Why the Patriots’ Josh McDaniels makes sense as the Bears’ next head coach

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Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels watches from the sideline. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa) ORG XMIT: NYOTK

The Bears are slated to interview Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, weather permitting, on Friday for their head coaching vacancy.

Here’s why the 41-year-old makes sense as John Fox’s replacement:

• He might be the best in the business. No team in the NFL posted more yards than the Patriots’ 394.2 yards per game. Only the Chargers totaled more passing yards per game than New England’s 276.1, and that was by less than one yard per game.

In his 10 seasons running the Patriots — from 2006-08 and again from 2012-present, McDaniels’ offense has led the league in points per game twice and ranked n the top three for more times.

• He’s tutored perhaps the greatest quarterback to play the game. The Bears want a coach who can develop Mitch Trubisky. McDaniels joined the Patriots staff in Tom Brady’s second year, was promoted to quarterbacks coach in Brady’s fifth year and became coordinator in his seventh season.

Tom Brady endorsed McDaniels on Thursday.

“I love Josh,” Brady told reporters. “I’ve said a lot of things about him over the years. I think those things take care of themselves. I want nothing but the best for him, always.”

He’s had success with others. When Brady was lost for the year in the 2008 opener,, he groomed Matt Cassel into a one-year star. Cassel went 10-5 and had an 89.4 passer rating. As the Rams’ offensive coordinator in 2011, he worked with second-year quarterback Sam Bradford.

• He’s worked for the best, too. Bill Belichick remains the gold standard among NFL coaches. McDaniels might be the closest thing he has to a deputy — defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is also a hot head coaching candidate — but the question remains: how much power would McDaniels want? Belichick is the Patriots’ de facto general manager. Could McDaniels thrive in a system where Pace makes 53-man roster decisions? Would he want to? Would Pace see him as a threat — contract extension or not?

An ESPN story published Friday detailed discord between Belichick, Brady and owner Bob Kraft. It also said Belichick was helping his assistants prepare for head coaching interviews, something he hadn’t always done before.

The story hints that Belichick’s relationship with Kraft is tense, and that perhaps their pairing is soon to dissolve. If that’s the case, would McDaniels stick around to see if he’d be named head coach?


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• He knows the Bears. McDaniels’ brother Ben served as a Bears offensive assistant the last two years after spending 2015 as Rutgers’ offensive coordinator. The two would talk late at night when Josh was driving home from work.

“There’s not a lot of people you can call when you’re driving home at midnight or 11:30 during the work week,” Josh McDaniels told the Sun-Times last year. “He’s one of them.”

Josh McDaniels said then that his brother worked “with great people in Chicago.” At the least, he already has unvarnished insight into the happenings at Halas Hall.

• He’s been a head coach before — though it didn’t go well. McDaniels went 11-17 as the Broncos’ head coach from 2009-10, losing 17 of his last 22 games. He chased off quarterback Jay Cutler before their first game — the quarterback was upset that McDaniels had pursued a reunion with Cassel.

Cutler wasn’t the only player who bristled at McDaniels’ personality, but the coach said in 2016 he had changed.

“I don’t know that I was as patient as I needed to be in most situations, whether it was game-planning, on the sidelines, preparation for the draft, personnel moves, whatever,” he told Bleacher Report. “There is an element of this game that tests your ability to slow down and make a good decision. I was allowing the way I felt at the moment to make the decision.”

Even though McDaniels struggled, he, like Vikings coordinator Pat Shurmur, has head coaching experience. That’s more than the Bears can say for Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo or Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy.

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