The New England Patriots have two hot commodities as NFL teams search for their next head coaches.
Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, 39, and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, 41, each have been requested to be interviewed for head-coaching opportunities. McDaniels, who served as the Denver Broncos’ head coach in 2009 and 2010, has been linked to jobs before, but this is the first year Patricia has been a candidate.
The Patriots’ preseason finale likely revealed the next coordinator candidates if McDaniels or Patricia were to be hired away from the Patriots. Tight ends coach Brian Daboll, 40, called offensive plays for the Patriots in Week 4 of the 2015 preseason against the New York Giants, while linebackers coach Patrick Graham, 36, ran the defense. Daboll and Graham were called to duty because McDaniels and Patricia had already begun work on the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots’ Week 1 opponents.
Daboll has offensive coordinator experience with the Cleveland Browns from 2009 to 2010, Miami Dolphins in 2010 and Kansas City Chiefs in 2011. Daboll began his NFL career with the New England Patriots as a defensive coaching assistant from 2000 to 2001. He moved up to wide receivers coach from 2002 to 2006 before moving on to the New York Jets as quarterbacks coach from 2007 to 2008.
The Browns ranked 32nd in total offense in 2009 and 29th in 2010. The 2011 Dolphins offense ranked 22nd and the 2012 Chiefs ranked 24th. Daboll worked with starting quarterbacks Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Matt Moore, Chad Henne and Matt Cassel during his time as a coordinator. He almost certainly would run the same offense McDaniels, Bill O’Brien and Charlie Weis coached with the Patriots.
Graham began with the Patriots in 2009 as a defensive coaching assistant after working his way up the college ranks. He moved up to defensive assistant coach in 2010, linebackers coach in 2011, defensive line coach from 2012 and 2013 and back to linebackers coach from 2014 to present.
Some Patriots fans have wondered if Belichick would hire Chip Kelly as offensive coordinator if McDaniels were to leave. That seems unlikely since Belichick has always promoted in-house options.
It’s possible the Patriots wouldn’t officially name Daboll or Graham as coordinators immediately. The Patriots went the 2009 and 2010 season without an official offensive coordinator, with O’Brien serving the unofficial role, and the 2010 and 2011 seasons without a defensive coordinator, with Patricia in the unofficial position.
But, since Belichick handed the keys to Daboll and Graham in Week 4 of the preseason, they’re the most likely candidates to take over if McDaniels and Patricia find themselves on the way out of Foxboro.
Thumbnail photo via Jim Dedmon/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Aug 28, 2015; Charlotte, NC, USA; New England Patriots coaches Matt Patricia and Patrick Graham watch their defense during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. New England wins 17-16 over the Panthers. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports