New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - chick of the New England Patriots DECEMBER 18: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and head coach Josh McDaniels of the Las Vegas Raiders talk before a game at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)

Whether or not Patriots head coach Bill Belichick returns for a 25th season on the New England sidelines is currently unknown.

That’s to be decided at some point following additional meetings between Belichick and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. But with no concrete timeline on a decision to be made by Kraft — though many insiders predict that he would like to make a decision sooner rather than later — it’s a situation that has left Belichick to operate as if everything’s normal and shift his focus to improving the team for 2024 and beyond.

That’s extended beyond the on-field product, too, with a new rumor linking the Patriots back to a longtime coach who’s truly never too far from Foxborough and is once again looking for work for next season.

  • It’s about as predictable a rumor as this offseason could’ve drawn up, too, with a new report from The Athletic’s Jeff Howe noting that Josh McDaniels could return to the Patriots’ coaching staff if Belichick remains the team’s head coach for 2024.

    Jeff Howe on Twitter: "Josh McDaniels could return to Patriots if Bill Belichick remains as coach: Sources https://t.co/5s2kI3hGgK / Twitter"

    Josh McDaniels could return to Patriots if Bill Belichick remains as coach: Sources https://t.co/5s2kI3hGgK

    Back on the hunt for NFL work, the 47-year-old is looking for work after a disastrous run in Las Vegas, with a 9-16 run as the head coach of the Raiders in less than two years on the job, and with McDaniels (along with general manager Dave Ziegler) fired on Halloween after a 3-5 start to the 2023 season.

    But despite his latest struggles, “McDaniels and Belichick have remained close, and McDaniels has long been one of Kraft’s favorite members of the organization,” per Howe’s report.

    McDaniels was also spotted at Gillette Stadium for New England’s regular season finale this past Sunday in what was his first ‘public’ appearance since he was fired by the Raiders.

  • FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels walks with owner Robert Kraft before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 27: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels walks with owner Robert Kraft before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Obviously the gigantic caveat to this report is the ‘if’ as it relates to Belichick returning to the Patriots.

    But if you’re looking at this from a pro-Belichick standpoint as it relates to his plan on selling Kraft of brighter days ahead, it’s worth noting that 2021 was the last time things looked ‘normal’ for this club on the offensive side of the ball, and that came with McDaniels running the offense.

    There’s also a natural comfort that comes with McDaniels from a Kraft point of view in the sense that McDaniels has had two separate runs with the Patriots, and that New England’s offense has seemingly always looked capable at the very least with McDaniels at the helm as the team’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. That has not been the case since his departure.

  • during the New England Patriots practice on February 2,2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4.

    EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA — Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick during the New England Patriots practice on February 2, 2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

    First with the Patriots from 2001 through 2008 first as an assistant and ultimately working his way up to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the final three years of his original tenure with the organization, McDaniels departed the Patriots for what wos a three-year excursion to Denver and St. Louis as a head coach with the Broncos and offensive coordinator with St. Louis.

    McDaniels would then return to the Pats as their offensive coordinator from 2012 through 2021, and helped lead the club to another three Super Bowl championships as Tom Brady’s right-hand man.

    McDaniels is also among those who have been on Belichick’s staff for all six of the Super Bowls that Belichick has won with the Patriots.

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 26: during the second half of a preseason game between the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Chris Unger)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 26: during the second half of a preseason game between the Las Vegas Raiders and New England Patriots at Allegiant Stadium on August 26, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada (Photo by Chris Unger)

    McDaniels also got more out of 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones than the tandem of Matt Patricia and Joe Judge in 2022 and Bill O’Brien in 2023 ever did.

    Giving the keys to the rookie, Jones and the Patriots averaged 27.2 points per game in 2021 in the McDaniels offense, which ranked sixth in the NFL. The Patriots also ranked 15th in offensive yards per game (353.4 yards per game) during the 2021 season.

    Jones, meanwhile, put together a season that included 3,801 passing yards (223.6 per game) with 22 touchdowns and a 67.6 completion percentage. Those are all career-highs for Jones through the first three years of his NFL career, and same for his 92.5 QB rating during the 2021 season.

    If Kraft still believes in Jones and believes that it’s been coaching more than anything else, bringing McDaniels back would be a step in the right direction on that front.

    And if Kraft seems to think like Belichick and that Jones is not the guy for this franchise moving forward, that 2021 success with McDaniels leading a rookie quarterback is a promising sign for a Patriots club that will seemingly have a legitimate chance at drafting USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

  • LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Josh McDaniels (L) of the Las Vegas Raiders and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shake hands as they talk before their game at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – DECEMBER 18: Head coach Josh McDaniels (L) of the Las Vegas Raiders and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots shake hands as they talk before their game at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders defeated the Patriots 30-24. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

    According to Howe, Belichick will need to present Kraft with a detailed plan for the future, and while that plan will certainly have to include more than McDaniels, it’s no shock that he’s part of that pitch.

    Especially with the club looking to rediscover the organizational synergy that made them the envy of the league for almost two decades.

Sign me up for the 98.5 The Sports Hub email newsletter!

Get the latest Boston sports news and analysis, plus exclusive on-demand content and special giveaways from Boston's Home for Sports, 98.5 The Sports Hub.

*
*
By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.