NFL Network analyst and former Patriots fullback Heath Evans joined the Mut & Merloni show Friday morning to analyze Saturday's Patriots-Broncos matchup, and one of the topics of discussion was the addition of Josh McDaniels to the Patriots staff to help the team make a smooth transition from outgoing offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien. Evans compared the situation to the 2005 Patriots, and he revealed some information about Eric Mangini's acrimonious departure from New England that led to Bill Belichick holding a longstanding grudge.
"Let me backtrack back to '05," Evans said. "In '05 Belichick gives Mangini permission to go interview with the Jets. He comes back -- basically, we all knew he was getting that job -- and spends the week recruiting front office staff and players to go with him. Not really doing his job. We go to Denver, lay an egg [in] Round 2 of the playoffs."
Added Evans: "The bottom line is people always think that Belichick was mad at Mangini because he went to the Jets or he went somewhere in the division. No, it's because ultimately, he screwed our team over when he came back. A man's supposed to be only as good as his word. So, I'll just leave it at that. He gave Bill his word to come back, we'll coach, we'll be focused on the Patriots to finish out this '05 season.
"Listen, we were underhanded a lot in that year in a lot of ways, but we still should have beaten that Denver Broncos team and at least gotten to the AFC championship game."
Evans said he does not expect similar developments with this season's team.
"Not that Billy O'Brien would ever that, because I know Bill and he's not going to do that," he said. "But ultimately, when your mind's in two places -- which it almost has to be when you've committed your future to Penn State -- I think this was a good add and a timely add. Everyone hates it, 'Oh, this has got to be against the rules.' Well, it's not. This is Bill Belichick, always being ahead of everyone else.
"I think it's a good add. I think the future is good. Obviously, [Tom] Brady knows Josh. I was there with Josh. You won't find a much sharper football mind than what Josh has. So, I think the future is good. But I like the pick for the here and now, too. People can say too many hens in the henhouse. I don't think that applies here because of the structure and the discipline of which Belichick runs his organization. I just don't see it being a detriment in any way, shape or form."
As for Saturday's game, Evans likes the Patriots.
"I think the best thing about this game is, if the Broncos play their best game and the Patriots play their best game, you guys probably win by 15, 20 points," he said.
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