Josh McDaniels is one of the NFL’s hottest head-coaching candidates. He’s also the offensive coordinator of a New England Patriots team preparing to play on wild-card weekend for the first time since 2009.
For now, the latter takes precedence.
Speaking Monday in a conference call with reporters, McDaniels said his sole focus is on Saturday night’s playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, not on head-coaching opportunities.
“I’m 100 percent fully invested in getting ready for Tennessee and trying to put our best performance of the season out there on Saturday night,” McDaniels said. “We have a lot of work to do. That’s where my focus will be. That’s where it’s at now and it’ll stay there. That’s the best thing for our team. It’s the best thing for me. We’re one of 12 teams that have an opportunity to compete in the postseason. And that’s the only way I’ll ever do it.”
McDaniels, who has served as New England’s OC for the last eight seasons and 12 of the last 15, reportedly has received interview requests from the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers and New York Giants, all of whom are in the market for new head coaches.
In the past, McDaniels and other Patriots assistants have interviewed elsewhere during the team’s first-round playoff bye week. Since New England did not receive a bye this season, NFL rules prohibit McDaniels from meeting with prospective suitors until after Saturday’s game. Those interviews must be held in the Foxboro, Mass., area.
Though news of the Browns’ interest broke hours before his call, McDaniels — who reportedly was interested in the Cleveland job last year but never was contacted — said he was not aware of any teams requesting to interview him.
“With all due respect to the question, I’m not even aware of any of that stuff at this point,” said McDaniels, an Ohio native. “When that stuff is presented to me or discussed with me or whatever, then we’ll deal with it appropriately.
“But honestly it’s pretty easy for me in terms of my formula: I’m the offensive coordinator of the Patriots. We have a lot of work to do. We can improve in a lot of areas to try to get ready for this week. It’s our biggest game of the year against certainly the best team we’ve played. This is a postseason game, so our players deserve that, our coaches deserve that, and that’s what they’re going to get from me.”
Thumbnail photo via Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports Images