FOXBOROUGH – Looking for the first time at the arsenal he'll have at his disposal now that he's returned to the New England Patriots – from the Aaron Hernandez-Rob Gronkowski one-two punch at tight end to Tom Brady and the army of wide receivers he'll have to throw to – offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Josh McDaniels couldn't help but be giddy about the possibilities.
He was asked if his new job is as fun as it looks.
“Yes.” he said, emphatically. “Yes it is.”
After leaving the Patriots in 2009, McDaniels spent two years as head coach of the Denver Broncos before spending last season as the St. Louis Rams's offensive coordinator. Now, he's returned to New England, where he will head a fully loaded offense that accounted for 6,848 total yards last season.
It's more potent than the one he left behind after the 2008-09 season (fifth in the NFL that year) and dramatically better than last year's Rams (the second worst offense in the league), and those differences gave him reasons to be excited about the upcoming season as the Patriots opened camp.
“The tight ends are different,” McDaniels said. “The backs are a little younger. Things have changed. There's a few different coaches on our staff, but I think that happens at every team every year in the NFL and we just adapt. We're so used to doing it by now that it just comes with the territory. But it's exciting. You start to formulate what you're going to actually be in training camp. There's always some things that change in training camp as well, so it will be exciting to see how it kind of unfolds.”
Coming back to the organization that molded him as a coach, McDaniels said, “This is home for me. It feels great to be back.”
Asked if the time had flown by since he left, though, the 36-year-old said by no means did it feel that way.
“My body doesn't feel like that, no,” he said, grinning. “I feel older. But again, there's so many great people here that it's wonderful to see all of them.”
Knocking the first day of camp out of the way gave him some ideas about what he'd like to see going forward.
“You come out and you make some exciting plays and you make some mistakes that you have to correct, but that's the fun part,” he said. “We get to go in now and watch the film with the players and correct some of the things we didn't do well today and hopefully we'll do well tomorrow. But it was good to be out here.”