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Josh McDaniels can’t wait for ’01 Patriots reunion this weekend, when he learned what winning in NFL meant 11.29.16 at 12:45 pm ET
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With the Patriots' hot start, Josh McDaniels has every reason to smile. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

With the Patriots’ hot start, Josh McDaniels has every reason to smile. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Timing in life can be everything, especially if you’re in the NFL.

To Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, it was just about perfect in 2001.

That was his first year in the NFL after graduating John Carroll University in 1998, coaching for a year under Nick Saban at Michigan State in 1999 and selling plastics in Cleveland in 2000.

Bill Belichick hired him as a personnel assistant in 2001 and he got the best understudy job in the football world. That season ended with the Patriots shocking the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI and began one of the greatest dynasties in modern NFL history. This week, with the transplanted Rams back in Foxboro for just the second time since that epic meeting in New Orleans, the Patriots will commemorate their first title with a 15th anniversary reunion of the ’01 team at Gillette Stadium.

“That was my first year. The thing I remember the most is that year was one of the greatest examples of just, team, and being able to do what you need to do to try to win each week,” McDaniels recalled Tuesday in a conference call. “It didn’t matter how, didn’t matter who got the credit. Didn’t seem like anybody cared what they were asked to do just as long as everybody did their job.

“What a great way to come and learn that first year from a lot of really coaches, good people in the personnel department. It taught me a whole lot about how this league works, how our organization runs, the discipline and detail that it requires to be good on a week-to-week basis and the commitment it takes to really try to compete at a championship level.”

McDaniels was promoted to a defensive coaching assistant in 2002 and worked with the defensive backs in 2003. In 2004, he became the team’s quarterbacks coach. McDaniels has been with the Patriots for all four of their Super Bowl championships.

After Charlie Weis left after the 2004 season, McDaniels started calling plays and then officially became the offensive coordinator in 2006. With Tom Brady at the helm, McDaniels called plays for one of the most prolific offenses in modern pro history, totaling 75 touchdowns in the 16-0 regular season of 2007. McDaniels helped Matt Cassel execute the offense in ’08 and lead the Patriots to an 11-5 mark before getting hired as Denver’s head coach in 2009. He left the Rams, ironically enough, in the middle of New England’s 2011 run to Super Bowl XLVI, and has been the offensive coordinator ever since the 2012 season.

“It’ll be great to see a lot of the guys that are coming back,” McDaniels said. “I look forward to doing that. And really looking forward to getting started with our preparation for this week’s game with our players [Wednesday].”

There were reports two weeks ago that McDaniels would turn down head coaching jobs to wait on New England’s to eventually open up, something McDaniels later denied, adding he would love to get another head coaching shot down the road.

Read More: Josh McDaniels, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams
Bill Belichick endorses Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia as head coaching candidates 11.22.16 at 12:27 pm ET
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Bill Belichick believes Josh McDaniels should be on any future head coaching list. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Bill Belichick believes Josh McDaniels should be on any future head coaching list. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Over the weekend, Pro Football Talk released some names on the preliminary NFL Career Development Advisory Panel’s list for recommended candidates for coaching and general manager vacancies this offseason.

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was on the list, but offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was not.

(Click here for more on that.)

On Tuesday’s conference call, Bill Belichick said he had heard McDaniels wasn’t on the list and also director of player personnel Nick Caserio wasn’t on the GM list.

The coach said any list without including all three current members of the Patriots staff would be “incomplete.”

“Well, I didn’t see or hear the report firsthand, so I’ll take what you described as being accurate,” Belichick said. “Yeah, the comment that I would have would be number one – I think that both Josh [McDaniels] and Matt [Patricia], so Matt who is on the list and I guess Josh who isn’t, if that’s right – I think both Josh and Matt are great coaches. [They] should absolutely be on any head coaching list. I can’t imagine that there are many other coaches that could present a resume equal or comparable to theirs. They’ve done a great job here for a sustained period of time so a great track record. I think, I personally think, that a list of head coaching candidates that didn’t include them would be incomplete.

“A similar comment on the general manager thing with Nick [Caserio], which I don’t know if he was or wasn’t included. I think somebody told me that he wasn’t included, so I would have the same comment for him. He does a tremendous job as well. I can’t imagine any list not having those three people.”

