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Tennessee Titans' Coaching Candidate Profile: Josh McDaniels

McDaniels and Mariota would be a perfect match.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Current job: New England Patriots' Offensive Coordinator

Age: 39

Head coaching record: 11-17 (Denver Broncos)


Josh McDaniels broke into the NFL as a personnel assistant in 2001 for the New England Patriots. He actually started on the defensive side of the ball, coaching the secondary.  McDaniels moved to the offensive side of the ball in 2004 when he became the Patriots' quarterbacks coach.  Following Charlie Weis' departure for Notre Dame, McDaniels took over the play-calling in 2005. He was given the formal title of offensive coordinator in 2006.

In 2009, McDaniels took the Broncos head coaching job.  He inherited Jay Cutler, but immediately traded him to Chicago for picks and Kyle Orton. McDaniels led the Broncos to a 6-0 start, but crumpled to a 2-8 finish. The following offseason, McDaniels and his staff drafted Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas.  After a 3-9 start to his season, McDaniels was fired.

He landed in St. Louis as an offensive coordinator again, but that didn't last long.  McDaniels returned to New England at the end of that season and was once again named the Patriots offensive coordinator in 2012. He's been in that role ever since.

Why McDaniels?

McDaniels has spent over a decade on Bill Belichick's staff.  He's orchestrated some of the most prolific offenses in NFL history.  Things in Denver didn't work out, but McDaniels was given an incredibly short hook due to speculation of a videotaping scandal in 2010.

McDaniels utilizes a quick, short passing game that works to find mismatches. His scheme matches his personnel to perfection.  The Patriots seemingly have a different plan of attack each week. If they feel like they can run on you, they'll run it 40 times a game.  If they feel like they can't run on you? They'll pass every down.  They don't care.

Same goes for McDaniels' play-calling and Brady's audibles. If they get corners playing press coverage, you can bet Brady is taking a shot down the field.  If you lag off and give Edelman or Amendola space, Brady is going to abuse you with quick hitters until you stop him.

Here's an example.

Brady and McDaniels make a living on these simple out routes.  They'll use it almost like a run game when they have to.  Edelman and Amendola are outstanding route runners and really make this offense pop.  If the defense keeps jamming, they use motion to free up receivers. It's fascinating to watch.

Here is an example of a different approach.

Brady gets what he wants here, which is a cover zero look. Without the presence of a deep safety, all Brandon LaFell had to do was win his release off of the line, which he did.

What the Patriots do isn't all that complicated.  They just take what you give them and exploit the matchups that they see as favorable. If they Titans hired McDaniels it would be a process just like any other hire, but McDaniels would be a good match for Marcus Mariota.

Mariota adapted so quickly to the Whisenhunt scheme.  He took the coaching change in stride and didn't skip a beat as Jason Michael and Mike Mularkey stepped up.  I have no doubts that Mariota could operate any offensive scheme, but McDaniels could really play to his strengths.

McDaniels would be able to highlight one of Mariota's best areas, which is the intermediate game.  Mariota has come along so quickly with his decision making, but McDaniels could create favorable matchups for him, perhaps even manufacturing some separation downfield -- something that the Titans have struggled with this season.

Personnel wise, the well isn't totally dry.  Kendall Wright has under-achieved to this point, but could flourish with new coaching and a different philosophy.  Delanie Walker has been outstanding and has proven to be a matchup problem for a lot of defenses.  You have a developmental guy in Green-Beckham.  McDaniels has gotten production out of cheap backs that they've signed off the street, too.  Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, LeGarrett Blount, Jonas Gray, etc.

To me, McDaniels deserves another shot.  He's been in the Patriots organization for over a decade under Belichick's watch. Sure -- he's had Tom Brady and a great group of skill players, but I think we've seen enough from Marcus to say that he's someone that you can build a dynasty around. If McDaniels wants another shot, Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee Titans could be the perfect landing spot for him.