Sunday 7: What makes Josh McDaniels such a good offensive coordinator

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1. There’s no doubt Josh McDaniels is one of the best offensive coordinators in the NFL. Not only did he do a great job with Tom Brady, he’s shown more creativity over the past two seasons with Cam Newton and Mac Jones. So, what makes him so good? It’s really as simple as he gets the most out of his players and puts them in the best positions to succeed. Kendrick Bourne is a perfect example, as he never had a rushing attempt in his career until this year with the Patriots, but now poses a threat on end-arounds each and every week. “I’ve never really ran the ball how they use me here, and I enjoy it,” he said this past week. “I love it. It gives us a versatility, and (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) just does a good job of doing it at the perfect time. He’ll run right, right, right, then we’ll come back and go left, and defenses are just confused. They don’t really know what’s going on. It’s just about me getting better in that role, too. I could rush better, do things better, but (McDaniels) uses all of us well. It’s not just me rushing the ball. It’s just a different threat, and defenses hate it.” It’s not just with his receivers getting carries, it’s having them run routes to maximize their abilities. Just look at Jakobi Meyers. It’s hard to imagine him having over 1,600 yards receiving in his career, but McDaniels has put him in the best positions to produce. While it seems pretty basic, it’s an underrated trait and is one of the biggest reasons why McDaniels is so good.

2. It’s hard to find a more charitable player in the league than Lawrence Guy. He won the 2021 Ron Burton Community Service award prior to the season and then was named the NFLPA’s Community MVP in Week 11 for hosting a baby shower for 20 local moms in need. Then this past week he provided Thanksgiving meals for 150 families in Roxbury through the Boys and Girls Club, as well as 400 meals to a local school. “The holidays are all about blessings,” he said. “… I chose to use my platform for blessings.

3. Nick Folk has been in the league for 14 seasons, so he obviously has a great deal of experience -- so much experience that he’s even teaching Bill Belichick a thing or two about kicking. “I’ve learned a lot from Nick Folk,” Belichick said Friday. “I’ll say that. I’ve learned a lot. He’s really taught me a lot of little things that, honestly, I hadn’t really thought that much about. And once he pointed them out, I was kind of disappointed in myself that I didn’t put a little more importance on it earlier.” Folk has been outstanding this season, going 26-for-26 on field goal attempts inside of 50 yards.

4. Cole Popovich, the Patriots’ co-offensive line coach from a year ago, did not coach this year due to COVID-19 requirements. But, he remained in the area and coached the offensive line at Franklin High School. The team went 10-1 on the season and their offensive line was a major reason why. The Metrowest Daily News did a story this week on Popovich’s impact. Check it out.

5. Rookie running back Rhamondre Stevenson deserves a ton of credit for what he’s been able to do this season. It would have been easy to get down after fumbling in Week 1 and then being a healthy scratch, but he’s now an important piece to the offense. His role expanded with James White being out of the year with a hip injury and Sony Michel being traded over the summer. It’s hard to imagine where the running game would be without him producing like he is.

6. Belichick had some interesting comments Friday about the Pro Football Hall of Fame and there being no criteria for players to be considered. It’s an interesting point, but it would be a hard thing to do, especially for players at positions who don’t put up stats like offensive and defensive linemen. It’s just one of those things where just watching a player over an extended period of time you know they are a Hall of Famer. And people can base it on different things and have their own opinions, there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that.

7. After Sunday’s big game with the Titans, the Patriots will have an even bigger game next Monday night in Buffalo against the Bills, which will have massive implications on the AFC East. The Patriots will catch another break in that game with star cornerback Tre’Davious White being out for the season after tearing his ACL on Thanksgiving. Buffalo has the No. 1 ranked defense in the league, but losing such a dominant player like White will be tough to replace.

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