Did the Colts dodge a bullet with Josh McDaniels?

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The feeling around the Colts has become dramatically different than it was six days ago, in the aftermath of Josh McDaniels informing Indy that he’d be staying with the Patriots. And with Frank Reich happily taking over in Indy, there’s a sense that maybe the Colts got lucky when McDaniels got cold feet.

As accurately explained by former Patriots linebacker Willie McGinest last week, McDaniels didn’t get an official or unofficial commitment that he’d replace Bill Belichick, whenever Belichick retires. The Patriots weren’t inclined to make that kind of promise, given the basic reality that circumstances can change dramatically, especially if Belichick decides to stick around for another decade.

McDaniels simply wanted to stay. The fact that Belichick reportedly will be opening the vault to McDaniels, teaching him the things he needs to know in order to become an effective head coach, implies that Belichick previously hadn’t. Which means that the Colts, who we’re told had been obsessed with bringing the “Patriot Way” to Indy, quite possibly had expected McDaniels to already know the things that Belichick has yet to impart to the team’s long-time offensive coordinator.

So maybe McDaniels wanted to stay because he realized that he wasn’t ready to give the Colts what they were hoping to achieve. Which means that the Colts ultimately are better off without McDaniels. Between the coach having misgivings about leaving and not having the keys to the New England kingdom, there’s a chance things may have turned out as poorly for McDaniels with the Colts as they did for McDaniels with the Broncos.

60 responses to “Did the Colts dodge a bullet with Josh McDaniels?

  1. If we’ve learned anything by now it’s not to take anything the Patriots say at their word because there’s always an inside story, and hearing a former Patriot attempt to shut down rumors means nothing because he’s a former Patriot and part of their “mafia”.

    If McDaniels was truly this erratic and insane than the Patriots wouldn’t even want him. Only thing that makes sense is he suddenly became under the impression he’s taking over at some point.

  2. Which means that the Colts, who we’re told had been obsessed with bringing the “Patriot Way” to Indy

    So the Colts wanted to cheat? That’s disappointing.

  3. “The fact that Belichick reportedly will be opening the vault to McDaniels, teaching him the things he needs to know in order to become an effective head coach, implies that Belichick previously hadn’t.”

    I heard this one too. But so far nobody has a source for it as being “fact”. Did McDaniels, Belichick, Kraft, or someone else present for this discussion make a statement to that effect – or is this another unknown and off-the-record source?

  4. Is it possible that none of the previous Patriot assistants, including McDaniels the first time around, have been privileged to the “special sauce” and that’s why they all fail miserable, GM candidates included…Demitroff finally figured it out…you cant be them with out BB and TB a very large part of the secret,,duh!!

  5. Of course they did, whether or not Mcdaniels goes on to be a great coach or not, the Colts are much better off having someone who wants to be there in Reich. Maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t with FR, but keeping someone who doesn’t want to be there won’t be any god for the organisation and/or players.

  6. They most certainly did. It’s clear he’s only comfortable in the friendly confines of Foxboro, and that’s fine. No ill will needed.
    Let’s see what Frank Reich can do.

  7. If the Patriots had won the Super Bowl McDaniels would be in Indy right now. However after the Malcolm Butler controversy in the SB and the scant return Belichick got with the Jimmy Garropolo trade the Kraft’s are feeling they needed to secure a Belichick “buffer” in the coaching staff. Adding to the need for that buffer is the strained relationship between Belichick and Brady. Not buying the spin that McDaniels received no assurances about getting the head job after Belichick. They didn’t put it in writing but a wink and a nod were given. McDaniels doesn’t blow up his reputation and future hiring potential throughout the NFL without it.

  8. scmems07 says:
    February 12, 2018 at 9:46 am

    So the Colts wanted to cheat? That’s disappointing.

    If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying! Everyone cheats! It doesn’t make a difference on the field!

  9. Of course they dodged a bullet. He proved he’s the same weasel he was in Denver. The supposed “growth” was all hype. He better have an agreement with Kraft in writing because he’s not getting a job anywhere else in the NFL. He and the Patriots deserve each other.

  10. They dodged a huge bullet. McDaniels is not head coach material he better hope the cheaters don’t fire him or he will end up without a job in the nfl

  11. Simple: Josh accurately sensed that the Jags and Texans will be fighting it out to lead the AFC South for several years to come, with the (now) Vrable-led Titans in hot pursuit. That leaves the Colts as probable cellar-dwellers for the next 3-4+ years. Erratic Irsay loses his patience in 2, and Josh never gets another gig, because he picked the wrong franchise at the wrong time.

