There’s no doubt the Patriots offense did not perform to expectations in 2019.
It finished seventh in points per game (26.3 points), but a lot of that was because of the defense and special teams. Furthermore, the unit scored more than 24 points just once in the final nine games, including 13 against Tennessee on Wild Card weekend.
Josh McDaniels was the scapegoat in the eyes of many, as the offensive coordinator got crushed on social media following the season-ending loss to the Titans and then many said they’d drive him to the airport for him to take the Cleveland job upon hearing he was going to interview.
Over the weekend word came down that McDaniels will not be hired as the Browns’ head coach, as that has gone to Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, which means he will be staying in New England.
This means nothing but good things for the Patriots.
McDaniels is one of the best offensive minds in football and if Tom Brady gets a pass for his lack of weapons in 2019, shouldn’t McDaniels, too?
If McDaniels had better options to work with at wide receiver and tight end, wouldn’t the Patriots offense have performed better than it did? If he didn’t have Elandon Roberts as a fullback and actually had some formidable red-zone options, don’t you think the Patriots would have been able to score on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line against the Titans?
McDaniels actually deserves a great deal of credit for the Patriots’ points late in the season.
How many first drives of games and second halves did the Patriots move the ball better than any other point in the game? That’s McDaniels. Also, how many “trick plays” did the Patriots call in the second half of the year to get chunk plays they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to get? McDaniels again.
Just think how things might have looked offensively this year without McDaniels — it would not have been great.
Then, regardless of what happens with Tom Brady — whether he stays or goes — it’s nothing but positive for the Patriots relating to McDaniels.
Imagine if Brady were to return to New England and McDaniels wasn’t the offensive coordinator.
How would the 43-year-old handle working with a new offensive coordinator who likely would have came in from outside the organization? That would have required a lot more work for Brady in getting to know his new play-caller, and we’ve all seen over the years how he’s done with new wide receivers. How are we to believe it would have been any different with a new coordinator? And hasn't Brady said he wants to spend more time with his family in the offseason? With a new offensive coordinator there wouldn't be much time for that.
Whether it’s one percent or 20 percent, McDaniels returning to New England does nothing but increase the likelihood of Brady returning. While the two did not see eye-to-eye at some points in 2019, Brady knows what he’s getting in McDaniels and that would not be the case with someone brand new.
Then on the flip side, if Brady does in fact leave New England, would you rather have a new offensive coordinator with no experience in New England working with Jarrett Stidham or whatever quarterback takes over, or McDaniels, who went 3-1 with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett at quarterback in 2016 and perhaps could be re-energized by working with someone who has different skill sets than Brady?
Pretty easy answer.
Also, McDaniels departing New England could have increased the chances of long-time coaches Dante Scarnecchia and Ivan Fears retiring, which would have forced Bill Belichick into doing more with the offense. If that happened, then what would have happened to the defense? Belichick has put a great deal of trust in McDaniels where he leaves almost all of the offensive stuff up to him.
“I give him a little bit of input, but 90 to 95 percent is his plan, his vision,” Belichick said in "Do Your Job III" following Super Bowl LIII. “Rarely do we see things that differently. But sometimes there will be things that I suggest. Sometimes he’ll say, ‘I think that would be great,’ and sometimes he’ll say, ‘I don’t really think this is the right time for us to do that. Here’s the reason why.’ And he’s usually right.”
The trickle-down effect would have forced Belichick to do more, and is that something he would be capable of as he approaches the age of 70?
While it’s easy to blame McDaniels for the issues on offense this year, including the play-calling at various points, just like Brady would have been better with a better surrounding cast, so would than man calling the plays.
And when it comes to dealing with the future of the offense, no matter who is the quarterback, try and find a better option than McDaniels.