clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Does Josh McDaniels’ return to Patriots signal good days ahead for Dolphins?

Super Bowl LII - New England Patriots - Practice Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

You took ten years to work your way up to the highest position in your career field, only to see it completely blow up in the span of a year-and-a-half. You spent the next seven years rehabbing your image, putting behind you the stigma that was attached to you during that failure. Finally, someone has come around and given you another chance at that pinnacle job, and you accept the position.

And then everything immediately falls apart again. You have already agreed to the new job, you have hired assistants to build up a staff around you, and you are announced as the new person running the organization. Then, you just decide not to take it. No care for the problems you just threw on the organization that thought you were their new leader. No care for the assistants that got out of former jobs and uprooted their families to come work with you. No care about anything except the apparent “sweetened” deal from the team you were expected to leave.

And, now, everything you worked seven years to repair is undone.

You better have a good safety net under you with that organization because it does not seem likely anyone else is going to go out of their way to hire you in the future.

That is the new chapter of the Josh McDaniels story. The offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots and almost head coach of the Indianapolis Colts Josh McDaniels. The former head coach of the Denver Broncos Josh McDaniels.

And, it would appear, the next head coach of the Patriots. If McDaniels did not receive confirmation that he would become the Patriots’ head coach when Bill Belichick retires, the move to spurn the Colts makes no sense.

Which is exactly where this move by McDaniels could signal good days ahead for the Dolphins.

The Patriots and their fans have to face the possibility that the dynasty they have had over the NFL could finally be coming to an end. There are probably a couple of years remaining, but the end is much closer than people in New England may want to admit. Quarterbacks historically have hit a wall at age 40; Tom Brady will be 41 when the 2018 season starts. There are not many years remaining before Brady retires.

And, McDaniels being installed as the heir apparent to Bellichick means there are not many remaining years on the coach’s career plan either.

Yes, McDaniels and Brady will be paired as offensive coordinator and quarterback for at least a year, if not a couple more. But, we cannot act like McDaniels is what makes Brady great. It is obviously the other way around. McDaniels was not in New England in 2009, 2010, and 2011 (the first two years as the Broncos head coach, the third as the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams). In those three years, Brady threw for 13,533 yards with a 66 percent completion rate, 103 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions. He led the league with 36 touchdowns in 2010, as well as a league-high 110.0 passer rating that year.

Meanwhile, Kyle Orton - for whom McDaniels traded - started the two seasons McDaniels was the head coach of the Broncos, throwing for 7,455 yards those two years, with a 61 percent completion rate, 41 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. In 2011, with McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, Sam Bradford played 10 games for the St. Louis Rams, throwing for a career low in completion percentage (53.5 percent), and just six touchdowns with six interceptions, along with a pre-2017 (when he played in just two games) career low in yards per game at 216.4.

In other words, Brady is the magic, not McDaniels.

Bellichick and Brady have made the Patriots a dynasty since 2001. McDaniels has helped with that, but he is not the key to their success. His being the apparent successor to Bellichick does not signal the Patriots are going to keep up their dynastic run once he is installed as the head coach.

It simply means the end of the Bellichick - and Brady - eras are within sight. And, that should mean there are good days ahead for the Miami Dolphins - and the rest of the NFL.