When Josh McDaniels departed the Patriots to become the Raiders head coach, he left a significant void.
But he also took several assistants with him to Las Vegas, which in many ways created an even bigger coaching issue.
Head coach Bill Belichick has famously installed former Lions head coach Matt Patricia as New England’s offensive line coach and he’s called most of the plays during training camp and the preseason. But as the QBs coach, former Giants head coach Joe Judge has also done his share of play calling — as has Belichick himself, reportedly.
With the Patriots in Southern Nevada for joint practices with the Raiders this week, McDaniels was asked what he thinks of how the Patriots have gone about replacing him. McDaniels, Patricia, and Judge were on the same Patriots staff for several years, but they were the club’s offensive, defensive, and special teams coordinators from 2015-2017.
“I mean, I really don’t know exactly what everybody’s doing over there. I just know that they’ve got a lot of really good coaches,” McDaniels said in his Wednesday press conference. “And I was in a position once where I was on the defensive side of the ball for a couple years, then I moved over and coached quarterbacks for one year, and then all of a sudden the next thing I’m doing is being ready to call the offense after being on the offensive side for one year. And I remember nobody believed that that was really the case.
“Look, I think at the end of the day, Bill has a plan for whatever he wants to do. And that plan, sometimes he has foresight that some of the rest of us don’t have. I didn’t have it when he pushed me ahead and helped me do that. So, I’ve got a lot of friends over there, I’ve got a lot of people over there that I’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for. Coaching is coaching.”
McDaniels was a Patriots defensive assistant from 2002-2003 before becoming New England’s QBs coach in 2004. He ascended to his first stint as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2006 when Charlie Weis departed the organization to become Notre Dame’s head coach.
But now with the Raiders, McDaniels added that Tuesday’s practice was as competitive as they could’ve asked for — though that’s not necessarily reflected in dispatches from the session that noted just how rough New England’s offense looked before a final two-minute period.
“I think those guys are going through their process,” McDaniels said. “Look, I’m here and we’re going through our process. We don’t have it all figured out right now in terms of going through a change. We have a new staff. So, again, every team goes through this. It’s not unique to us or them. We’ll all figure it out somehow.”