The Browns will meet with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Saturday in the New England area about the head coaching job in Cleveland. Most articles seem to indicate that McDaniels is the Brown ‘primary target’ but the Browns will also interview Arizona’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
Seeing as how the Browns defense ranked ninth in yards allowed per game on defense and 18th in yards gained on offense it would seem that the Browns could benefit from an offensive minded coach rather than a defensive minded one. Their defense is doing decent and they need to draft and develop a quarterback, which is what McDaniels could bring to the table.
The question is, if and when McDaniels goes, who would take over at offensive coordinator for the Patriots? Since the Patriots don’t often look to hire big names, it’s probably someone within the Patriots organization and I’m thinking it’s Brian Daboll.
Daboll has a 14-year career in the NFL and served as the Patriots wide receivers coach in 2002. He then left in 2006 and became the Jets quarterbacks coach. Daboll then became the offensive coordinator in 2009 with Eric Mangini in Cleveland where the offense ranked 32nd and 29th in the NFL in his two seasons. He didn’t have much to work with there as the quarterbacks were a big pile of poo in Brady Quinn, Brett Ratliff, Colt McCoy and Senaca Wallace.
Daboll was then named offensive coordinator in Miami in 2011 under Tony Sparano. There he led the previously ranked 30th offense to become the 20th ranked offense. In February of 2012, Daboll was named offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs, working with former Patriots and Belichick disciples Romeo Crennel and GM Scott Pioli.
Daboll was brought back to New England to finish off the 2012-13 season and maybe it’s no coincidence. McDaniels was offered the same job last offseason, but declined and maybe there’s a reason for that. McDaniels and the Browns are in virtually the same position they were in last season except maybe there was an unspoken agreement between the Patriots and McDaniels that he would groom Daboll. The timeline fits.
Daboll has experience the league and worked for two of the three AFC East division rivals in the Jets and Dolphins. Some may say his bouncing around is a bad thing, but in the NFL it can be a great thing. He’s not programmed to think like Belichick all the time. Belichick is great, but a group of leaders that all think the same is predictable and differences of opinion make for better strategy.
There’s no way to know how it’s going to shake out with McDaniels, but if he leaves for Cleveland, based on how the Patriots generally operate, I think that Daboll will be the next offensive coordinator and a good one at that. After all, he will have a future hall of fame quarterback in Tom Brady to help the transition.