|Players: No sign of Brady-McDaniels feud in 2005||03.29.10 at 12:00 pm ET|
I spoke with two players from the 2005 Patriots this morning, and both of them said they didn’t know about the divide between Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady that season that caused them not to talk to each other for three weeks, according to a story in Sunday’s Denver Post.
While neither player denied the story, one player said when he was around Brady and McDaniels at the same time that season, you couldn’t tell they were clashing. But at the same time, it wasn’t like any reported divide between the two had an effect on the New England offense that season.
“You couldn’t tell if you were around them,” he said. “But then again, our offense wasn’t that good either.”
That season, McDaniels was in his second year as quarterbacks coach and also had a hand in play-calling for the first time after former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left to take over the head coaching gig at Notre Dame prior to that season. The Patriots won the AFC East that season, finishing 10-6 but losing in the divisional playoffs to the Broncos in Denver.
Whatever issues the two may have had at the time were quickly resolved, however. Two seasons later, McDaniels was the offensive coordinator for a Patriots offense that set several records, including 50 touchdown passes from Brady.
Brady continues to speak extremely highly of McDaniels — last fall, Brady said he knew McDaniels had a handle on the offense early in his tenure in New England.
“When he was quarterback coach his first year, 2004, you could really tell,” Brady said of McDaniels in the days leading up to the Patriots-Broncos game. “He studied under the defense here for a while and I think he really brought that over to the offense and said, ‘All right, guys, this is how they’re trying to stop us, so this is how we’re going to beat it.’
“Obviously, when you can do that and you learned under coach Belichick, as an offensive coach you can bring so much information — you know, vs. formations what they’re going to do, how they’re going to play certain looks that we’re giving them. And then you try to take advantage of those looks. He was really great at that and he’s still great at that.”
One player said he liked being around McDaniels when he was in New England but isn’t surprised at the report. He echoed the same point that CBS analyst Boomer Esiason made in the story — that many former Bill Belichick assistants try to implement the New England system, but in the rush to instill a team-before-self culture, the new coach forgets that he doesn’t have the same credibility as Belichick.
In his first season as Broncos head coach, McDaniels ruffled feathers when he benched wide receiver Brandon Marshall and traded franchise quarterback Jay Cutler. Despite the Broncos’ 6-0 start, the moves were widely questioned in the wake of eight losses in the final 10 games of the season.
“All these [coaches] are taking what Bill did in New England and trying to bring that with them wherever they go,” Esiason told the Denver Post. ”The one thing they’re missing, though, is the credibility Bill Belichick has. The Super Bowl rings lead the players to believe he’s leading them to victory.”
“Am I surprised? Not really. It seems like every coach — especially the young ones — try to be a mini-Bill. A mini-Bill from his New England days,” said the player. ”What they end up being is mini-Bill from his Cleveland [days]. Either way, he better start winning, or he will be run out of Denver.”
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