‘Do Your Job Part III’ Places Spotlight On Bill Belichick-Josh McDaniels Relationship


The first two “Do Your Job” specials featured rare interviews with nearly every member of the New England Patriots’ coaching staff. The third takes a decidedly different approach.

In “Do Your Job Part III: Bill Belichick and the 2018 Patriots,” which premieres Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network, the filmmakers narrowed their focus to include just two voices: Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

The new format both makes logistical sense — five Patriots assistants left the team this offseason, including three of the four defensive position coaches — and paints an engaging picture of the bond between Belichick and his top lieutenant.

“It?s hard for me to imagine anybody being a better leader and a better role model for a young coach,” says McDaniels, who joined the Patriots as an entry-level coaching assistant in 2001. “He gives you responsibility, and then he lets you do your job. Because we’re not being micromanaged, that gives you confidence, and then you start to build trust. That?s just how a good organization works, and he fosters that every day.”

Long before he helped turn the Patriots’ offense into a perennial juggernaut, McDaniels filled his day with necessary grunt work under Belichick’s watchful eye. As a coaching assistant, he was tasked with compiling “pads” — hand-drawn, ultra-detailed breakdowns of each play.

“It didn?t matter what it was,” McDaniels recalls. “If the receiver?s split was 4 yards outside the numbers but I only had it as 2, there would be a yellow sticky note by the receiver, and I would get it back, and it would say, ?This is plus-4, not plus-2.? He was basically teaching me how to work at his level. ‘No, it?s not OK to be good. It?s not OK to be detailed most of the time. What I want is as close to perfect as you can make it.’ ”

Nearly two decades later, Belichick essentially gives McDaniels free rein to craft the Patriots’ offensive scheme as he sees fit.

?I give him a little bit of input, but 90 to 95 percent is his plan, his vision,” Belichick says. “Rarely do we see things that differently. But sometimes there will be things that I suggest. Sometimes he?ll say, ?I think that would be great,? and sometimes he?ll say, ?I don?t really think this is the right time for us to do that. Here?s the reason why.? And he?s usually right.?

One line in Belichick’s speech during the Patriots’ latest Super Bowl ring ceremony, which opens the film, succinctly sums up the admiration he has toward McDaniels.

?Josh,” Belichick says, “I?m glad you didn?t go to Indianapolis. Let?s start with that.”

Given this weekend’s big news out of Indianapolis, McDaniels surely feels the same way.

Some other highlights from “Do Your Job Part III”:

— Those hoping for the same X’s-and-O’s insight provided by the first two entries in this series won’t be disappointed. Belichick and McDaniels go deep on how the Patriots assembled their postseason game plans after morphing into a power-running outfit late in the regular season.

“One of the things that I?m so thoroughly impressed with Bill on is his ability to adapt and evolve,” McDaniels says. “He said, ?If you keep holding on to what you?d rather be — no-huddle, spread formations, 34 points a game — then you?re probably going to end up regretting a lot of things at the end of the year.? What are we really good at? What?s the most consistent part of our team offensively? And then you commit to it. We had been a pretty decent running football team. It was something that we felt like our personnel fit.”

In three playoff games, the Patriots averaged 161.7 rushing yards per game and scored nine rushing touchdowns, including six by rookie Sony Michel.

“It?s going to be I-formation, running a lead play, gaining 6 yards, line up, do it again,” McDaniels says. “You?ve got to be content saying, ?I?m going to try to win this way, because this is the way we can win.? And I think our team really embraced that. We were adaptable. Tom, if he?s supposed to hand it off 37 times and win that way, then he?ll do it. If we need him to throw it 52 times, then he?ll do that, too. It?s the same way Bill is. Bill doesn?t care if we?ve got to win 43-40 or 13-10. The willingness to be able to do that is really a special trait.”

— The coverage scheme the Patriots employed to lock down Tyreek Hill in the AFC Championship Game was the same one they used to stifle Colts star wideout T.Y. Hilton on that same stage four years earlier.

?Kansas City is a very hard team to play,” McDaniels says. “Earlier in the year, their explosive passing game was very, very dangerous. They stretched the field vertically with Hill. So we didn?t want to give him an opportunity to beat us in one play.?

— Belichick still is salty about the missed offensive pass interference call that set up a Chiefs touchdown in that game.

“You can legally make contact with a defender within a yard of the line of scrimmage,” he vents. “(Chris) Conley ran into (J.C.) Jackson 4 yards downfield. It was pretty clear what that play was and how it should have been called.?

— The Patriots played the disrespect card throughout their run to Super Bowl LIII, most notably in Tom Brady’s “everyone thinks we suck” interview after their divisional-round throttling of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The film reveals Belichick openly fanned those flames.

?Don?t believe all the other (expletive) out there about how bad we are and how bad we suck and all that, how old we are,” the coach says during a postgame locker room speech late in the regular season. “Just keep doing what we?re doing.?

— In a clip meant to illustrate McDaniels’ relationship with Brady, the 42-year-old quarterback complains to his longtime position coach after being forced to cede reps to his backups during a spring practice drill. The following comical exchange ensues:

McDaniels: ?We?ve got six plays in the period. I?ve got 19 quarterbacks. I?m trying to ? ”

Brady: ?I?m hot right now. You can?t take out a pitcher who?s throwing a no-hitter. Especially when it?s the fourth inning.?

McDaniels: ?I know, but you?re old. I?ve got to save your body.?

Brady: ?That?s true, save my arm.?

— “America’s Game: 2018 Patriots” will premiere at 9 p.m. ET next Wednesday, immediately following “Do Your Job” on NFL Network.

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