Josh McDaniels could be just what the Packers want in a coach
Josh McDaniels could be just what the Packers want in a coach
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Mark Murphy should ask Charlie Weis to write a job description for the Green Bay Packers‘ coaching vacancy.
“You’re looking for a guy who understands veterans quarterbacks, understands their egos, understands the involvement they want to have,” said Weis, the former long-time college and NFL coach.
And Weis knows someone who matches that job description: Josh McDaniels, the New England Patriots offensive coordinator.
Weis, who’s working as a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio, knows McDaniels better than most. He worked with him on the Patriots staff in the early 2000s. In Weis’ last season in New England, 2004, he was the Patriots offensive coordinator and McDaniels was his quarterbacks coach.
McDaniels, 42, has worked closely with Tom Brady since 2004 — except for his two-year stint as the Broncos head coach (2009-10) and one year as the Rams offensive coordinator (2011).
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who turned 35 on the day the Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday, has long been an admirer of Brady. Perhaps he would thrive being coached by someone who worked with Brady.
“I mean who better would you have than him?” Weis said of McDaniels. “He would fit that criteria. That’s kind of an easy one because even though Tommy and Aaron are not the same people, they’re still veteran quarterbacks that are mentally as sharp as anybody. And because you’ve been dealing with one the whole time, it would be a fairly easy transition I would think.”
Murphy, the Packers president and the man in charge of making the hire, and general manager Brian Gutekunst offered no specific criteria for their next coach. That means anyone could be on their wish list: an NFL assistant, an NFL head coach who is either out of a job or could become available, or a current or former college coach.
The only candidate they even mentioned by name was their own interim coach, Joe Philbin. They would not comment when asked whether defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, the Browns coach for two years (2014-15), would be considered.
“I’m not going to say we’re looking for this or that attribute or trait,” Murphy said. “I think we want to find the very best coach and a coach that can bring the Packers back to winning Super Bowls.”
Here’s a look at some of the top candidates in each category:
McDaniels: Backing out of the Colts job last season when he already had begun to put together a coaching staff was a bad look, and he lasted only two seasons as the head coach in Denver, although he was only 32 years old when he got the job. “He’s much more prepared for the job now, much more prepared,” Weis said. “We all grow up and become more mature about how we do things. I’d be a little bit concerned about how he handled the Indianapolis thing last year. I don’t think you can just say no harm, no foul.” McDaniels is represented by Trace Armstrong, who also serves as McCarthy’s agent, which could be awkward but shouldn’t be a stumbling block.
Philbin: Spent nine years with the Packers before he was hired as the Dolphins head coach in 2012. Went 24-28 but was fired part of the way into his fourth season. Returned to Green Bay in January as offensive coordinator, but he never called plays. He said he would call plays the rest of the season and how that goes could determine how serious of a candidate he is.
John DeFilippo: The Vikings’ first-year offensive coordinator worked under offensive innovator Doug Pederson in Philadelphia. Although the Vikings have been inconsistent on offense, he has experience as a play-caller now, which is something the coordinators with the Chiefs, Rams and Saints don’t have because their head coaches call plays. He also worked for Pettine in Cleveland. His father, Gene, knows Murphy from their days as college athletic directors and are believed to be more than just acquaintances.
Eric Bieniemy: The Chiefs’ first-year offensive coordinator has been credited with helping Andy Reid’s offense evolve with Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. The former NFL running back replaced Matt Nagy, who left to coach the Bears.
Zac Taylor: The Rams quarterbacks coach has learned under Sean McVay in Los Angeles the past two seasons. Before that, he worked on Philbin’s staff with the Dolphins. He’s married to the former Sarah Sherman, daughter of the ex-Packers coach mike Sherman.
Pete Carmichael: Like Bieniemy and Taylor, the Saints offensive coordinator doesn’t call plays, but he’s been an NFL assistant since 2000, including the last 13 years on Sean Payton’s staff in New Orleans.
Others: Dave Toub, Chiefs assistant head coach/special teams coordinator; Matt LaFleur, Titans offensive coordinator; Pettine.
NFL head coaches (current or former)
Bruce Arians: The former Cardinals head coach rose to prominence as the Colts interim coach when Chuck Pagano left to begin treatment for leukemia. Has expressed interest in the Browns job and said that would be the only job he’d consider. But that was last month, well before the Packers fired McCarthy. He’s coached several top-tier quarterbacks including Peyton Manning, Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger.
John Harbaugh: It’s not a given that the Ravens will move on from Harbaugh. One source said Gutekunst wants a “no-nonsense” coach, and both John and his brother, Jim, fit that description. He doesn’t have a background on offense, though, and most think the Packers will go with an offensive-minded head coach.
College coaches (current or former)
Jim Harbaugh: A source familiar with Gutekunst said he’s long been a fan of the current Michigan and former 49ers coach. He has a sparkling NFL record (44-19-1) but tends to wear out his welcome quickly, which could be the case with his current job.
Pat Fitzgerald: Murphy, the former Northwestern athletic director, promoted Fitzgerald to head coach there after Randy Walker died in July 2006. Fitzgerald comes from the defensive side and has never worked in the NFL but is highly thought of for his success at a difficult place to win.
Lincoln Riley: The Oklahoma coach might be the most coveted coach from the college ranks, but he’s young (35), in only his second season as a head coach and has no NFL experience.
Others: Matt Campbell, Iowa State; Brian Kelly, Notre Dame; David Shaw, Stanford; Kliff Kingsbury, former coach at Texas Tech.
December 4, 2018 at 06:06AM