PHOENIX – Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has drawn large crowds during Super Bowl week and Wednesday was no exception. He fielded questions about the team's various formations and tempos, which recently have included the use of ineligible receivers that have caused problems for both Baltimore and Indianapolis in the playoffs.
McDaniels was quick to offer a clarification following one question on the practice.
"One thing about that that I'd like to clear up is we didn't do any of those things without huddling," McDaniels began. "When we did those things the last couple of games we huddled every time we did it with the ineligible player. We substituted, we huddled, we declared him ineligible, the official declared him ineligible and then we lined up.
"We weren't trying to use tempo or speed in any way to try to create confusion. We were just doing something to see if we could gain an advantage with the eligibility of a skilled player."
McDaniels was also quick to credit Tom Brady for making the whole operation go. Without experience at quarterback, McDaniels maintained, it's difficult to operate under such conditions.
"The other thing you have to have is a quarterback that can see what's wrong with the defense," McDaniels continued. "One of Tom's greatest strengths is he's has always been able to see where they're light or where there may be some confusion and try to exploit that. You have to have a guy like him to be able to do it."
It will be interesting to see if the Patriots choose to use those formations against a hard-charging Seahawks defense on Sunday.
The use of unorthodox sets wasn't the only reason McDaniels has been in demand this week. He also interviewed for coaching vacancies in San Francisco and Atlanta earlier this month but decided to stay put in New England. However, he expressed the desire to someday get his second chance to be a head coach at some point.
"I would love to do it again," he said at media day on Tuesday. "I think the most important thing to me is to just be in the right situation and just be in a place where I feel good about being. There are a lot of great teams and great places out there. I happen to be in a good situation for myself right now and for my family. If it comes up again and is the right spot, then I would love to do it again and give it another shot."
Reporters from Denver, where McDaniels' first stint as head coach took place from 2009-10, asked him about the experience with the Broncos and what
he's learned. "There are so many things that I learned there," McDaniels said. "I think one of the things that I really learned in Denver is the value of being a good listener. When you do something like that for the first time you feel like you have to run through everything and be in charge of too many things and sometimes that is a significant negative.
"I have tried really hard in St. Louis [as offensive coordinator in 2011] and then here back in New England; we really gather ideas, we listen to one another and try to do the best thing for the offense. In this particular situation it has really been a great thing. Our atmosphere on our staff has been very healthy and a big part of that is that we have a lot of guys that can contribute and it doesn't come from one source. I made a lot of mistakes there. I think it was a great learning experience for myself. Hopefully I have grown from that and will continue to grow."