NFL: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is garnering head coaching consideration once again, with his work with rookie quarterback Mac Jones getting attention among owners mulling a potential coaching search.

McDaniels has been one of Bill Belichick's most trusted assistants for decades, and at various times Belichick has worked behind the scenes to try to keep him in the organization, including two years ago when then Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge was granted permission to interview with the Giants at a time when McDaniels was not. That, along with some situations in the past, had led some personnel executives and owners to wonder about McDaniels' willingness to leave New England and Belichick's willingness to let him go, but that is not expected to be an issue this year.

Belichick has been more willing to speak glowingly of McDaniels this season during his public remarks and has told others around the league about his belief that McDaniels could be a very successful head coach in this league, sources said, and is strongly endorsing him. That has led many of them to believe that Belichick would allow McDaniels to conduct virtual head coaching interviews during the final two weeks of the regular season as is allowed per new rules this year. Team can begin making those requests this week.

McDaniels had a difficult tenure as a head coach in Denver over 10 years ago, and was also in agreement to coach the Colts in 2018 before opting to return to Belichick's staff. That decision turned off some owners, but McDaniels has had opportunities to interview for other head coaching jobs in the interim. At this point in time, with all the success he has had in New England and with Jones having an excellent season and showing signs of being a franchise quarterback, McDaniels can be judicious about which opportunities he pursues.