By Chris Emma—
(670 The Score) The reputation of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels often precedes him. More than those five Super Bowl rings he has won with the Patriots, the two tumultuous seasons with the Broncos first come to mind.
Seven years is plenty of time for personal reflection and growth, and that seems to be the case for McDaniels after failing in Denver and being fired by the Broncos. McDaniels has a strong body of work that has made him a top coaching candidate.
The Bears met with McDaniels on Friday evening, marking their fourth known head coaching interview to this point. They followed the Giants, who reportedly met with McDaniels earlier in the day, and made the trip from Minnesota after interviewing Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur on Friday morning and defensive coordinator George Edwards Thursday afternoon.
As was the case those first three interviews, it was general manager Ryan Pace leading the Bears’ interview with McDaniels, with team chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips alongside. Some of the first questions should have been how McDaniels has grown from his Denver debacle.
McDaniels is already linked to the Bears because of his clash with Jay Cutler in 2009, which sent the quarterback to Chicago in a blockbuster trade. While his abilities as a coach were never in question, McDaniels carried himself the wrong way, and a golden opportunity ended with a 13-19 mark across 2009 and 2010 before he was fired.
As documented in a terrific story by Dan Pompei, McDaniels has made the effort to become a better coach and has been preparing himself for redemption.
Working with future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady provides an ideal situation for development as a coach – whether it’s basking in the glory of a title or getting barked at on the sidelines – because there’s plenty to learn from that championship team.
McDaniels served as a right-hand man to Brady but also spent much of the last four years developing Jimmy Garoppolo into a promising young quarterback. He fits what the Bears prioritize, which is a coach to mold Mitchell Trubisky into a franchise quarterback.
McDaniels has intel to the Bears’ situation available after his brother, Ben, spent the last two seasons working as an offensive assistant on John Fox’s coaching staff. Ben can answer any question his brother may have on the opportunity.
At 41, McDaniels is young but still experienced in this business. The combination of youth, experience and acumen makes him a top candidate for any team – especially the Bears.
Ultimately, the lessons learned from the last seven years will define how McDaniels handles a next opportunity.