This seems like the year Josh McDaniels should move, if he’s going to ever leave New England. No longer the young wunderkind at 43 (Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur and Sean McVay are three, three and 10 years younger than McDaniels), McDaniels got demerits for backing out of the Indy job two years ago. But people who take time to learn why he did that, and those who will study the performance of his offense during a decline in personnel—winning 11 and 12 games in the past two years, and winning the Super Bowl last year—will see a cutting-edge coach adjusting to new challenges pretty consistently. The other day, one of the most respected position coaches in the league, Dante Scarnecchia, said of McDaniels: “I would never have come back [in 2016 after two years of retirement] if he was not here. He’s very bright, he’s a football guy through and through, he’s a coach’s son, he’s born in the game. Someone is going to be very lucky to have him as a head coach. He’s a good coach, boy.”
I could see McDaniels and Daniel Jones having a great relationship, and McDaniels taking every Tom Brady lesson and drilling it into Jones, who has shown he has a chance to be very good for a long time. For the Giants’ sake, I hope if they change coaches they do a long study of McDaniels.
One other offensive coach is an interesting case too—Kansas City coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He reminds me of something Bill Parcells told me last year, when teams were hiring lots of young offensive coaches without years of experience. Bieniemy has been an assistant in college and pro football for 21 years, and Andy Reid says he’s one of the best leaders on any staff he’s had. Bieniemy does something unique for Reid: He memorizes the offensive play sheet each week. The Chiefs call plays from Reid to Bieniemy, and Bieniemy calls them into Patrick Mahomes. On my podcast this week (dropping Wednesday), Bieniemy told me why he does it. “It takes a lot of time,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I want to make sure I am accountable to the entire coaching staff and to the entire organization. My job is to have the ability to spit those plays out and know everything about them, inside and out. I’m always talking to our players about the importance of taking work home. It’s my job to have a completed understanding of everything that’s on that call sheet.”
“I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity [to be a head coach] all my life,” he said. “I feel that I am ready. You want to make sure . . . that people can see how you command a room, how you approach the day-to-day business, how you command everything that’s taking place within that building, how you deal with people, how you handle each situation that comes up.” Bieniemy is another guy who should talk to multiple teams.