So much for the New England Patriots losing both coordinators in one off-season.
So much for the removing of a key block in the Patriots’ rock-solid foundation.
Yes, yes, it’s Andrew Luck and Indianapolis Colts fans and ownership who should be most disappointed — even outraged! — at McDaniels’ decision to reverse course so late in the process and not become their head coach.
But Dolphins fans should be disappointed, too.
Because love McDaniels or hate McDaniels, respect his decision or loathe it, he’s a really good offensive coordinator.
And one guy you know is a bit happier today is Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
And since when have Dolphins fans wanted to see Brady happy?
OK, perhaps if you dislike Jay Ajayi that much. But were you really rooting for Brady over Ajayi?
It’s hard to say if McDaniels has some sort of verbal promise to succeed Bill Belichick when he steps aside (that will, like, eventually happen, right?) So it’s hard to know the longest-term impact this decision may have on the Miami franchise.
What if McDaniels takes all those things he learned from Belichick and uses them against Miami as Patriots coach from 2020-2038?
Will the Dolphins still be looking for a tight end, a guard and — their next Dan Marino — in 2038?
And will Adam Gase be competing with his good friend McDaniels for many or all of those years?
It turns out that Gase learned many of his approaches to coaching and play-calling from McDaniels, when they worked together in Denver, and McDaniels was the head coach. How do we know?
“I know offensively, I learned probably the majority of the things that I lean on, from him,” Gase said prior to a meeting with the Patriots last season.
So, there you have it.
It would have been interesting to see Gase take on the Colts and McDaniels in a regular-season road game in 2018.
But now Gase and the Dolphins have to face McDaniels and Brady twice in 2018. And twice in 2019. And twice…
We think. Who knows when this will all end?
Gase is very, very candid (we love that about him) when it comes to effusive praise for McDaniels. And the statistics tell the story.
The Patriots offense has been more productive under McDaniels than it was under legendary (I guess) offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
It is true that Weis helped guide the Patriots to 3 Super Bowl wins in 3 Super Bowl appearances.
It is also true that McDaniels has only helped guide the Patriots to 2 Super Bowl wins in 4 Super Bowl appearances.
But McDaniels is 12-6 against the Dolphins as a play-caller and Weis, strangely, was only 6-6, even losing twice to Miami during Super Bowl-winning seasons.
And McDaniels’ offenses have been better than Weis’ when compared to NFL peers in the areas of points per game and yards per game.
The average McDaniels offense finishes 3rd in the NFL in points and 5th in the NFL in yards.
The average Weis offense finished 11th in the NFL in points and 16th in the NFL in yards.
Some will note that the Patriots, Belichick and Weis weren’t good in 2000, and had Drew Bledsoe as quarterback in Belichick’s only losing season. But McDaniels made no excuses, and won, with Matt Cassel in 2008.
We can’t all have Tom Brady all the time. And he can’t possibly play forever, can he?
Back to Gase and McDaniels.
Gase says McDaniels is good because he:
- Identifies mismatches
- Moves players around the field to create constant defensive adjustment
- Shows a formation he’s never used and then never even goes back to it
- Opens each game with varied formations and tempos
- Maximizes every advantage Tom Brady gives the team
Brady gives the Patriots an advantage? Yes, we suppose.
“They have good players; but at the same time, he puts those guys in really good position,” Gase said of McDaniels last season.
There are many who wonder how long Belichick can last and how long Brady can stay so good and if the reported friction between Brady and Belichick and ownership could soon lead to this dynasty crumbling under the weight of all those Super Bowl trophies.
Yes, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is leaving. Yes, Rob Gronkowski appears to be considering retirement.
But it can’t be all that bad in the New England football offices.
After all, Josh McDaniels all but had his bags packed, and decided to stay.
In fact, he decided he couldn’t leave.