Although Josh McDaniels, the current offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, interviewed with the Green Bay Packers, the Cleveland Browns are also interested in hiring McDaniels as their next head coach.

Josh McDaniels
New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels with head coach Bill Belichick (right) during pregame warmups. (Image: Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports)

With eight NFL teams seeking to fill head coaching vacancies, the race is on to land the top assistant coaches around the league. The New England Patriots currently have a bye week while they prepare for an AFC Divisional playoff game. However, McDaniels made a quick trip to Green Bay, Wisconsin to talk to the Packers.

McDaniels, 42, won five Super Bowls with the Patriots as a coach. He first became the Pats offensive coordinator in 2006. In 2009, the Denver Broncos hired McDaniels as their head coach, but he only lasted two seasons before GM John Elway fired him. McDaniels returned to the Patriots in 2012, much to the delight of Tom Brady, and they won two more Super Bowls.

Under head coach Bill Belichick, McDaniels engineered an offense tailored to quarterback Brady’s strengths, while meticulously planning and tweaking the playbook to take advantage of their opponents’ weaknesses.

The Wisconsin Shuffle

The Green Bay Packers are interview multiple candidates this weekend including Josh McDaniels. Other coaches under consideration for the Green Bay job include Brian Flores, Dan Campbell, Pete Carmichael, and Matt LaFleur.

Mike McCarthy, the former coach of the Packers, is rumored to be at the top of the short list to become the next head coach of the New York Jets.

McDaniels is an offensive mastermind, but he’d be foolish to pick a new job without a remarkable quarterback. Aaron Rodger is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, which makes Green Bay an attractive situation for McDaniels.

Backdoor Browns

According to a local reporter from Canton, the Browns had opened backdoor channels to reach out to McDaniels.

“McDaniels is enthusiastically interested in the Cleveland opening,” wrote Steve Doerschuk from the Canton Repository. “But they have not invited him to an early interview.”

Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy last year with Oklahoma. The Browns shocked pundits and fans when they selected Mayfield with the overall number one pick. Despite an ugly start, Mayfield played well and the Browns turned around their season. The Browns finished 7-8-1 after they fired head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.

McDaniels and Mayfield seem like a better fit than Rodgers, especially after the Sports Illustrated story that chronicled the rift between Rodgers and ex-coach Mike McCarthy.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, had her named leaked as a potential coaching candidate. The Browns quickly snuffed out that rumor.

Indy Reprise?

Last year, Josh McDaniels interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts, who offered him their head coaching job. With Andrew Luck returning to the mix after missing a season with a shoulder injury, McDaniels accepted the new gig. However, he got cold feet a day later and backed out.

The Colts hired Frank Reich instead. Reich revamped the Colts offense and the locked up a Wild Card berth in this postseason. Under Reich, Andrew Luck is having one of the best seasons of his career.

Rumors out of New England last winter suggested that Tom Brady and/or Robert Kraft talked McDaniels into staying for one more season while the Patriots made a final Super Bowl run in the 2018 season. There’s also another prevailing rumor that Belichick will retire and step down in the ensuing years. If that’s the case, the Patriots want McDaniels to become Belichick’s heir apparent because Brady intends to play for several more seasons.

According to the latest updated Super Bowl odds (courtesy of the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas), the Patriots are 5-1 odds to win Super Bowl LIII.