The Career Development Advisory Panel consists of Tony Dungy, Charley Casserly, Carl Peterson, Bill Polian, Jimmy Raye Sr., James “Shack” Harris, Ernie Accorsi, Dick Daniels, and John Madden. Their list will be finalized on December 8 and distributed to teams on December 10.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, matt patricia, Nick Caserio
Josh McDaniels calls report of him planning on succeeding Bill Belichick ‘unfounded’ at 11:52 am ET
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Josh McDaniels called the report he's thinking of succeeding Bill Belichick "unfounded." (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Josh McDaniels called the report he’s thinking of succeeding Bill Belichick “unfounded.” (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

For the past several years there has been a lot of discussion about Josh McDaniels and potentially becoming a head coach for a second time.

It came up again this past weekend when there was a report McDaniels’ thinking is he wants to succeed Bill Belichick as coach of the Patriots.

McDaniels is aware of the report and called it “unfounded.”

“I’m aware of the report and I’ll try and clear that up. Look, I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I definitely would love to be a head coach again,” McDaniels said on Tuesday’s conference call. “There’s only 32 of those in the world. Those are opportunities that don’t come along very often and if you would ever to be so fortunate and blessed to have another opportunity to do it, and for myself it would be a second time, it would be an opportunity that I would look forward to.

“It would have to be at the right place, the right time, which is what I’ve always said. I try to make good decisions with what is best for my family and myself and again, somebody would have to offer that opportunity, which you’re lucky if you get that. That’s my mindset. And anything that was reported about my thinking or my plans, things that I want to do the other day, I saw that and those things I would say are unfounded.

“But, that being said, that’s all I’ll say about it. I love being here and I am excited to get to work on the Jets and look forward to practicing tomorrow with our guys.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels,
Report: Josh McDaniels ‘intent’ on staying with Patriots until Bill Belichick retires 11.20.16 at 9:57 pm ET
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Josh McDaniels reportedly could stay with the Patriots until Bill Belichick retires. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Josh McDaniels reportedly could stay with the Patriots until Bill Belichick retires. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

For the past several years, Josh McDaniels’ name has been mentioned when it comes to head coaching vacancies.

Perhaps, that won’t happen this year.

According to Pro Football Talk, the NFL’s Career Development Advisory Panel’s preliminary list for head coaches did not include McDaniels.

Candidates on the list included Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.

The panels list will be finalized on December 8 and distributed to teams on December 10.

As for McDaniels not being on the list, the report says “the thinking is that he’s intent on staying at New England until coach Bill Belichick retires.” By that thinking, McDaniels would then become the next coach of the team.

McDaniels is 40 years old and has been with the Patriots for a second time as offensive coordinator since 2012. The current offensive coordinator left the Patriots to be the Broncos head coach from 2009-10, before being the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Josh McDaniels explains how the Patriots and Tom Brady benefit from ‘very unselfish’ receiving corps 11.16.16 at 9:15 am ET
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Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA;  New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett (88) evades Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker K.J. Wright (50) during the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium.  The Seattle Seahawks won 31-24.  Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Martellus Bennett runs after making one of his seven catches Sunday night against Seattle. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)

One of the characteristics that makes the Patriots’ passing game truly unique is the unselfish nature of its receivers.

In today’s NFL, much is made of the elite receiver that needs to get his hands on as many passes as possible from the quarterback. It’s been that way for the last two decades where high maintenance receivers have been the norm.

But not on the Patriots. It’s starts at the top with the team’s most valuable receiver in Rob Gronkowski and works its way down from there. Not only is Gronkowski unselfish but those behind him on the stat sheet are more than ready to step up. Julian Edelman and Martellus Bennett are two obvious targets. But it goes deeper than that. On Sunday night, Bennett was targeted seven times and caught seven passes. Edelman also caught seven passes on nine targets. James White was targeted four times and caught four passes.

No one has been more patient than Bennett. There have been several games this season (Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Houston) where he was not a big part of the passing game, asked instead to stay at home and block. Of course, his patience has been rewarded with huge games against the Dolphins (114 yards), Bills (109 yards Oct. 2), Browns (3 TDs) and Sunday night against Seattle (102 yards).

