FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It has been six seasons since Josh McDaniels returned as New England Patriots offensive coordinator, and in his world that is the perfect number.
Almost everything McDaniels does is designed to help the Patriots score six points. Many good things have happened in sixes in his tenure, and now from a personal perspective, he is well positioned to score with a second stint as an NFL head coach, one that he's long desired but has been selective in pursuing.
McDaniels, whose work helping to develop Jimmy Garoppolo has only further strengthened his candidacy, has interviews set up with the Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants and Chicago Bears this week, and there’s always the possibility of something else popping onto the radar.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who as a player has worked more closely with McDaniels than anyone else in his career, has prepared himself for the possibility that he could go.
“Josh has had some opportunities, and anytime you are a great coach like him, you are going to get them,” Brady said a few weeks ago on sports radio WEEI. “It’s just a matter of time for Josh to get that opportunity, and he certainly deserves it. No one works harder than him, or is more prepared.
“Josh is a phenomenal coach. I am lucky to be with him for all these years and I always hope we’re together. But there are also great opportunities for him at some point down the road. Josh should be sought after because I think he’s the best coordinator in football.”
The past six years McDaniels has spent in New England are significant because they helped him accomplish multiple goals. First, it provided stability after his first head-coaching stint in Denver (2009-2010, 11-17 record) and one season as offensive coordinator with the Rams (2011). That extended to his family.
It also gave him more time to review things he would do differently were he ever given another chance to be a head coach. In September of 2016, Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report profiled McDaniels and detailed the Excel file on his laptop titled “lessonslearned.xls.”
McDaniels has had six years to shape the contents of that file, which is an eternity in the NFL, and the piece is timely to revisit this week as the interview process begins again. Much like the offense he directs in New England, things will soon be moving fast.
And the idea that it could result in his Patriots tenure ending after six years is symmetry.