A Josh McDaniels Hire Makes Plenty Of Sense For The Colts
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INDIANAPOLIS – In consecutive years, the Colts have hired arguably the most sought after general manager and head coaching candidates.
Chris Ballard was highly coveted and well respected from those around the NFL.
Josh McDaniels has said ‘no’ to around 10 head coaching jobs in recent years, as teams try to pry into that unflappable New England pipeline.
But Ballard and, apparently, McDaniels are both saying ‘yes’ to the Colts.
Although, McDaniels should not be considered a sure-fire home run hire, you would be hard-pressed to find a more qualified/realistic candidate for what the Colts should have been looking for in replacing Chuck Pagano.
Let’s weigh the pros and cons of hiring Josh McDaniels:
-High-Level Coaching Experience Checked: This was my ultimate pre-requisite when the Colts first embarked on their head coaching search two weeks ago. Even though McDaniels is just 41 years old, he’s been a head coach in the NFL and has called plays for a perennial Super Bowl team for nearly a decade. Any nerves or in-decision within the course of a game shouldn’t be there for McDaniels. He’s been prepping for this second coaching run for years now.
-Offensive System Locked In Place: The constant turnover Andrew Luck has endured with offensive systems is over. Josh McDaniels will implement his offense, meaning continuity has arrived to that side of the ball in Indianapolis. In New England, the Patriots have maintained their reign near the top of the league rankings despite not having gobs of premier elite skill players or a truly dominant offensive line. Yes, Tom Brady has been the QB there, but even McDaniels found success in 2008 with Matt Cassel under center. There were inconsistencies in stops with Denver and St. Louis, but McDaniels has been historically great as an offensive coordinator. Brady’s impact on McDaniels is obviously something to debate, but people still rave about Tom Moore during his time with Peyton Manning. You will not find another candidate with as extensive as a successful resume on one side of the ball as McDaniels.
-Learning Under The GOAT: Unlike previous Belichick disciples, McDaniels’ run in New England spans more than a decade, over two stops, and also comes on the side of the ball where Bill Belichick has the least amount of impact. McDaniels has had an up-close look at how Belichick has handled the New England dynasty. Incorporating that influence is a must for the Colts needing a change of culture. And if you can possibly slow down or halt the dominance of the Patriots, that’s just icing on the cake for this Colts’ hire.
-What about Denver?: McDaniels’ previous head coaching stop (2009-10 in Denver) was close to a disaster. The then 33-year-old head coach went 11-17 in 2 years with some questionable decisions regarding personnel moves certainly hindering the success. Players in Denver questioned McDaniels’ handling of the locker room. Almost a decade later, McDaniels says he’s learned from his mistakes in Denver. Also, the Colts will not be granting him anywhere near the same personnel control that he had in Denver, or the turmoil at the quarterback position (i.e. trading away Jay Cutler and then drafting Tim Tebow). For Chris Ballard, he did have great insight into how McDaniels operated things in Denver. Mike Bluem, the current Colts’ salary cap expert, was in Denver under a similar role when McDaniels was the head coach of the Broncos. If there were any serious red flags, Bluem would have definitely relayed those to Ballard during this process. People can mature and learn over the course of 7 years and I think McDaniels should be given that chance, with some consulting from Tony Dungy even occurring between the two former rivals.
-No More Bill, Brady Watching: This one is difficult to predict. Josh McDaniels will not have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick with him in Indianapolis. Sure, McDaniels had some nice success without Brady in 2008, but stops in Denver and St. Louis did not lead to similar results. Where McDaniels does differ from other New England coaching tree members is in his resume. McDaniels has coached on the offensive side of the ball, where Belichick doesn’t have as much of an influence, compared to defense. McDaniels has been the OC for 9 years in New England, a time that significantly dwarfs previous coordinating experience from guys like Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel or Eric Mangini. Nonetheless, McDaniels still has to prove himself on his own and that’s a question without a definite answer right now
-Defensive Issues Not Addressed: Obviously, the questions about the defense in Indy will continue to linger with the hiring of McDaniels. The Colts have plenty of questions on each side of the ball, so no matter the hire, some hesitancy was going to remain. It sounds like the Colts will turn to Dallas linebackers coach Matt Eberflus to head their defense. Eberfuls has never been a defensive coordinator in the NFL and could be changing things to a 4-3 scheme. Talent needs to be upgraded on that side of the ball for sure, but some young pieces are there at the back end of things.