|Josh McDaniels would ‘love to’ be head coach again, given the right spot||01.27.15 at 3:38 pm ET|
PHEONIX — Josh McDaniels‘ name has been mentioned a number of times over the last few months as a potential head coach.
He reportedly interviewed with the Falcons and 49ers during the Patriots’ bye week, and although the Falcons job is still open, there was a report from an Atlanta paper that he was staying with the Patriots. Tuesday at the Patriots’ media day, McDaniels said he still has interest in being a head coach, given the right situation.
“I would love to do it again,” McDaniels said. “I think the most important thing to me is to just be in the right situation and just be in a place where I feel good about being. There are a lot of great teams and great places out there. I happen to be in a good situation for myself right now and for my family. If it comes up again and it is like there it is, that is the right spot, then I would love to do it again and give it another shot.”
Even though things didn’t work out in Denver for McDaniels, going 11-17 in one-plus season with the Broncos, he said it was a learning experience and it is benefiting him now. He said he and the rest of the New England coaching staff work very well together.
“I have learned a tremendous amount,” he said. “There is probably so many things that I learned there. I think one of the things that I really learned in Denver is the value of being a good listener. When you do something like that for the first time you feel like you have to run through everything and be in charge of too many things and sometimes that is a significant negative. I have tried really hard in St. Louis and then here back in New England. We really gather ideas, we listen to one another and try to do the best thing for the offense in this particular case and it has really been a great thing.
“Our atmosphere on our staff has been very healthy and a big part of that is that we have a lot of guys that can contribute and it doesn’t come from one source. I made a lot of mistakes there and you know that. I think it was a great learning experience for myself. Hopefully I have grown from that and will continue to grow.”
|Bill Belichick doesn’t want to discuss Bryan Stork’s knee injury||01.13.15 at 10:41 am ET|
Starting center Bryan Stork left Saturday’s divisional round game with the Ravens in second quarter with a knee injury. It was then announced right after halftime he would not return to the game.
The rookie was not seen in the locker room following the game, and coach Bill Belichick didn’t have much of an update to offer on Tuesday’s conference call.
“I think Bryan has done a good job for us,” said Belichick. “We finished the game without him last week and if he wasn’t available then we’d be in a similar situation this week. Whether it would be the same [personnel] or different, I don’t really want to get into that. He’s obviously done a good job for us, he’s grown along the way.”
When Stork went down the Patriots made some adjustments on the offensive line, as Ryan Wendell shifted over from right guard to center and Josh Kline was inserted at right guard. Kline has emerged as the team’s top backup offensive linemen, as he started in place of Dan Connolly at left guard when he missed the final two games of the regular season. When it comes to Sunday’s game against the Colts, if Stork cannot play, it would seem Jordan Devey would become active, and along with Marcus Cannon, serve as the backup offensive linemen.
Another scenario to consider is rookie offensive lineman Cameron Fleming could be active, as the team had a lot of success in the last meeting with the Colts with Fleming serving as an extra offensive lineman. The Patriots ran for a total of 257 yards in the game.
Stork has been very important to the offensive line after taking over at center in Week 4. As noted last week, when the Patriots had a starting offensive line of Nate Solder, Connolly, Stork, Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer, they allowed only four sacks in the regular season, compared to 17 with any other combination. Tom Brady also a QB rating almost 14 points higher.
|Josh McDaniels won’t be afraid to turn to his bag of tricks again if time is right||01.12.15 at 11:45 pm ET|
Will Josh McDaniels turn to his bag of tricks again Sunday in the AFC championship?
Will he even be tempted to run the double-pass again? The answer to both is a definite maybe.
The Patriots offensive coordinator said Monday during his conference call with coordinators that he’s willing to try anything if the right look presents itself.
After the game, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola said they had been working on the double pass play all year long. Does McDaniels have a series of those plays in practice and want to break out in the right situation?
“We’ve all seen trick plays or whatever you want to call them, gadget,” McDaniels said. “We have probably no longer [a] list of those here than anybody else does, and I think you just look for I would say the potential of a situation to present itself that may give you an opportunity to have success with one of them.
“I don’t think there’s a guarantee on any of them. We’ve certainly called them before here, and maybe it wasn’t a great defense to try it against, or the defense had a great call on at the same time and it happens not to work.”
Once a trick play gets called and used, would McDaniels be tempted to go back to it?
“Like everything else you do on offense, you practice that play ‘ if it’s a run, a pass, a screen, a gadget, a red zone play ‘ enough to where you feel like your players have confidence in what they’re being asked to do to give them the best chance to go out and do it successfully,” McDaniels said. “And then if you feel like that, it’s just a matter of trying to match it up against a defense, a call or a situation where you feel like you’ll have an opportunity to get it to work. Like I said, I think we all have them. It’s just a matter of when you call them, and if you can get it executed, and the guys did a great job the other night.
|Patriots coaches preparing for different Colts team than one faced in blowout win last meeting||at 4:35 pm ET|
After a slow start to the game, the Patriots blew out the Colts, 42-20, in Indianapolis on Nov. 16 where they rushed for 246 yards on the ground.
Some may think because of that game the Patriots will be able to walk over the Colts this coming Sunday in the AFC championship game, but that simply isn’t the case according to the Patriots coaches, who say a lot has changed with the Colts’ team.
The Colts seemingly used that game to lift their play for the rest of the season, as they have gone 7-1 in games since the blowout loss, including two playoff wins. Their defense has especially picked up its play of late, allowing 13 points or less in their last three games.
“I think they’ve improved in every area,” coach Bill Belichick said on Monday’s conference call. “[They’ve] gotten more production in their running game with the backs and [Donte] Moncrief’s become more a part of the passing game. They’ve gotten a lot of production out of the tight ends, offensive line, even though they’ve had a couple moving parts in there, I think they’re playing well. Defensively I think getting [Arthur] Jones back has definitely helped them. They’re playing just good team defense.
