FOXBOROUGH - Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels spoke publicly Friday for the first time since returning to the team after coaching stints with the Broncos and Rams, and while much of the talk centered on him returning to the Patriots, it was hard not to see that he is excited for a very spirited competition between the 11 receivers the Patriots have on the roster.
"Not only do we have a lot of people that have been successful and provided some results individually, but also a lot of them have some real background and knowledge of our system too, which is a little bit of a unique situation," McDaniels said. "But I think that makes for a great competition. I know every year we talk about having great competition at every spot and the receiver position is certainly is going to be filled with that. We’re going to kind of give them all an opportunity. I don’t think you want to assume too many things. Let them go back out there and demonstrate what they know and what they can do and what they can provide our team, and then let the competition play out."
One of the new players, Brandon Lloyd, has been very successful with McDaniels in his coaching stops since leaving the Patriots after the 2008 season.
"Brandon gives us an outside receiver to compete with a lot of the guys that we have here which is going to be an exciting thing for us to kind of watch and see how it all develops because we have some guys that can really do some different things," McDaniels said. "But Brandon is certainly a guy that is familiar with our system. He understands kind of what we ask of the receiver position. He’s brought a skill set on the outside of the perimeter that definitely has been helpful to the offenses that I’ve had a part in the last few years. How he fits in and what we end up doing with him along with the other receiving corp, we’ll kind of find out as we go through the spring and the summer but I’m excited to have the opportunity to coach him again.
"Brandon’s a really likeable person, first of all. He’s a smart player. He’s been dependable, durable and I think you take it year by year. I had an opportunity to form a relationship with him as a coach and as a player and he’s guy that kind of took to our system and gave us an opportunity to do some really good things."
Some other topics McDaniels touched on:
- On what's different about him now: "I’m older. I don’t know. I think we all learn things about ourselves each year and I think I’ve had some experiences that hopefully have really taught me a lot of things about me as a person and certainly as a coach. I’ve learned a lot of things about different ways to do things. I’ve been around a lot of different people that had different philosophies and some I felt were truly interesting and some I learned maybe what I don’t want to do. I think you learn both of those things as you meet new people and experience new things. Just try to take the best from all those experiences and apply them to what I do every day and try to be a better coach."
- On whether he wants to be a head coach again: "That’s not really something I’m worried about or concerned about. I’m really excited about the opportunity that I have here, looking forward very much to this spring and trying to do what we can this year to win."
- On Nate Solder playing left tackle: "I’m getting to know Nate along with a lot of the other players that I wasn’t familiar with on a personal level before. He’s got a great position coach, I know that. I know he did a lot of good things as a rookie last year, and hopefully he can progress and improve this spring. Whatever his role will be, will be determined by kind of how it all sorts out through the competition of camp and the summer."
- On whether the offensive system needs to be dialed back: "I think the foundation of our system has really been the same with our terms and some of the things that we re-teach every year. I think it’s important as coaches to go back to your foundation each spring, don’t assume anything, recall with a lot of our players is something that we expect and that we want to show us and demonstrate. But I think sometimes as coaches it’s really good for your to go back and get to the nuts and bolts of why it started where it did and progressed to wherever it needs to go that year for that team to do the best it can. Each year every team is different. This team certainly, the players we have here are different than any players that I’ve had. The tight ends and backs are younger. I think you just have to go back and reteach your foundation, establish what you believe in in your core each year and build it from there and allow the personnel what direction you go."
- On why he returned to a place where he had already accomplished so much: "I think it’s more about what I have to learn. I think this is a great environment for a young coach to learn and as old as I might feel, I’m still really young and have so much more to learn and understand. There’s not a better teacher than coach Belichick and Mr. Kraft and how we do things here, how we adapt each year I think gives any coach an opportunity to really grasp those things. I obviously feel very strongly about the people here and my relationship hasn’t changed. I just wanted an opportunity to learn and get better myself."
- On if TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are almost considered part of the WR group: "They certainly can do some things similar but I still think that the tight end position is defended differently than the receiver position is. Depends on what personnel groupings we have one the field, and what the defense has on the field. What are the matchups? If they’re being played with safeties and linebackers, which many times they are, then certainly it’s more of a tight end oriented position for them. At times they are played with defensive backs and you can do some different things with that there. But I think the versatility that they provide our offense is really unique. The skill sets that they certainly have demonstrated in the first two years are pretty special and it will be exciting to see how this year evolves and what we can do to continue to challenge and they all can continue to grow and get better."
- On signing a veteran RB in Joseph Addai: "It’s great to have that veteran presence there. Danny (Woodhead) also provides that, I think. He’s been in the league a while now too. So he’s good for the room. It’s really going to be exciting to see the development of those young players. I know Shane (Vereen) missed some time last year with some injuries and Stevan (Ridley) really had an opportunity to really kind of get in there and get some action, but that’s a position that we’ve got some youth, we’ve got some experience, we certainly have some depth and we’ll find out as the competition unfolds how it’s going to play out for the season."