In this ongoing series, FPC Raiders dives deep inside the New England Patriots to see what makes them tick. Additionally, the goal remains to defeat New England, on the way to the Super Bowl. Today, we look at offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
When McDaniels reneged on the Colt’s job offer, he earned scorn and ridicule. Yet, despite this, he garners more praise and plaudits than most. Whenever Belichick decides to retire, McDaniels appears to be the coach-in-waiting. Now, that may not seem lofty enough. However, the Patriots job and two decades of dominance make the job highly sought after.
Granted, Tom Brady helps McDaniels. Yet, the play calling dives much deeper. For example, the Patriots scheme every game individually. Meaning, through film and dissection, New England will field an offense that specifically exploits a defensive weakness. Case in point, last year’s 33-8 humbling in Mexico. The Raiders displayed a chronic problem with defending the deep ball. Brandy finds Bandon Cooks. The Raiders did not have a single corner with the ability to stay with speed downfield. . Conversely, in other games, Rob Gronkowski and James White, along with Julian Edelman would attack a defense. What the Raiders did have to combat Edelman, Amendola were physical corners that disturbed routes.
If you look at the Raiders, as they appear, you get a sense of how McDaniels would attack them. 35-year old Derrick Johnson, Nicholas Morrow, and Obi Melifonwu appear as the three most likely to shadow Rob Gronkowski. First, none of those plays should give anyone confidence in them stopping Gronkowski. Next, sending the tight end down the seam, frees up the underneath, where Edelman, White and Amendola reside. To some, those passes appear as dump offs. Meanwhile, the players carve out decent yardage, moving the chains in the process.
If you have watched the Patriots’ Super Bowl defeats, one defensive thought should immediately occur. By creating pressure with just four, the defense will occupy previously open spots underneath. In Paul Guenther’s scheme, he wants to fake the A-gap blitz and send the front four. The Eagles and Giants rushed four.
With the Raiders and Guenther, the same principle applies. Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin will generate perimeter pressure. Where this gets tricky are the defensive tackles. Can Oakland generate the internal pressure needed to give Brady fits? Reggie McKenzie spent many draft picks on interior talent. To throw Josh McDaniels and the Patriots off, simple remains the smartest call.