Pats Glad McDaniels Stuck Around Foxboro

November 7, 2018
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will probably be sought out after the season by other NFL teams with head coaching vacancies despite what happened in Indianapolis last year. AP PHOTO Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

He may be the most hated man in Indianapolis. People in the Midwestern city are known for being gracious and nice to a fault. But Josh McDaniels is enemy No. 1 there -- and rightfully so.

McDaniels, the offensive coordinator of the Patriots, accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Colts following last season. He even had begun to assemble his staff, according to reports, when he got cold feet.

In a move that stunned the NFL, McDaniels changed his mind, leaving the Colts at the altar and deciding to remain on Bill Belichick’s staff.

At the time, there was speculation that McDaniels received a wink-wink deal from the Patriots that he would take over the team when Belichick retires.

Regardless of why McDaniels stayed in Foxboro, Patriots fans should be grateful that he did.

Yes, he has Tom Brady at the controls of his offense, but McDaniels is damn good at what he does.

Consider the Patriots are 2-0 this season and averaging 39 points when all-world tight end Rob Gronkowski hasn’t been able to play.

On Sunday, with Gronkowski and top running back Sony Michel on the sidelines, the Patriots’ offense had plenty of awkward moments. But McDaniels called a brilliant game, as he often does.

No Michel to gain tough yards in the middle of the field? He called on wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who rushed 11 times for 61 yards to lead the Patriots. One of his carries was a 5-yard touchdown run and Sunday marked the second straight week in which he led the team in rushing.

The Raiders used Patterson out of the backfield sparingly last season, but not to this degree.

In August, the Patriots looked like they had an abundance of running backs: Jeremy Hill, Rex Burkhead, James White, Michel and Mike Gillislee.

Hill is hurt and out for the season. Burkhead and Michel remain on the sidelines. Gillislee was long ago cut, leaving the Patriots very shorthanded at the position.

Thanks to McDaniels’ game plans, however, the Patriots, winners of six straight, keep rolling.

And McDaniels isn’t afraid to get creative. With the Patriots and Packers tied 17-17, wide receiver Julian Edelman lofted a 37-yard pass down to the Packers’ 2, the key play in the game.

McDaniels will again be a hot commodity after the season. If he decides to leave -- really leave this time -- it will be a big loss at Gillette Stadium.

News and notes

Congrats to former Lowell High running standout Brian Gagnon for joining the Dracut Fire Department. If there’s a more fit firefighter in the Merrimack Valley than Gagnon, I’d like to meet the person. ... Lowell High senior running back/linebacker Justin Villaneuva recently announced on Twitter that he received his first offer from Saint Anselm College. ...

Word out of the North Shore is that Jon Cahill is set to be named the next Beverly High baseball coach.

UMass Lowell baseball fans have fond memories of Cahill, a Peabody product. He’s one of the top players to ever wear a River Hawk uniform. The UMass Lowell Hall of Famer previously coached baseball at Endicott and Merrimack. At UML, Cahill was a star shortstop/pitcher who led the River Hawks to the Division 2 World Series after years of falling just short.

His teammates got him a Superman T-shirt he used to wear under his uniform since he often played like had super powers.

Follow Barry Scanlon on Twitter @BarryScanlonSun

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