“I think we have a really unselfish group of players,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “Look, we have a lot of good players that they come to work every day and put in a lot of hard work and preparation, prepare themselves mentally and physically to play each week. Certainly you can’t get the ball to more than one player on each play and we try to just do the right thing on every play, whatever that might be. So sometimes we don’t really go into the game plan and tell everybody ‘Hey, it’s going to be a big week for this guy or that guy or what have you. And you guys are going to wait until next week.’

“Everybody has an opportunity to have a lot of opportunities in the game. It’s just a matter of circumstances, the situation, what does the other team choose to do. Sometimes they try to take away a specific player and force the ball somewhere else. We’re very confident that if that happens that our guys are going to be able to make plays. I think all of our guys are unselfish. They have a great attitude. They work hard and know their role in the game plan each week and I think they’re all patient and continue to work during the course of the game, even if it’s gone two-three series without necessarily touching the ball.

“They know that that could change in a hurry. Our quarterback does a great job of trying to read the defense, understand our scheme and where the ball needs to go and then try to get it to the right person. I’ve always felt like our group has been a group that doesn’t really care statistically who does ‘this’ or ‘that.’ They just worry about making sure that we do our job offensively to score as many points, take care of the football and try to get control of the game as much we can, so really a great group to coach.

Marty [Martellus Bennett] and Julian [Edelman] are certainly a big part of that but we have a lot of guys that do good things with the ball in their hands and a lot of guys that are blocking for them to allow them to make those plays. [They’re] a very unselfish group. [I’m] very happy and privileged to be a part of it and I look forward to getting ready for San Francisco this week.

Read More: Josh McDaniels, Julian Edelman, Martellus Bennett, New England Patriots
Rodney Harrison: Patriots coaches ‘outsmarted’ themselves Sunday against Seahawks 11.15.16 at 3:02 pm ET
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Rodney Harrison

Rodney Harrison

Rodney Harrison had a few issues with the way his old team went about its’ business on Sunday night.

Speaking at an NBC Football Media Luncheon in New York City on Monday, Harrison called the Patriots “the best team in the league,” but was still left scratching his head over some of the decisions made by Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia in the loss to the Seahawks.

“I’m like, ‘Why are they outsmarting themselves?’” Harrison said. “We talked all week about the game plan. It’s simple. Spread them out, put the tight ends out wide, put the little guys in the middle. You know what they play; they play zone, and just pick them apart.

“I was completely surprised that Josh McDaniels just outsmarted himself. They came out and wanted to run the ball. I’m getting text messages like ‘Why are they doing something that they typically don’t do?'”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Josh McDaniels, matt patricia, Rodney Harrison
Bill Belichick ‘definitely’ will look at Super Bowl XLIX film vs. Seahawks to plan for this week 11.07.16 at 12:23 pm ET
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Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots strong safety Malcolm Butler (21) intercepts a pass intended for Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Ricardo Lockette (83) in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Malcolm Butler steps in front of Ricardo Lockette to seal Super Bowl XLIX win. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports)

The Patriots got more than just a Super Bowl ring and their fourth Vince Lombardi trophy when they beat Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. They got valuable and useful game film for their game against the Seahawks this Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

“We’ll definitely take a look at it,” Bill Belichick said Monday morning in his conference call with reporters. “Again, there’s a lot of carryover, especially on their defense, from many of the players that we played against. But there’s also carryover on offense, certainly some of the key players, the quarterback, receivers and in the kicking game, with the specialists. There’s a decent amount of carryover.”

Linebackers Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright played in that game as did Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Jeremy Lane in the secondary. On offense, in addition to quarterback Russell Wilson, receivers Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse played in Glendale against the Patriots.

“I would say that their scheme, what they do, hasn’t changed dramatically. Ours probably hasn’t changed dramatically, either. We’ve added a couple of different players. Fundamentally, we do a lot of the same things. I think there’s definitely some relevance to that game. I’m sure they’ll look at it. We’ve certainly seen it. Yeah, I think it’s relevant.

“Again, there’s been a lot of football played since then. I think it’s just one piece in puzzle. I don’t think it’s the whole puzzle.”

The game will long be remembered for Malcolm Butler saving the game when he stepped in front of Ricardo Lockette at the Patriots goal line and saved the game in the final minute. But defensive coordinator Matt Patricia said Monday he won’t be spending the week going down memory lane about what transpired in the closing moments.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Josh McDaniels, Malcolm Butler, matt patricia, New England Patriots
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