  12. Anyone think that he’s simply not a good coach outside of what Belichick lays out for him, and he’s self aware enough to know it unlike say a Charlie Weis who still thinks he just didn’t take over the right situations even after failing literally everywhere without Belichick?

    People always point out the Denver failure, but he was also an OC for one year outside of New England, and that Ram offense that got Pat Shurmur an HC job after one year of tutoring Sam Bradford to just missing out on the playoffs and looking like the next big thing at QB went terribly under him. That’s always been my bigger reasoning of really, how good is this guy, more than what he did in Denver in a year in a half.

  13. “So the Colts wanted to cheat? That’s disappointing.”

    The Colts already have a far longer and more extensive history of “cheating” than anything the Pats have ever done.

  14. The whole “opening up the vault” thing is pretty simplistic. He could be an assistant there for years and somehow not learn these lessons on his own? BB needs to give him the Rosetta Stone of coaching?

  15. This is a franchise that hangs up participation banners, of course they have a rationalization for being left at the (f)alter.

  16. YES!!!

    McDaniels was terrible in Denver (we all know that) but fun fact, after he was fired from the Broncos he had a brief layover with the Rams as O.C. in 2011 before returning to N.E. in 2012.

    The results?

    32nd ranked offense out of 32 teams with a 2-14 record.

    Now he had a competent QB in Bradford (who started 10 games), 1100 yard rusher in Stephen Jackson, and Brandon Lloyd who did well the following year in NE and was fresh off a 1400 yards the year prior.

    So we know he’s a terrible H.C. but seems like without Brady and Bill he’s just terrible all around.

  17. McDaniels is just another product of the Patriots system. For those making excuses for his failed stint in Denver due to age, I say look at Sean McVay. He was 3 years younger than McDaniels was when he became a head coach. The Colts dodged a bullet for sure.

  18. McDaniels showed his true character last week. The Colts got lucky while McDaniels went from a highly respected coaching candidate to a boom or bust Patriots lifer. Will be interesting to watch his career if/when he takes over for Belicek and Brady retires.

  19. “The Colts already have a far longer and more extensive history of “cheating” than anything the Pats have ever done.”

    Coming from a Pats fan, that’s rich.

  20. People are funny. If josh takes the Colts Job the Fans shower him with Love and Accolades. he rejects the Colts and the fans are like”phew that was a close call we never wanted him anyway”. Well Face it Phranque Reich was your 2nd choice or consolation prize. from the organization that hangs Participation banners it is to be expected that they would celebrate him.

  21. “So maybe McDaniels wanted to stay because he realized that he wasn’t ready to give the Colts what they were hoping to achieve. Which means that the Colts ultimately are better off without McDaniels. ”


    Even if they did dodge a bullet, this says to me (in all seriousness) that the Colts need to do a review of their hiring methodology. Break it down and figure out where they messed up. You can blame the hire-ee all day long and say he was disingenuous and all that, but it is absolutely up to the team to make sure its doesn’t happen again. Somebody messed up at the top on this, maybe Irsay or Ballard fell in love with the candidate and the system wasn’t in place to check that or at least call it out. Maybe you will never be able to stop it because Irsay and Ballard are #1/2 in that org and have final say, but with a checks and balances system you’ll be able to put it on the table and scrutinize it with a group of people.

  22. “The fact that Belichick reportedly will be opening the vault to McDaniels, teaching him the things he needs to know in order to become an effective head coach, implies that Belichick previously hadn’t.”
    Hard to believe the “vault” was not open to the Offensive Coordinator — Maybe this is why his coaching tree has basically failed- Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis, McDaniels previously, Al Groh. Belichick is great head coach but not a developer of his staff?

  23. Patricia get the vault open to him before he left? Quinn didn’t….time will tell at least he has a QB to work with….

  24. Let me try to summarize this for you:

    No one has any idea what McDaniels was promised, or told, or anything. Maybe he got an updated report about Luck. Maybe his kids all cried and said daddy we don’t want to move.

    No one has any idea what Belichick said, if anything. I read a report saying Belichick was going to teach McDaniels about salary cap management, which of course wouldn’t have even been his job in Indy.

    No one has any idea how any of these coaches will do with their new teams, and we’ll just have to wait to find out.

  25. He’s been with the Patriots on and off for 15-16 years. If he hasn’t already figured this stuff out for himself by watching and learning then he’s not HC material anyway.

