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Hannable: Breaking down all the options for Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia when it comes to head-coaching jobs

Ryan Hannable
January 01, 2018 - 10:17 pm

Black Monday is now over and it wasn’t quite as dark as many imagined.

At the end of the day there are six head-coaching jobs now available: Giants, Colts, Bears, Raiders, Lions and Cardinals.

As expected, Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia are in high demand and requests have already come in for them to interview this coming weekend when the Patriots are off due to their first-round bye.

Here’s what we know now (all according to reports): McDaniels has been requested by the Colts and Giants, while Patricia has been requested by the Lions, Giants and Cardinals. In addition, the Bears are reportedly interested in McDaniels and the Cardinals have also requested to interview Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores.

Both McDaniels and Patricia have interviewed for multiple jobs before, but they are not going take a job just for the sake of taking one, especially McDaniels, who has already been a head coach before, 10 years ago with the Broncos. 

There are some attractive jobs available, so if both were inclined to leave New England this might be the year.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of the jobs potentially available for the Patriots coordinators to interview for and potentially take.

LIONS

Patricia has been requested and it’s easy to understand why. General manager Bob Quinn was with the Patriots from 2009-15. He was the assistant director of pro personnel from 2009-11 and then the director of pro scouting from 2012-15 before he became the Lions’ GM in 2016. Having familiarity with the GM and sharing similar beliefs is big, so that box is instantly checked off for Patricia.

It appears the organization plans on keeping offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter and potentially other offensive assistants, which could make it more attractive to Patricia. As a defensive-minded coach, he wouldn’t have to worry much about that side of the ball, especially given Cooter’s familiarity with quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is one of the better quarterbacks in the league. 

It would make most sense for this hire to be a defensive coach, so Detroit may be the best fit of them all for Patricia if he’s willing to leave New England considering he has a connection to the GM, a good quarterback and solid backing from ownership. 

COLTS

Only McDaniels has been requested by the Colts and it’s for the same reason Patricia is being requested by the Lions. The Colts job likely will go to an offensive-minded coach given the chance to work with Andrew Luck, which also comes with a lot of questions. He missed the entire season due to a shoulder injury, but reports say he’s doing better and should start throwing soon. He hasn’t played in over a year, so it’s hard to know what will happen when he does return to action. 

A lot of the Deflategate people within the organization (cough, cough Ryan Grigson) are gone, so that isn’t an issue. General manager Chris Ballard is in his second year, fairly young and by all accounts appears good to work with. But there’s still owner Jim Irsay hanging over everything. He isn’t what he was a few years ago, but is it worth taking the risk and joining the organization after seeing what he’s done in the past, and how involved he can get?

The defense has a number of former Patriots players, so McDaniels has a better idea than most what its ceiling is. If he believes in the defense and especially in Luck, then it’s a solid job and certainly worth considering. With that being said, there appear to be too many things up in the air (Luck and Irsay) and when you’re looking for the perfect job, these two things become a turnoff.

GIANTS

Both McDaniels and Patricia have been requested to interview and according to a report Sunday, are 1A and 1B in the eyes of new general manager Dave Gettleman. Although neither have any connection to the ex-Panthers GM, Bill Belichick still has a lot of connections with the franchise. He’s close with owner John Mara and friendly with Ernie Accorsi, who helped the organization with their recent GM search. Surely, Belichick would offer his support for both if asked.

Once looked at as arguably the best job to potentially became available this offseason considering the prestige of the franchise, it’s now gone the other way with all the internal messes the new coach will need to clean up with the team. With the way the Eli Manning situation was handled and the PR nightmare that followed, with Mara partly at fault, he likely will be in the ear of the new head coach making sure any big decisions are approved. Add in Gettleman being in his first year and wanting to make a mark, there appear to be too many voices potentially being involved in the decision making.

While New York is a great market and the Giants are a historic franchise, from this viewpoint there seem to be too many red flags with this job after everything that has taken place this year to make it a viable option for either Patriots coordinator.

CARDINALS

Patricia and Flores have been requested to interview, which is interesting because Arizona is effectively in an offensive rebuild and does it make sense to hire a defensive-minded coach? Other coaches to be requested for interviews reportedly include Eagles quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur.

For both Patricia and Flores it seems like a lot of pressure to take over a franchise with so much riding on what happens on the offensive side of the ball. Certainly, it will be good experience to interview, especially for Flores with it being his first, but this just doesn’t seem like the right fit for either of them.

BEARS

McDaniels hasn’t yet been requested, but it’s been reported the organization is interested. There is a connection with his brother Ben being an offensive assistant there since last season. 

The Bears did the right thing Monday and extended general manager Ryan Pace through 2021, which makes it seem the new coach will get a contract through 2021 as well. This was smart as it eliminates any tension between new coach and GM when it comes to the GM potentially pushing too hard to win immediately and not staying patient.

Pace seems like a decent guy to work with and there’s a former No. 2 draft pick at quarterback with Mitchell Trubisky. If McDaniels is a big fan of Trubisky then it instantly makes it an attractive job, but there may be some question if their two styles match.

Chicago seems to be at the bottom of the list of potential destinations for McDaniels.

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