“They’ve got [Josh] Cribbs in the return game, so he gives them an explosive player there. I think they’re good in all three phases of the game. Obviously they’ve got a great kicker. They’ve improved the return game; excellent punter and kickoff guys. They do a good job on field position and those areas, so they’ve improved their return game and their overall balance offensively. They’re playing well on defense.”
Jonas Gray ran for 201 yards and four touchdowns in that Nov. 16 meeting, but the Colts were without one of their best defensive players in Jones — Chandler Jones’ brother. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels knows they are an improved team or else they wouldn’t be in the AFC championship.
“Each team that’s playing at this time of the year is, to me, they’re getting better as the season goes on and improving as a football team, and I see no difference with this group on defense,” said McDaniels. “A lot of times, it doesn’t require a dramatic shift in philosophy or scheme or players to improve. Sometimes it takes consistency and staying with it and just working at it and at times getting some people back healthy to really arrive at what you hope you could be. … Like I said before, I would imagine that this group is playing the way they want to play, and we’re going to have to play our best football game of the year against them on Sunday night.”
|Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘I think [Patriots] win this matchup handily’||01.09.15 at 1:05 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to talk about pressing issues in the NFL as well as his take on the Patriots’ upcoming game against the Ravens. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Unlike many people who have expressed their concerns with Saturday’s matchup, Schefter feels strongly that the Patriots have more than a decent chance to advance to the AFC championship game, even stressing how he thought New England would win “handily.”
“Everybody is talking about how this is the matchup that New England didn’t want, this is a nightmare play,” he said. “They get to play the team that has beaten them two of the last three, I mean, I could just hear this playing in the organization, you know the message that’s been delivered all week long. ‘Oh, nobody’s giving us a chance ’cause it’s Baltimore, this is a team that we should fear, this is the team that could beat us.’ I think it’s just the opposite.
“I think this sets up great for New England,” Schefter continued. “This is the kind of matchup that they win handily. I don’t know whether that means by 10, 20, 30, I have no idea, whatever it is … I think they win this matchup handily.”
Schefter also pointed out that the Ravens team on everyone’s mind from years past is not the same Ravens team playing in Foxboro on Saturday afternoon and that this Patriots team is different from the ones that lost the last two of three playoff games against Baltimore.
“The ones that lost, they didn’t have [Darrelle] Revis and [Brandon] Browner, they didn’t have [Rob] Gronkowski when they lost those two games,” he said. “Last year, Week 16, Baltimore needed to win a home game in Baltimore to get to the playoffs. New England deactivated Nate Solder to rest him, Rob Gronkowski was on IR, and New England, with nothing to play for, went into Baltimore and won 41-7. Forty-one to 7. So I think that New England is just feeding off this idea that this is a nightmare matchup for the Patriots. We’ll see if it is.”
|What Antonio Brown might teach Josh McDaniels, Patriots about Ravens’ approach to Rob Gronkowski||01.05.15 at 9:32 pm ET|
With interviews with the Falcons and 49ers out of the way, Josh McDaniels said Monday that his complete focus now is on the Ravens in the AFC divisional round this Saturday. That’s a good thing because after watching the Ravens defense handle Steelers’ wideout Antonio Brown over the weekend, he knows that he’ll need his whole bag of tricks to make sure they don’t do the same thing to Rob Gronkowski.
“They seem to do a good job each week of forcing the offense to do some things that maybe the offense didn’t want to do,” said McDaniels on a conference call Monday. “They have the ability to try to take somebody out of the game with different things that they can do in their scheme. They also have good players that they can just cover and match up with the guys they have without doing anything special.”
Cornerback Ladarius Webb was asked to spot Brown Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger targeted the NFL’s leading receiver 14 times, connected just nine times for 117 yards. Take out the 44-yarder in the second half and that’s eight catches for 73 yards. Webb also kept Brown out of the end zone.
“They’ve played a lot of good players this year, and really they don’t do a lot of exotic things to take them out of the game,” McDaniels said. “They play good team defense. It’s one of the best units in the league for a reason. They’re well coached, as I mentioned before. They play hard. It’s 11 guys playing the same call and executing their assignment on every snap, which makes this a tremendous challenge for us.”
McDaniels will also being going up against old friend Dean Pees, the defensive coordinator in Baltimore who held the same job in New England for four years (2006-09).
“I don’t know how much of an advantage it is from one year to the next because Dean is obviously a very good coach,” McDaniels said. “This unit we’re playing is very talented. But they don’t really stay the same in terms of the things that they use or do in each game that we’ve played them.”
|Josh McDaniels on weekend head coaching interviews: ‘I am back to focusing on the next task at hand for us’||at 11:09 am ET|
Over the weekend Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reportedly interviewed for the open head coaching jobs with the Falcons and 49ers in New England. On a conference call Monday morning, McDaniels said he has already moved on from those and is entirely focused on the Ravens and this upcoming Saturday’s divisional round game at Gillette Stadium.
“They were fine,” said McDaniels. “This part of the process always — obviously privileged that anyone wants to speak to you about anything like that. At this point I have moved on and hopefully I can help us put together a great plan for our guys heading into this week.”
The offensive coordinator was later asked a follow up question to his comments and whether or not he removed his name from consideration like he did with the Browns last season. McDaniels said the meetings were just “initial meetings” and nothing went any further than that as of now.
“Honestly, it was just an initial meeting with them and it hasn’t really gone any further in either direction, so again, I am back to focusing on the next task at hand for us, which is the Ravens, and I am sure they’ll do what they need to do on their end,” said McDaniels. “I am sure those things will take care of themselves in the future.”
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