Josh McDaniels might not be cut out to be a head coach at this stage of his career, but he’s an ideal offensive coordinator, especially for a team with a young quarterback looking to become “elite.” That’s why McDaniels will fit in well in St. Louis, where he’ll run the offence and try to do with Sam Bradford what he did with Tom Brady and Kyle Orton.
Important precaution: When McDaniels started working with Brady in New England in 2004, Tom Terrific had already won two Super Bowls. And when McDaniels got his hands on Orton, he was already a seasoned veteran. Bradford is coming off a good rookie season, but he has a longer way to go than those two did.
Regardless, here’s a look at what Brady did pre-McDaniels compared to what he’s done since McDaniels became his position coach:
Pre-McDaniels: 61.9%, 217.0 YPG, 6.6 YPA, 69 TD, 38 INT, 86.0 rating
Since McDaniels: 64.4%, 252.7 YPG, 7.7 YPA, 192 TD, 65 INT, 99.7 rating
As for Orton:
Pre-McDaniels: 55.0%, 161.2 YPG, 5.8 YPA, 30 TD, 27 INT, 71.1 rating
Since McDaniels: 60.5%, 256,0 YPG, 7.2 YPA, 41 TD, 21 INT, 87.0 rating
Oh, and don’t forget what McDaniels did with Matt Cassel when Brady went down with a season-ending knee injury in 2008.
I’m a bit worried that McDaniels, who was a control freak in Denver, won’t know his place behind head coach Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis. Now that he’s been on a power trip, will he be able to surrender the final say to someone else? The good news is that because Spags is a defensive-minded coach, McDaniels should have full reign over the offence.
Pat Shurmur was in charge of the offence in 2010. He did a great job getting bradford acclimated to a faster pace of football by keeping things simple in the West Coast offence. McDaniels will likely want to make sweeping changes, but a work stoppage could interfere with that process.
Still, McDaniels has one big advantage in St. Louis that he didn’t really have in Denver and barely had in New England — the Rams have a great running back (Steven Jackson is still only 27) and a budding offensive line (Rodger Saffold can only get better). That’ll make things easier for McDaniels and Bradford as they work together to help the offence find consistency.
“We’ll hope to build around those two guys and do the best we can going forward with our offensive system,” McDaniels said, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
That’s a good plan. Now, how long will it take to implement it?