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Possible Bengals target Josh McDaniels is sticking with the Patriots

McDaniels’ first run as a head coach may have been a failure, but the man who has had more access Bill Belichick’s coaching philosophy than anyone is worth giving another shot.

New England Patriots Victory Parade Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images

The Bengals have already requested a few NFL coaches from outside Cincinnati to replace Marvin Lewis as their head coach, and Josh McDaniels figured to be one of their top outside targets.

However, McDaniels denied an interview request from the Bengals, and now, it appears he won’t be a head coach for anyone in 2019.

McDaniels is the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach with the New England Patriots. He was trained by Bill Belichick and started his career on defense. He has been with Patriots for all five of their Super Bowl titles and was the Patriots offensive coordinator when they set the NFL record for touchdowns back in 2007. He had one previous stint as head coach of the Denver Broncos, which went poorly on and off the field.

Still, there was reason to believe McDaniels and the Bengals could be a logical fit. McDaniels is an Ohio native and son of Thom McDaniels, who is in the Ohio High School Coaches Hall of Fame. The younger McDaniels played quarterback at Canton McKinley and wide receiver at John Carroll.

After a brief stint working for Nick Saban at Michigan State, McDaniels cut his teeth in coaching as an assistant working the New England Patriots defensive backs. A year after taking over as the team’s quarterback coach, he was calling plays. With McDaniels as offensive coordinator in 2007, the Patriots scored an NFL record 75 touchdowns on the way to a 16-0 regular season.

After that season, Belichick gave McDaniels his treatise on what is takes to be a head coach and regularly discussed it with him. In 2008, the Patriots lost Tom Brady for the season, but still managed to win 11 games.

McDaniels was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for two seasons, going 8-8 in his first season and 3-9 before being let go during his second season. After a quick stint with the Rams, he resumed his duties with the Patriots, where he’s been ever since.

But while McDaniels has a lot of fanfare, there is legitimate concern on if he’s cut out to be a head coach for a team that doesn’t have arguably the best NFL quarterback of all time.

The first red flag is what happened with the Indianapolis Colts last offseason. McDaniels agreed to become the head coach of the Colts, but because he was still coaching in the playoffs, he could not officially sign the deal. The Colts proceeded to start signing some of McDaniels’ assistants before he eventually turned the job down. This would naturally make any team weary of McDaniels.

McDaniels previously removed his name from head coaching searches, and as a result, Belichick taught him about being a head coach. This, along with Belichick’s age, has led many to believe that McDaniels may essentially be the head-coach-in-waiting in New England. Perhaps this is why he’s not interested in leaving.

Another issue with McDaniels is that he has been a head coach before and was unsuccessful. Not only did he have an 11-17 record over less than two seasons, he made some bad headlines when it was alleged that he was trying to trade Jay Cutler and later filming an opponent’s walkthrough.

Finally, Belichick has had great success as a head coach, but his assistant have not, Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis both stumbled when they stepped out of Belichick’s shadow. Bill O’Brien struggled last season, but seems to be breaking that mold with the Houston Texans. It should be noted however that O’Brien had significant experience outside of the Belichick system whereas McDaniels has next to none.

Still, McDaniels has been a key part over every Patriots Super Bowl victory, and he was a record-setting offensive coordinator. Belichick’s proteges have not generally fared well, but this time it could be different.

McDaniels’ first stint as a head coach came with controversy and a quarterback issue. With that experience under his belt, along with all Belichick giving him more insight into his coaching philosophy than he has given any other coach, McDaniels could be the guy to turn a franchise around.

But it won’t be the Bengals or any other team, at least in 2019. On to other candidates.