Josh McDaniels: With St. Louis Rams Talks Broken Down, Who Will Target the OC?
Josh McDaniels has had a whirlwind 24 months. It started with him being named the Denver Broncos' head coach in January, 2009. He was New England's offensive coordinator for the previous three years and was the youngest head coach in the league at the time of his hiring.
From the beginning, McDaniels seemed to lose a firm grip on the franchise. Reports came out that he was trying to acquire then-New England quarterback Matt Cassel to be the starting quarterback for the Broncos. The problem was that they had just drafted Jay Cutler three years ago. Cutler was offended, but McDaniels didn't seem to care and made no attempt to smooth things over.
Eventually the team traded Cutler to Chicago for Kyle Orton and draft picks. It was a disastrous way to start the Josh McDaniels-era in Denver. People didn't have high hopes for the team that season.
However, the Broncos would shock the football world in 2009 by starting out 6-0. McDaniels looked like a genius and Denver looked dangerous. Sadly, that was as good as things would get for him in Denver.
After that 6-0 start, the Broncos finished 2-8 and missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. To make matters worse, the team's pro bowl receiver Brandon Marshall wanted out. He was traded to Miami in April 2010.
The 2010 season didn't get any better. The team was a disaster from the start and after a 3-9 start to the season, McDaniels was fired.
Word came out today that McDaniels' negotiations to become the St. Louis Rams' offensive coordinator hit a snag, reportedly due to money. So where does this leave him?
Where else can McDaniels possibly go that he hasn't burned some bridge with?
Here is a list of 10 teams that could approach the former head coach to become their next offensive coordinator.
Buffalo might have finally found their next quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick. He threw for exactly 3000 yards and 23 touchdowns this season. He did that while playing in only 13 games. The Bills were competitive in a lot of the games that they lost this season.
This team looked like they were close to something in 2010, they just need some more experience and a little more coaching.
Aside from Fitzpatrick, there is talent to be found on the Bills' roster. CJ Spiller didn’t live up to expectations in his rookie year, but he can be a force with some more experience. Steve Johnson and Lee Evans are two very good receivers on the outside.
Plus, an added bonus is that McDaniels knows New England. He understands their offense and what they want to do. He can help Buffalo get into the head of Tom Brady and the Patriots offense.
The Cleveland Browns could actually be building something positive. They have a really good offensive line and a terrific running back in Peyton Hillis. They have some talent at the wide receiver position with Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi. They need to develop a quarterback, something they haven’t done since they re-entered the league in 1999.
Colt McCoy was more of a game manager in 2010 than an actual playmaking quarterback. Working with Josh McDaniels could open up his game next year and he can be an effective player.
There were times last year when McCoy looked pretty good. He needs to work with someone who understands the quarterback position. The new Browns head coach Pat Shurmur has a track record in developing quarterbacks. Another mind on the staff could only make things go quicker, right?
Al Davis just hired Hue Jackson to be the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Now, Jackson will be on the lookout for an offensive coordinator. There is some talent on the Raiders offense, as evidenced by the fact they finished 10th in the NFL in total offense this year.
They need to make the offense more efficient. Often times, the team would pile up a lot of yards, but couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. A new offensive scheme led by Josh McDaniels could be the missing piece to the Raiders' long, convoluted puzzle.
It remains to be seen if Jason Campbell, or Bruce Gradkowski for that matter, is the future at the quarterback position for this team. McDaniels' style of play would be a fit for the kind of offense that Davis wants the Raiders to have, fast-paced and wide open.
Jeff Fisher has been coaching the Titans for 134 years now and the offense has never been his strong suit. This team has won with defense and a timely offense. Even when Steve McNair won the MVP award in 2003, the offense wasn’t very dynamic.
Now the offense relies solely on Chris Johnson. As good as he is, you can’t win in this league with one player on offense. The team will need to upgrade the quarterback position at some point, since the Vince Young experiment has failed.