  26. Man…this vault sure must have something amazing in it. Did Doug Pederson “open the vault” for Frank Reich before Reich took the Colts job? Did Andy Reid “open the vault” for Doug in KC (and teach him how to take his foot off the gas and blow lead, or manage the clock poorly in a tight playoff game? I guess not).

    Either you can coach or you can’t.

  27. “Seems to me you have it backwards, Josh was the one who dodged the bullet! Discipable team that started framegate.”

    If by framegate you mean when an investigation found evidence of tampering with footballs, a guy who calls himself the deflator because he was “losing weight” and Tom Brady destroying his cell phone on the day he was supposed to be questioned about it. Also video evidence of a guy taking footballs after they were inspected before the game (which is itself illegal) into a bathroom. The denial of Pats fans is hilarious.

  28. I’m calling baloney on all this. The new narrative sounds like the plot to bad 70s Kung Fu movie: The young disciple patiently waiting for his Master to give him the Secret Manual containing all the Special Moves and Techniques to defeat his arch-enemies.


    If after a decade of working side-by-side with BB he can’t figure out what and how he does what he does, he’s either not too bright or hasn’t been paying attention and doesn’t deserve the job of HC.

  29. yes they dodged a huge bullet. McDaniels may be a good OC (and then again he might not be but is lucky to have Brady). But he was a punk kid in Denver and what he did last week proved he is not ready for prime time.

    Frank Reich is potentially a great hire. If Luck comes back I expect he will do very well in Indy. The titans should have hired him! would have been a much better choice for Marcus Mariotta.

  30. Who is the GM for the Patriots?Who is the Head coach for the Patriots?BB…Who usually deals with the salary cap and team building…the GM.Who coaches the players he has on the field..the HC.Name me one GM that teaches his headcoach the details of his job…none 0 nobody…until now.

  31. Did I miss the part where all the assistant he hired and now have no job and no prospects foregave him?

  32. I think they are better off with Reich. McDaniels was a total failure in Denver and he realized he’d be better riding on Bill’s coat-tails than failing miserably again. It’s not hard to succeed as an offensive coordinator when Brady is your QB. I am going to laugh when Bill retires. If the Patriots make him the head coach and Brady is gone they won’t even make the playoffs. Bill and Tommy are the reason they succeed–not Josh.

  33. In a word…Yes.

    The Belichick coaching tree has yet to produce a HC that is capable of winning a playoff game. In fact, the most successful product is Saban and even he failed at the NFL level.
    Let’s look at the Charlie Brown Christmas tree of NFL coaching for a second:

    Mangini – failed, unemployed
    Joshy McD – failed and ran home to papa. Now has stiffed the Colts and stayed with papa. No chance he gets another shot outside the Pats.
    O’Brien – still employed as a HC, the most successful so far but hasn’t won anything.
    Saban – failed at the NFL level but highly successful at the college level.
    Weiss – failed, unemployed
    Crennel – failed as a HC twice. Went back to being a DC, something he is good at.
    Groh – failed, unemployed
    Schwartz – failed, back to being a DC.
    Patricia – to soon to tell but if past history is an indicator, his odds are not good.

    Looks like a coaching tree that bears no fruit.

  34. No one knows, since he didn’t take the job. Since Irsay has a history of lying about the status of Andrew Luck, it’s possible that McDaniels dodged a bullet.

  35. Come on, these aren’t the bullets worth talking about — if the Colts’ QB ain’t healthy it won’t matter who the head coach is or could have been.

  36. They both dodged a bullet. Indy is not on the up and up with player management and I have no doubt McDaniels would have struggled with the GM and front office. On the other side, Indy dodged a HUGE bullet in that JMD is NOT HC material, period. His run in Denver was an enigma. You want to write an interesting story…..dig up and find out the real truth behind Denver going into their Bye Week 6-0 then fell completely apart the rest of that season. Find that out, and you have the missing puzzle piece as why JMD should NEVER be a head coach.

  37. Feel for Reich being a new coach saddled with assistants who may or may not share the same philosophy / vision on offense and defense.

    Beyond that is the question of personalities and how well they will mesh for a coherent message to the team…

  38. Yes the Colts dodged a bullet. Not having to deal with a person who doesn’t keep his word is a blessing.

    McDaniel’s agent fired him as a client. The Colts didn’t and wont have to now.

  39. i love the revisionist history that conveniently forgets what josh did to his supposed friends in the profession recruited for his staff. quit your job, bro; come with me….oh wait, i changed my mind… thats the behavior of a 14 year old not a grown man.

  40. I’m sure the Colts organization is breathing a big sigh of relief knowing that any future Super Bowls they win won’t be marred by big asterisks.

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