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From the Hart: McDaniels a monster?

Plenty of people are happy that Josh McDaniels is back running the offense in New England.


After all, Tom Brady had his best statistical season under McDaniel's direction. And guys like Deion Branch, Donte' Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney have been around the young offensive mastermind enough to know what he can do for their production.

But even some of the key players on the offense who've never played for McDaniels before seem to be quite excited with what they've seen from the still-young coach in the first few months of his second tour of duty through New England.

Aaron Hernandez caught 79 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns last season under the tutelage of Bill O'Brien. The third-year tight end has already caught a ton of balls in camp and appears poised for an even more productive season in McDaniels' scheme.

He's clearly excited about it.

"We have a great coach and our offensive coordinator's a monster," Hernandez said of McDaniels. "He knows how to create plays to get people open and he makes it exciting. I love playing for him."

This may be the first time anyone has called McDaniels, who can't be more than 5-9 and has a very young-looking face, a monster. But I'm sure he'll take the compliment as he works to put together what just might be the best offense in football.

As he does that, one thing McDaniels will have to figure out is how to best use Hernandez. Much has been made this spring of the idea that the former Florida star is moving to slot receiver from tight end. The theory usually includes a reference the new-found veteran talent (Daniel Fells, Visanthe Shiancoe) the team has added to the tight end depth chart, as well as the possibility that slot star Wes Welker could be in his last season in New England.

But I haven't seen Hernandez – who lined up in the slot more often than not over his first two seasons and many times works with the slot receiver in practice drills – used any differently this summer.

Don't believe me though, take it from the horse's mouth.

"I consider myself a tight end who can do a few things," Hernandez said with his usual coy smile.

And clearly he trusts McDaniels to make the most of what he can do.

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