Could O’Brien ascend like McDaniels?

Our friend Mike Klis offered up a pretty deep profile on Broncos coach Josh McDaniels in Sunday’s edition of the Denver Post and, as Pro Football Talk pointed out yesterday, there was a very interesting piece of detail in there.

So what happened in McDaniels’ first season of coaching Brady, the league’s best quarterback? The two went three weeks without speaking to each other. Brady went on to have a Pro Bowl season, and the Patriots made the playoffs. And, two years later, McDaniels, by then officially promoted to offensive coordinator, helped Brady set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes in a season. Clearly, McDaniels and Brady got past their spat.

Yup. They sure did. In 2006, Brady absolutely carried the Patriots, throwing for 3,529 yards and 24 touchdowns, despite having the fact that his best receiver, Jabar Gaffney, didn’t arrive until that October. In 2007, with an replenishing of talent, Brady and the Patriots broke all the records. Then, in ’08, McDaniels proved it wasn’t all the quarterback, keeping New England in the Top 5 offensively even after losing Brady 15 snaps into the season.

Fact is, McDaniels was always a good offensive coach, but the reporting of that McDaniels-Brady issue shows that becoming a coordinator wasn’t like flipping a switch for Josh. He did enough to earn the title after the 2005, and Bill O’Brien hasn’t yet … Which is enough to cause at least some concern. But all of you can be heartened by this story. It shows that most any young coach has some things to work through to take on that heightened responsibility, and there’s still time for O’Brien to do just that.


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