The Indianapolis Colts have expressed their interest in New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels by offering him a second interview after Sunday’s AFC Championship win over the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20.
Assistant coaches are allowed to be interviewed this week before Super Bowl week festivities kick off next Monday and McDaniels has already been asked by the Colts for a second interview. It seems clear that he is their guy.
A little about McDaniels:
Josh McDaniels originally started in New England as a personal assistant in 2001 and then worked his way up to the offensive coordinator position by 2005 where he thrived until he headed to bigger endeavors as the Denver Broncos head coach in 2009.
In Denver, McDaniels was only able to go 11-17 in just short of two seasons. He actually was off to a great start by winning his first six games in Denver then dropped six out of their last eight to finish his first season at 8-8. In 2010, the rumblings started about possibly moving McDaniels and the Broncos went 3-9 under McDaniels before eventually being fired with four games left.
His start in Denver was not exactly a smooth transition. McDaniels and Jay Cutler, Denver’s quarterback at the time, did not see eye to eye. Cutler would end up being traded to Chicago for Kyle Orton and future draft picks.
After his termination in Denver, McDaniels went to St. Louis in 2011 to assume the role as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach where he led the 32nd ranked offense. It was a short-lived stint with the Rams because in 2012 McDaniels returned to New England to once again be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
During his split tenure with New England, McDaniels has become a five-time Super Bowl champion and is seeking his sixth Super Bowl victory on February 4th in Minneapolis. He is clearly experienced and qualified for any head coaching job available.
What does a second interview mean?
The most important factor in a head coaching interview is what that individual’s vision of the team he is being interviewed for is. What does he envision the team looking like two, three, or four years down the road? What kind of player and coach personnel does he need? It must be a well thought out plan.
It has been reported by ESPN’s Todd Archer that McDaniels has already started forming his staff around him. He intends to bring Matt Eberflus, Dallas Cowboys linebacker coach, to Indianapolis as the defensive coordinator. To help with play calling, Jake Peetz is expected to be the offensive coordinator as his job as Oakland’s quarterback coach could be phased out with Jon Gruden’s hiring.
General manager Chris Ballard and owner Jim Irsay must have liked the vision that McDaniels expressed in the first interview enough to bring him back for a second round. Typically, this is where a formal offer would be made to make things official. McDaniels cannot be officially named the head coach until the Super Bowl has concluded, so Colts fans can look for big news on coming on February 5th.
McDaniels has called plays for the Patriots in each of the last six seasons, each of which the Patriots were ranked as one of the top four offenses in the NFL. If Andrew Luck is healthy, this could be a potent combination for years to come.
The Colts still have a lot of holes to fill on both offense and defense. Before becoming the Patriots offensive coordinator, McDaniels was a defensive assistant in New England, working extensively with defensive backs. This shows that he is not strictly an offensive-minded football coach.
Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton, and Malik Hooker are three intriguing players, but other than that, McDaniels will likely work closely with Chris Ballard to overhaul most of the offensive unit. The blocking struggles allowed Jacoby Brissett get sacked a league-leading 52 times in 2017-18. Finding better protection up-front will be high on the offseason checklist.
On defense, the Colts were the 30th ranked defensive unit in yards allowed per-game which is scary in itself. Losing Malik Hooker early in the season did not help, but one guy does not make a defense. Ballard is known for his offseason free-agent signings, so he may be reloading on defense with the help of McDaniels and Eberflus.
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