In today's episode of Season Ticket, guest host Joe Sullivan (@globesullivan) and Ben Volin discuss the NFL coaching landscape in the aftermath of "Black Monday," including where Patriots coordinators Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels might end up next season. Then, they look ahead to the playoffs and make predictions for Wild Card Weekend and the Patriots' next opponent.
- Ben Volin (@BenVolin), National NFL Reporter, The Boston Globe
On the aftermath of “Black Monday,” when NFL coaches typically get fired
Joe Sullivan: Let’s review here, the coaches who are moving on ... Jack Del Rio by the Oakland Raiders, Chuck Pagano by the Indianapolis Colts ... John Fox by the Chicago Bears, Jim Caldwell by the Detroit Lions, Bruce Arians retired from the Arizona Cardinals because of health problems, etc ... The Giants fired Ben McAdoo during the season. Are there more firings to come?
Ben Volin: Just because it didn’t happen on “Black Monday” doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Sometimes ownership wants to see the lay of the land and see what’s out there before making a move ... We’re not quite sure if Marvin Lewis is going to come back to head coach, if they're going to move him to the front office. ... In Houston, Bill O’Brien—there was a chance he was going to be out, but I think he won the power struggle with the GM Rick Smith ... Washington [with] Jay Gruden, it sounds like he’s gonna be surviving, Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay, sounds like he’s going to be surviving.
"I think this is the year that McDaniels takes the leap."Ben Volin
On Patriots coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia being head coaching candidates
Ben Volin: I think this is the year that McDaniels takes the leap. I think Matt Patricia is getting several good, long, hard looks. The job to look out for [with] Patricia is Detroit.
Joe Sullivan: He has [Matt Stafford] on his team, why wouldn’t Josh McDaniels be the better choice than Matt Patricia?
Ben Volin: I agree with you, but that’s the rumor right now ... Patricia can always bring in a quarterback coach. The name to watch is Brian Daboll, the former Patriots coach who’s now the Offensive Coordinator at Alabama ... And, frankly, if the Patriots lose McDaniels, I wonder if Daboll is brought back into the fold here in New England. The only other option would be Chad O’Shea, the wide receivers coach.
On Matt Patricia’s candidacy for head coach
Joe Sullivan: Let’s talk about Matt Patricia as a candidate. Who would hire this guy? My thoughts on this are that just his demeanor, his appearance does not give forth the idea that he’s someone that should be a head coach. And then we have the incident after the Super Bowl last year where he got off the plane wearing a t-shirt with a drawing of Roger Goodell with a clown nose.
Ben Volin: It was not a good look and he’ll have some explaining to do in these interviews, no question. ...I'd be concerned just with Patricia's communication skills. I hope he's a better interviewer and speaks more directly than he does in these press conferences ... He’s going to be a guy who speaks to your organization, speaks to your players everyday, speaks to the media everyday, and he’s not that great of a public speaker right now. Those are important things to consider when you’re hiring a head coach.
On the Pittsburgh Steelers releasing franchise sack leader James Harrison
Ben Volin: Just bizarre. The Steelers releasing James Harrison is so shocking to me because he’s a franchise legend. Two Super Bowls, won Defensive Player of the Year, he’s going to have his name in the Ring of Honor one day ... This is like the Patriots bringing back Gronkowski towards the end of his career and then just releasing him in Week 14 when it’s not working out.
On James Harrison’s first game as a Patriot
Ben Volin: He played 27 snaps and he actually came off the field on third down. He wasn’t [just] this situational pass rusher. He was a first and a second down player and they dropped him in coverage, in zone, and they used him against the run and he was pretty good ... James Harrison’s gonna be a really nice pick-up for them for the playoffs. He’s more than just a warm body; he can play for them.
Joe Sullivan: So this proves once again that Bill Belichick knows a whole lot more than we do about football.