The Eagles have the opportunity to hire Bill Belichick’s greatest disciple, but there seems to be reluctance among the commenter-ati, largely based on the subject’s perceived lack of warmth. The Eagles would be wise to ignore this noise, because they should not fret that Josh McDaniels lacks “emotional intelligence.”
Know what Belichick lacks? Emotional intelligence.
Know what Belichick does not lack? Actual intelligence.
Pick your poison.
Jeffrey Lurie and his henchmen interviewed McDaniels all day Sunday in Florida. Lurie & Co. seem to realize that this man is the prize of the 2021 coaching market. Reluctance to hire McDaniels, a six-time Super Bowl winner, is like turning down marriage to Scarlett Johansson because she stood up some weirdo in Indiana three years ago. (That’s what McDaniels did.)
Doug Pederson was the right man at the right time, but his approach became too touchy and feely. It created an environment of “Old College Try” in a business in which you pick up your participation medals in Cabo.
At this point, for this roster, I don’t care if my football players feel “seen.” I don’t care if my quarterback feels “heard.”
I care that my football players show up on time, show up in shape, do their job, and earn their money. This is the NFL, not a wellness retreat. The objective is winning rings, not friends, and McDaniels has more rings than Andy Reid’s bathtub.
The process continues, for whatever it’s worth. The Eagles spoke with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Siranni on Tuesday, and there are rumblings from league sources that they are interested in special teams specialist John Fassel, who coached with Sean McVay in Los Angeles before he turned around the Cowboys’ special teams this season.
It seems like dithering. Posturing.
Considering the amount of gray hair at the NovaCare Complex these days, McDaniels, 44, would fit right in and amplify whatever abilities remain. He produced career-best seasons for aging stars: Randy Moss, who scored 23 touchdowns; Corey Dillon, who scored 13; and LeGarrette Blount, who scored 18. All were at least 30. McDaniels gets more out of old people than pickleball.
If you need someone to rehabilitate Carson Wentz, McDaniels is your guy. After all, he coached the least likable superstar in the history of the NFL — a talented bully given to zealotry and isolation. After 14 years of Tom Brady, Wentz will be a cupcake.
You find him cold? Good. His Chief Executive Officer persona is exactly what Wentz, general manager Howie Roseman, and Lurie need. Each of them has proven unsuitable as CEO.
McDaniels produces in every style. The Patriots get the ball out fast, run when they need to, and have had superior offensive lines despite modest talent at the position.
A high school quarterback and college receiver, McDaniels rocketed to prominence in the early 2000s with the Pats before two years of failure as the Broncos’ head coach. He spent a season of penitence in St. Louis, then returned to New England as coordinator in 2012. The Patriots averaged 28.9 points from 2012-19, never ranked below seventh in points, and averaged a No. 3 ranking, all tops in the NFL. Some of his best work came in 2020.
He lost Brady but turned Cam Newton — arguably the most talented quarterback in NFL history, but often a train wreck both on the field and in the boutique — into a semi-competent field general with no offseason, no preseason, and essentially no players: His roster was ravaged by COVID-19 opt-outs and injuries.
So he backed out of a loose verbal agreement with the Colts. So what? Eagles fans and the NFL are upset with him because Indy wouldn’t pay him enough to uproot his family and move to Mike Pence’s home state? Granted, we’re not sure enough money exists to justify that move, and granted, he chose to stay in Boston of all places, but your home is your home, especially for children.
Further reports surfaced that indicated McDaniels questioned the minutia of how every facet of the organization would work. Considering the Eagles’ horrific drafts and alarming injury rate, that sounds like a rock-solid strategy when entering any sort of relationship with Tweedle Jeff and Tweedle Howie.
Maybe it was just that Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave him a big raise and promised him the top job if Belichick ever decided to go coach lacrosse at Exeter. It doesn’t matter. He could come to Philly now.
I believe Reid when he says Eric Bieniemy is such a good man and such a good coach that he would be happy to have him coach his sons. I believe Todd Bowles will be a very good head coach in the NFL when he gets his next chance. I believe the NFL is cheated every day that Duce Staley is not a head coach.
But among this year’s coaching crop, Josh McDaniels is, pardon the expression, the gold standard.
There have been disasters sprung from Foxboro, Mass., but the assertion that Belichick’s coaching tree bears only bad fruit lacks logic. Avoid the most successful coaches in NFL history? At your peril.
The coddling of Carson Wentz has gone on long enough. If Wentz won’t listen to Josh McDaniels, you don’t have to worry about Wentz succeeding anywhere else. And if Josh McDaniels has a chance to develop Jalen Hurts, Jalen Hurts will be the best Jalen Hurts that Jalen Hurts could ever be.
If Urban Meyer is somehow worth $12 million to the Jaguars, then Josh McDaniels should be worth at least that much to the Eagles.
Just give him all of the money, give him all of the power, and get out of his way.