The Indianapolis Colts officially announced on Tuesday morning their next head coach will be Josh McDaniels, the former Patriots offensive coordinator who is now the second coordinator to leave the Patriots in the wake of their 41-33 Super Bowl LII loss to the Eagles on Sunday.
This is McDaniels second run as a head coach, having gone from being a superstar coordinator with the Patriots to the Broncos, where he flamed out after a hot start with Denver as a coach with a lot of personnel power. This time around, McDaniels comes in presumably prepared to work hand-in-hand with GM Chris Ballard.
For the Patriots, McDaniels departure comes on the, officially, on Monday afternoon. Congrats to Doug Pederson of the Eagles on beating nearly 10 percent of the NFL head coaches on Sunday.
Doug Pederson beat the Patriots head coach, the Lions head coach and the Colts head coach all in one game.— Jamey Eisenberg (@JameyEisenberg) February 5, 2018
Both hires have been expected for a while, but the NFL required teams to wait and make the announcements official until the end of the Patriots season.
Some hires this coaching season -- Matt Nagy to the Bears, Patricia to the Lions -- might have caused a little buyer's remorse based on the final game of the season. (The Chiefs offense gagged up in their playoff loss to the Titans, while the Pats allowed the Eagles to drop a 40-burger.) No such situation with McDaniels, who dialed up an incredible gameplan that shredded a very good Eagles defense and led to a 40-year-old Tom Brady setting the record for most passing yards (505) in a Super Bowl despite the losing effort. Brady threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions and the Patriots didn't punt a single time. You can hit them with two unofficial turnovers thanks to a missed field goal and a turnover on downs situation where they went for it on fourth down.
But there will be no finger pointing at the offense when it comes to the Patriots Super Bowl loss. McDaniels helped Brady become the regular season MVP at the age of 40 and then Brady dominated on the biggest stage. Brady is the trigger man here, but McDaniels has helped to orchestrate some incredible offenses while in New England.
He will have some skeptics based on what happened in Denver, but this is a good situation for McDaniels, provided that quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy.
Dearest mother —— Capt. Andrew Luck (@CaptAndrewLuck) February 6, 2018
The unit has been informed we officially have a new general, Josh McDaniels. He has had tremendous success at one post and struggled at another. But, I have confidence. The men are ready to be victorious once more.
McDaniels to the Coltsfrom yours truly, primarily because I didn't believe the Colts could land the gem of this coaching class, and I was concerned about Luck's health following a lengthy recovery from shoulder surgery.
The new Colts coach has experience with Jacoby Brissett, the presumptive Colts backup quarterback who was traded from the Patriots to Indy before the 2017 season. One would also assume McDaniels has some kind of assurances about Luck's health and his ability to play in the 2018 season.
Now, the AFC South becomes the most interesting division to watch this offseason. It was built by Bill Belichick: Mike Vrabel of the Titans played under the Patriots coach, McDaniels (Colts) and Bill O'Brien (Texans) were both offensive coordinators for New England and Belichick gave a glowing recommendation for the Jaguars to hire Doug Marrone.
You can't write about the Colts hire without mentioning Belichick's status with the Patriots either. The greatest coach in NFL history is coming off a third Super Bowl loss as a head coach and now must deal with reported "tensions" as he prepares for the back nine of his career while worrying about having to hire/promote two new coordinators.
Some believe Belichick might walk away from the Patriots, but it sure doesn't seem like McDaniels would take the job if the Pats gig was about to become vacant. There was some speculation during the Super Bowl McDaniels might end up returning to the Patriots. Clearly that's not the case.
Instead McDaniels has to worry about playing the Pats: the Colts and Pats are scheduled to play a game (date/time TBD) at Gillette Stadium next season. In fact, the Patriots will get a full load of former Pats, as New England will play the Titans, Colts and Lions next year.