Colts-Josh McDaniels union still expected after Patriots fall in Super Bowl
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Nothing changed Sunday evening on the Josh McDaniels front, which means full speed ahead for the Indianapolis Colts.
The presumptive new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts wasn’t in a confirming mood following the New England Patriots’ 41-33 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII at US Bank Stadium, which was understandable and in keeping with his week-long stance.
“I’m not going to talk about that,’’ McDaniels said, quickly deflecting the conversation when it turned to his expected quick transition from the Patriots’ offensive coordinator to the Colts’ head coach.
“I’m just going to talk about this game. I’m going to respect the guys that just competed and played their hearts out.’’
For more than a week, McDaniels has been the Colts’ target to succeed Chuck Pagano. There have been two interviews spearheaded by general manager Chris Ballard, and the second took place Jan. 27 in Foxborough, Mass. and included owner Jim Irsay.
Social media “chatter’’ Sunday evening speculated McDaniels might remain with the Patriots, but that’s not how the Colts are approaching things.
A source with knowledge of the situation said Indy isn’t considering Plan B, whatever that might be. An announcement making McDaniels’ hiring official could come as soon as Tuesday. A press conference might be held Wednesday or Thursday.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski seemed resigned to having played his final game under McDaniels’ guidance. If so, it was another impressive one: nine catches, 116 yards, two touchdowns.
“When you see opportunities like this, you just take them,’’ he said. “It just shows they’re going to the next level.
“He’s leaving to be a head coach. It just shows how great of a coach he is. I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from him.’’
What attributes will accompany McDaniels to Indy?
“He’s a hard worker,’’ Gronkowski said. “He knows football inside and out.’’
Wide receiver Danny Amendola agreed. Like Gronkowski, he was put in position to make things difficult for the Eagles defense: eight catches, 152 yards.
“I don’t know if he’s going to Indy or not. If he is, he’s a great coach,’’ Amendola said. “He’s an amazing coach. He gets his players to play hard and he gets the most of them.
“He’s smart. He’s creative.’’
The Patriots were unable to snare their sixth Lombardi Trophy, but McDaniels’ offense did its part. New England set a Super Bowl record with 613 total yards, including a postseason record 505 passing yards by Tom Brady. The Patriots’ 33 points were the most by a losing team.
One of McDaniels’ trademarks has been the art of adaptation. Sunday, he had to adjust when leading receiver Brandin Cooks was forced from the game in the first half with a head injury sustained on a wicked hit. In the AFC Championship game – a 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars – they played the second half without Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion. New England overcame a 20-10 fourth-quarter deficit.
McDaniels’ approach after Sunday’s game was similar to his responses during the previous several days. He was quick to steer the questions in other directions.
However, he made it clear he’s eager to take a second stab at being a head coach. The first, with the Denver Broncos, was fraught with missteps. He was fired in December 2010, less than two years after being hired, with an 11-17 record.
“Sometimes I think failure is a great teacher,’’ McDaniels, 41, said. “I’ve learned a lot in my career, whether it’s here, my time in Denver or in St. Louis. Every step of the way has been invaluable to me.
“I’m nowhere near a finished product as a coach myself. I love the game of football. And I’m hungry to try and get better and serve the guys that I work for and serve the people who I work for. Hopefully that will serve me well as I move forward.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.