If the team brings in McDaniels the same year that they are able to bring in a young quarterback, the two could form a strong bond. That would make the coach-quarterback relationship much more comfortable for both guys and the results could be seen immediately.
The Bengals have the talent on offense to succeed, but for some reason they have failed to live up to that potential for a long time. Carson Palmer has the skills to be great, but he hasn’t been the same guy since that knee injury in the 2005 playoffs.
Marvin Lewis is returning as head coach for another tour of duty and he will need to improve the offense if this team wants to get back to the playoffs.
Bringing in Josh McDaniels could be a nice way to get this offense to fulfill the potential that they clearly have. Besides Palmer, Chad Ochocinco is one of the most talented receivers in the league (though he could be traded, depending on what happens with the CBA). Cedric Benson ran for 1200 yards in 2009.
Don’t underestimate the Bengals' offensive prowess, especially if they are able to upgrade their offensive coordinator with someone like McDaniels.
Ron Rivera needs to make some splashes with his coaches because the talent on the team won’t get better right away. The Panthers have two quarterbacks on the roster that need some help to move forward.
Josh McDaniels is probably a good guy to bring in for this offense. They have two young quarterbacks in Jimmy Clausen and Matt Moore and they have to learn if they can play or not. He knows how to work with quarterbacks, even if he is only brought in as a quarterback’s coach, that would be a good move for this franchise.
He teaches quarterbacks how to play and he makes the offense work around them. He doesn’t overwhelm them with terminology and scheme. He works to the strengths of his players.
After Atlanta’s crushing defeat to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round, two things were made abundantly clear. First, this team needs a lot of help in the secondary. Second, their offensive scheme is not conducive to long-term success.
They have a ton of talent on offense, but they are a mediocre offensive team. Matt Ryan is one of the best young quarterbacks in football, but his talents haven’t been completely unleashed because the offense is so conservative.
Josh McDaniels knows how to coach offense. For this Falcons team, hiring him to run their offense could be a huge boost. They will not be inhibited by anything. He will take chances and make Matt Ryan an even better quarterback than he has been in his first four years.
Darrell Bevell is still the Vikings offensive coordinator, a position that he has held since 2006. However, what’s to stop McDaniels from taking an assistant head coaching position on Leslie Frazier’s staff and having some input?
McDaniels knows how to coach quarterbacks. He has worked with Tom Brady. He made Matt Cassel into a pro bowler after he was thrust into a starting role due to Brady’s injury in 2008. Under his guidance, Kyle Orton had a really good year for a bad Denver team in 2010.
He might not get the official offensive coordinator position, but he could help this franchise out with whomever their next quarterback will be.
Jerry Jones isn’t afraid to take a chance on anyone. Jason Garrett got the Cowboys head coaching job based partly on his performance as their interim coach, but also because he won’t get in Jerry’s way.
Josh McDaniels could help groom Tony Romo after the success that he had with Tom Brady and Matt Cassel.
There’s no doubt that McDaniels has the pedigree that Jones loves in his coaches. Plus, money won’t be any sort of issue with the Cowboys. Jerry Jones will spend whatever he has to if he thinks it will make the franchise a championship contender.
Kansas City Chiefs
This would seem to be the ideal fit for Josh McDaniels. Whether it’s the right fit for Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is the question.
Charlie Weis, who was the Chiefs offensive coordinator this past year, took a job at the University of Florida. There have been a lot of reports about why he left, one of the reasons is because he would often clash with Haley about how the offense was run.
McDaniels would fit right in to the Chiefs organization as it’s presently constructed. He loves Matt Cassel as a quarterback. The team is being run by Scott Pioli, whom McDaniels worked with in New England.
Everything about the Chiefs and McDaniels makes too much sense for it not to happen. It’s just a matter of how much offensive control Haley will give to McDaniels.
Plus, it doesn’t help that McDaniels and Haley have had issues in the past.