The Patriots’ decision to bring former Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels back onto their coaching staff immediately — rather than wait until the postseason is over — could pay major dividends this week.
As the man who drafted Tim Tebow and coached him during his rookie year, McDaniels knows Tebow well. And it’s an added bonus for the Patriots that the day they officially brought him back to their coaching staff was the day that Tebow and Co. punched a ticket to New England for the second round of the playoffs.
How hands-on will McDaniels get in helping the Patriots prepare for Tebow? Ed Werder reported on SportsCenter that McDaniels may run the scout team in New England this week to help the Patriots’ defense prepare for the Broncos.
The 35-year-old McDaniels, who played quarterback in high school and receiver in college at John Carroll University, isn’t Tebow’s physical equal by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s not like he can get under center and do all the things that Tebow does in the Broncos’ offense to help the Patriots’ defense get ready. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Julian Edelman played the scout-team quarterback when the Patriots prepared for the Broncos’ option package during the regular season, and Ryan Mallett played scout-team quarterback for passing situations. McDaniels can’t do the things physically that those guys can do, so Edelman and Mallett will likely have some scout-team responsibilities this week.
And the presence of McDaniels does not provide the same advantage that the Buccaneers exploited when coach Jon Gruden led them to a Super Bowl XXXVII win over his former team, the Raiders. In preparing for that game, Gruden ran the scout team offense and gave the Raiders’ defense a great look at what the Raiders would do. But the Raiders were still running Gruden’s old offensive system at the time. Broncos head coach John Fox and offensive coordinator Mike McCoy run a completely different offense than McDaniels ran in Denver last season.
Still, McDaniels may have some insight into Tebow’s tendencies. NFL teams preparing for playoff games will always seek even the slightest edge over their opponents, and the edge McDaniels can give the Patriots may be more than slight.