. While more was expected of Sony Michel, the offensive line was banged up the entire season, and both the run and pass game suffered as a result. Between injuries, newcomers struggling to learn the complicated New England offense on the fly, and Tom Brady looking older than he ever has, McDaniels wasn't exactly given the best hand to create a functioning NFL offense.

But the best offensive coordinators (and McDaniels has long been pegged as one of the very best) are able to create something out of nothing. New England didn't enjoy the premier weapons they have in the past this season, sure, but they weren't completely lacking for talent; Rex Burkhead has often been an impact contributor, James White is one of the receiving backs in the NFL, Michel had enough talent to warrant a first-round pick only last season, and the Patriots won a Super Bowl with Edelman and Philip Dorsett as the primary wideout options. Losing Rob Gronkowski in the offseason hurt, but the roster wasn't barebones. Brady can't will his team to wins anymore, but he's still in complete control of the offense and proved this season he can make the throws he needs to -- when they're there, that is.

In 2019, the throws were rarely there, and much of that falls on McDaniels. The Patriots beat up on their weak opponents early in the year, giving the Patriots league-average numbers across the board. But as the year progressed and the opponents got better, the offense wasn't able to step up to the task. They put up less than 300 yards of total offense in five games this season, including a 291-yard outing against the Bengals, who boasted one of the league's worst defenses in nearly every category. They posted over 400 total yards of offense only four times, and two of those came against the Redskins and Giants, who will be picking No. 2 and No. 4, respectively, in this year's draft. McDaniels had his moments, like opening week against Pittsburgh and their Week 15 matchup against Buffalo, but those were the only two performances that were quality from wire-to-wire.

Things all came to a head against Tennessee in the Wild Card round. The Patriots scored exactly zero points in the second half with their season on the line. They were unable to score a touchdown after starting with first-and-goal from the one-yard line against the NFL's worst red-zone defense. McDaniels called for a fullback dive on a crucial third-and-one later in the game, which wouldn't normally be that bad of a call... until you remember the fullback was Elandon Roberts, a linebacker. The trick plays McDaniels likes to save for big moments didn't work because he had used them all season in an effort to jumpstart offensive possessions. The Titans came to play and have a lot of talent on defense, but they were beatable. McDaniels couldn't get it done.

And this is all just this season! McDaniels' play calling got the Patriots to the Super Bowl last season, but they put on one of the worst offensive displays from any Super Bowl winner in recent memory against the Rams. Patriots fans are well aware that he regularly out-thinks himself and can count on a dozen absolutely head-scratching decisions in the regular season.

Then there's his track record as coordinator without Tom Brady as his quarterback, which isn't exactly stellar. The Broncos ranked 15th and 13th in total offense in the two years McDaniels was at the helm. As coordinator of the Rams in 2011, he led an offense that ranked 31st in that same category. Outside of the football aspect of things, McDaniels reportedly pissed off everyone in Denver before his ousting. Who can forget when he left the Colts at the altar last season after both he and the team put everything into place for him to take the reigns?

McDaniels is a talented coordinator, no doubt about it. But it's puzzling why teams are lining up to interview him when his best years have come when partnered with the greatest quarterback of all time and under the tutelage of the greatest coach of all time. The Giants or the Panthers don't guarantee a significant upgrade in terms of offensive personnel compared to New England this season. If a franchise is expecting McDaniels to come in and create a top-10 offense and lead their team into a new era, they'll be sorely disappointed.