Josh McDaniels is no longer interested in the 49ers’ head-coaching vacancy, which has led some, including Tiki Barber, to speculate that McDaniels will remain in New England because he is the clear-cut heir to Bill Belichick.
Is that likely the case?
“No, not really,” MMQB guru Peter King said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It could happen. It could happen. But I don’t think that was a part of his thought process. His thought process is only one thing, in my opinion. The coaches for the Patriots are basically kept under glass. Although they talk during the season, it’s about game-related things. But I remember a couple of years ago he was very, very clear: If I get another chance to go, the only way I’m going to go is if I feel I have a really good chance to win, especially if I either can get a quarterback who I think can be a playoff-winning quarterback or if there’s one there.”
McDaniels was the head coach in Denver in 2009-10. He went 11-17 and was fired 12 games into the 2010 season. He spent one year as offensive coordinator with the Rams and has been with New England since 2012.
“I think the reason he might have been a little tempted about the 49ers is that the offer to anybody who’s going to go into San Francisco has to be a very long contract – at least five years because you’re not going to win the first two years,” King said. “And secondly, this is the culture I want to create, and these are the people I want to create it with. If anybody gives you that with a franchise that has a storied past, as the 49ers do – and a storied recent past with Harbaugh – I think that’s a job that maybe you have to strongly consider. Because to me, the only way that I would ever advise a coach to go to a place like San Francisco now is if Jed York said, ‘Here are the keys, you make the rules, you figure out who we’re going to have, and then you figure out who your quarterback is going to be.’”
King believes that McDaniels, even at 40, is qualified to do that.
“If you worked for Bill Belichick for a hundred years, I would say that yes, I think he is,” King said. “(But) if you’re going to have one more shot, the other thing you have to ask yourself is even given all those things, can I do it? He believes when he scouts quarterbacks, he’s not interested in taking the best quarterback that year or the best one that is available to him that year. So let’s say the 49ers have the second pick in the draft, and let’s just say that Josh McDaniels scouts all the quarterbacks coming out in college, and let’s say that McDaniels says, ‘I think the best quarterback is Mitch Trubisky of North Carolina. However, there’s too much about him that worries me.’ In other words, I don’t think Josh McDaniels looks at quarterbacks and says, ‘Here’s the best one this year.’ He looks at quarterbacks and says, ‘Can this guy beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in January? Can we coach him up to beat the Seattle Seahawks in January?’ This is what I know of this guy having listened to him and knowing him just a little bit. That’s just sort of my feeling about it.
“With all of this said, we all have to understand something,” King continued. “Josh McDaniels, who is 40 years old, is probably going to get one more chance ever to be a head coach in the NFL. His first chance ended horribly. So if he’s only going to get one more chance, he’s going to take it in a place where he can convince himself unequivocally, ‘We can and will win here.’ This is just my guess. I don’t know this. I’m just guessing that he probably felt that even though the opportunity in San Francisco would have been good, it still probably would have been tough.”