For the first time in 10 years, the New England Patriots will not be playing in the Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs. As the offseason arrives early in Foxborough, rumors about who might leave the organization after a disappointing year have already begun in earnest, most prominently around Tom Brady. But even before their playoff loss, the rumor mill had already churned out several juicy tidbits about offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, a yearly candidate for open head coach positions. McDaniels already has an interview scheduled for the Giants' job, and both the Browns and Panthers have expressed interest as well.
All of these organizations would be making a massive mistake by bringing McDaniels on board.
Everyone knows the Patriots' offense was bad this season. Chalk that up mostly to the personnel. These people aren't necessarily wrong, either; Julian Edelman was the only non-RB pass-catcher anyone would consider even above-average. While more was expected of Sony Michel, the offensive line was banged up the entire season, and both the run and pass game suffered as a result. Between injuries, newcomers struggling to learn the complicated New England offense on the fly, and Tom Brady looking older than he ever has, McDaniels wasn't exactly given the best hand to create a functioning NFL offense.
But the best offensive coordinators (and McDaniels has long been pegged as one of the very best) are able to create something out of nothing. New England didn't enjoy the premier weapons they have in the past this season, sure, but they weren't completely lacking for talent; Rex Burkehead has often been an impact contributor, James White is one of the receiving backs in the NFL, Michel had enough talent to warrant a first-round pick only last season, and the Patriots won a Super Bowl with Edelman and Philip Dorsett as the primary wideout options. Losing Rob Gronkowski in the offseason hurt, but the roster wasn't barebones. Brady can't will his team to wins anymore, but he's still in complete control of the offense and proved this season he can make the throws he needs to -- when they're there, that is.