LA Chargers: Josh McDaniels would be a terrible coaching hire


Multiple NFL reporters have now linked the LA Chargers to Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels as a head coaching candidate.

First of all, let’s start off by saying that the LA Chargers should fire Anthony Lynn. While I was initially against the idea of firing Lynn mid-season, it doesn’t matter anymore. A 45-0 loss to the worst Patriots team in two decades is the biggest embarrassment in franchise history.

No matter what, Lynn will be gone at the end of the year. When Ian Rapoport and several other quality NFL reporters put a coach on the hot seat, his days are numbered. Plain and simple.

Discussion in recent days has turned to Josh McDaniels. Senior NFL reporter Albert Breer linked the Chargers to the Patriots’ offensive coordinator in a recent Q+A. Following the game on Sunday, NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright added fuel to the McDaniels fire.

If multiple reporters are saying the same thing, there’s likely some truth to it.

Going through McDaniels’ resume, there’s some stuff to like there at face value. The Patriots’ Super Bowl titles, working with Tom Brady for many years, and being a top assistant to Bill Belichick sounds appealing.

There’s also a lot, and I mean a lot, to dislike. McDaniels bombed in his first coaching tenure with the Broncos. He was fired after two seasons of mostly poor performances by the team in conjunction with a videotaping scandal that he knew about. He started 6-0 in his first season and finished out his two-year tenure at 5-17.

In the offseason of 2018, McDaniels accepted the Colts’ head coaching position and then backed out of the deal. It was as unprofessional as a coach maybe has ever been in the league. Indianapolis began hiring coordinators and assistants for McDaniels’ staff before he backed out. His own sports agent quit on him after he quit on the Colts.

Sticking to on the field stuff, let’s look at his New England tenure. For many years, the Patriots obviously had a top 5 offense in the league. Tom Brady played at an MVP level until probably the 2018 season.

The Pats were fifth in total offense in 2018, 15th in 2019, and are now 22nd in 2020. Those are declining results three years in a row. Some will obviously blame the underwhelming performances of Cam Newton‘s arm, which is fair.

But McDaniels had Brady last year and the offense looked incredibly clunky and slow. Even going back to the 2018 playoffs, New England won the Super Bowl that year with Brian Flores’ defense as the backbone of the team.

In the last two years, the Chargers have fired an offensive coordinator, promoted a rookie coordinator, and had a veteran quarterback throw 20 interceptions. Oh, and they started a rookie quarterback after Tyrod Taylor‘s lung was punctured. Even with all of that baggage, the Chargers have still been statistically better than New England on offense in the last two seasons.

Also, what is the real success rate of the Belichick coaching tree at this point? Flores is arguably the only currently successful head coach to come out of New England and do it somewhere else. McDaniels failed in Denver and Matt Patricia failed in Detroit.

Bill O’Brien, Eric Mangini, Charlie Weis. I don’t think I need to continue. Belichick disciples as head coaches have put together a record of 208-296-1 as of November 28th, 2020. That’s a .413 winning percentage, which is actually somehow worse than Lynn’s .483 percentage.

The genius of the Patriots is Belichick. It starts and ends with him.

McDaniels also made terrible roster decisions when he had full personnel control of the Broncos. Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler was shipped for Kyle Orton. His first-ever draft pick was Knowshon Moreno and he traded UP in the draft to take Tim Tebow. The dude traded up for one of the worst NFL quarterback prospects of all time!

Now one could say that personnel decisions aren’t a huge deal considering he probably wouldn’t have GM power in a Tom Telesco led organization. But Tom Telesco has also struck out on his last few drafts so far.

Jerry Tillery is looking like a bust and going through the last few drafts reveals way more misses than hits. His first three picks in 2019 were Tillery, Nasir Adderley, and Trey Pipkins. Yikes! Somehow I’m not sold on a Telesco-McDaniels personnel brain trust.

So, I’ll ask the question. What has McDaniels done to deserve a second opportunity as a head coach? He quit on the Colts, has had rather pedestrian offenses in the last two seasons, and basically required Brady to play at an MVP level when he “maximized” the Patriots’ offense.

Last time I checked, Brady stacked MVP awards and Super Bowls before McDaniels was in New England.

I completely understand the desire to go with anyone but Lynn right now. Again, #firelynn. Looking at the situation honestly though, I simply cannot say that McDaniels would be an improvement.

Next. Grading five potential 2021 head coaching hires

I said it before in my coaching candidates article last week, but McDaniels’ career is plagued by scandal, deceit, baffling personnel decisions, and consistent underperformance outside of Brady MVP years. Fire Lynn, but there’s no way that McDaniels should be anywhere near the Chargers.