Patriots may bring back another failed HC if Bill Belichick stays

The New England Patriots may be considering rehiring Josh McDaniels, a former member of their coaching staff, if they decide to keep Bill Belichick as the head coach. According to a report from The Athletic, this move is part of a plan to improve the team’s on-field performance.

Belichick has already had a meeting with team owner Robert Kraft to discuss the franchise’s direction, and another meeting is expected to take place later in the week. Despite rumors that Belichick may be considering retirement, he has been conducting business as usual and has not shown any signs of being done with coaching. However, during his end-of-season press conference, Belichick hinted that he may be willing to make some concessions, including giving up some personnel control.

Kraft reportedly leaned towards parting ways with Belichick in December, but a well-thought-out plan by the coach may save his job. Both Belichick and Kraft want him to break Don Shula’s all-time coaching wins record with the Patriots before eventually retiring. McDaniels, who is a longtime friend of Belichick and a favorite of Kraft, may be brought back to help achieve this goal.

However, bringing back McDaniels would be a continuation of the trend of hiring former Belichick disciples, which has not yielded great results for the team. Since the departure of Tom Brady, the Patriots have had a record of 29-38, with zero playoff wins. They have brought in several former head coaches, including Joe Judge, Matt Patricia, and Bill O’Brien, to coach the offense, but these moves have not been successful.

McDaniels, who left New England for head coaching positions twice, had a combined record of 20-33 over four seasons. He returned to the Patriots after his tenure in Denver and may do the same after his time in Las Vegas.

During his time with the Patriots, McDaniels was the most successful member of Belichick’s coaching tree. In 12 non-consecutive years as the offensive coordinator, the team won three Super Bowls and consistently had a top-five offense.

However, the recycling of Belichick disciples has not worked out well for the team. McDaniels had some success with rookie quarterback Mac Jones in 2021, but when he left, the efforts of Judge and Patricia undid that progress. O’Brien’s experience at Alabama was supposed to help Jones, but instead, the quarterback struggled and was eventually benched.

In his time with the Raiders, McDaniels did not lead a strong offense either. Despite having talented players like Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs, the team finished 15th and 27th in offensive DVOA in 2022 and 2023, respectively. The decision to reunite McDaniels with former Patriot Jimmy Garoppolo also did not work out, as Garoppolo was benched for a rookie quarterback.

Given the lack of success with former Belichick disciples and the need for a fresh start, the Patriots should not trust this coaching staff to develop another quarterback. The team has had two bottom-10 offenses and a combined record of 12-22 over the past two years. This upcoming opportunity to have a top-three draft pick is rare for New England, and it should be used to wipe the slate clean and move away from old habits.

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