No NFL team should hire Josh McDaniels, especially the Falcons

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It is that time of the year again where Josh McDaniels fields questions about vacant head coaching jobs. The New England offensive coordinator leaving is a guaranteed rumor every NFL offseason. McDaniels interviewed with the Browns before they eventually hired Kevin Stefanski last year and with the Packers before they hired Matt LaFleur in 2019.

Last Tuesday, in an interview with SportsRadio 93.7 WEEI-FM, McDaniels stated how adamant he is to become a head coach again. “Absolutely. I definitely want to do that,” McDaniels said, via Ryan Hannable of “I’d love to have that opportunity if it presents itself.” 

McDaniels went 11-17 as the Broncos head coach in 2009-2010 and was fired during his second season after an investigation revealed he did not know of the illegal recording of an opponent’s practice.

Kristopher Shrader already wrote an in-depth piece on McDaniels as a head coaching prospect. Instead, we will revisit what happened with Indianapolis and why he does not deserve a third chance. As I mentioned before, McDaniels led the Broncos in 2009 and half of 2010. Eight years later, he accepted the Colts’ head-coaching job in 2018 before ultimately deciding to remain in New England.

Coming off the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles, McDaniels was named the next head coach of Indianapolis Colts. Not only did McDaniels accept the position from a long-time friend — Colts’ General Manager Chris Ballard — but there was also a press conference scheduled to present the franchise’s new head coach. However, the evening before the press conference was set to take place, McDaniels backed out of his spoken deal with the Colts and opted to stay with the New England Patriots as their offensive coordinator.

There are many rumors about why the Patriot’s OC decided to stay in New England. But simply put, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick met with McDaniels on his way to clean out his office in Foxboro two days after the Super Bowl and convinced him to stay.

From a Peter King article with Sports Illustrated, “A source close to the story said late Tuesday night that, as part of his agreement to stay in New England, McDaniels got no written assurance that he will succeed the 65-year-old Belichick when he walks away from the job.” That was from 2018 when the wounds were still fresh. It was so fresh, it sparked unusual fire from an otherwise reserved individual in Tony Dungy. Dungy let his opinion be known when the news broke, and I completely agree with him.

Last January, the MMQB’s Albert Breer shared exactly why Josh McDaniels decided to spurn the Colts. His decision to return to New England had to do with some of the football operation logistics that weren’t completely figured out with Indianapolis.

“It had everything to do with stuff that fans don’t care about,” Breer told The Ross Tucker Football Podcast. “How is strength and conditioning going to set up? Who does medical report to? How does video work? It was all these structural things that, as much work, that (Chris) Ballard and Josh (McDaniels) had done and said ‘okay, this is how we are going to set it up,” somehow, they didn’t get around to doing all of that. And Ballard had come from a place and places where the general manager set that up, and Josh had come from a place where the coach had power over all of that. That’s where it sort of fell apart.”

McDaniels is exactly like his mentor, Bill Belichick. McDaniels wanted, and probably still wants, clarification on every factor of every football operation. This is something to overlook, especially for someone as offensively creative as McDaniels is, but it is not someone I am interested in for the Falcons.

The Falcons have an entire culture to salvage. Going 2-8 in games that ended within one possession is clearly a stigma that Atlanta just cannot win close ones. Teams have to grow and learn together how to win those types of thrilling contests. The leadership of the head coach and general manager is the root of the problem. McDaniels may have the mental fortitude to lead an NFL team, but he does not have the integrity to lead an organization to a Super Bowl. The Falcons need to invest in the next ten years, not the immediate future. Along with the other teams that have head coaching vacancies, they would be wise to distance themselves from McDaniels.

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