By Nick Ashooh
I understand why everyone is piling on Josh McDaniels right now. He dumped the Colts at the alter, and left all of his future assistants swinging in the wind.
It was a bad look.
We need to stop this narrative though that McDaniels "will never coach in the NFL again", because it's just too short-sided.
Yes, the odds are he was at least given the strong hint he'll take over for Bill Belichick down the road. So he may not have to even worry about going anywhere.
But for almost two decades, the NFL has been trying to mirror what they've been doing in New England, and it's never worked. No one has ever been able to re-create "The Patriot Way", the most valuable treasure in the league.
Let's look at the history of Belichick's assistants, ones that other organizations thought could bring the gold to their locker room:
Bill O'Brien (31-33, .484 with Texans)
Eric Mangini (23-25, .479 with Jets, 10-22, .313 with Browns)
Nick Saban (15-17, .469 with Dolphins)
Josh McDaniels (11-17, .393 with Broncos)
Romeo Crennel (24-40, .375 with Browns, 4-15, .211 with Chiefs)
None of these coaches, McDaniels 1.0 included, came anywhere close to the access and apprenticeship McDaniels is reportedly about to undertake. He's set to immerse himself in what Belichick has done on his own. All of his philosophies, strategies, and details every assistant that came before could only try and grasp from arms length, is going to be taught to him by the greatest to ever do it.
The guy just got the map to the most sought-after hidden treasure in NFL history.
You don't think another team will overlook what happened with a dysfunctional mess of a team in the Colts, to try and cash in on all this knowledge McDaniels is about to collect?
The guy is the golden goose. He'll have the blueprint to the empire. He'll be the closest thing to Belichick any team has ever been able to secure.
There's no way other NFL teams won't forget the past and hire him, hoping they can capitalize on all those secrets.
It's like ignoring a woman's shady past, hoping she's grown up and worth dating, because she just looks better than the rest of those swipes you keep going through on Tinder.
Who knows, there may be no way to ever duplicate what Belichick did.
Hell, forget the failures of past assistant, look at all of his other quarterbacks not named Brady. Jimmy Garoppolo may be the first (along with, to a smaller degree Jacoby Brissett) to actually have success long term in the NFL outside of Belichick's system.
But Brian Hoyer is 16-21 in his career as a starter. Matt Cassel is 36-45. Even Drew Bledsoe as a starter after being traded by the Patriots was just 35-35 (23-25 with Buffalo Bills and 12-10 with Dallas).
The rest have had such minimal impact on the league, they're not even worth mentioning.
The "Patriot Way" is the blueprint every other team has been trying to steal, and McDaniels will soon have the plans in his hands, and be willing to sell to the highest, and most desperate bidder.
If you think McDaniels won't be valuable to another franchise down the road, you're in for a big surprise.