I found this interview on KNBR the other day and was going to listen to its full 11 minutes in search of one or two things to mention and post. My thinking process was hearing something from the New England media regarding the San Francisco head coaching search would give a nice change of pace. Someone from the outside looking in. Someone that isn’t the usual Bay Area media or ESPN.
Problem was, I couldn’t decide what the hell to use, so I just transcribed the entire interview.
Ben Volin is a beat reporter for the Boston Globe and was on KNBR to go over not just New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels candidacy in the 49ers coaching search, but Jed York’s progress as an owner. If you can’t give this a listen (above) I suggest giving this a read. Whether you agree with his assessments or not, it’s always interesting to see the perspective from someone on the other side of the continent.
On what impact McDaniels would have in Santa Clara:
I think it just kind of makes a lot of sense for both parties. The 49ers are looking for a dynamic young offensive minded coach it seems like. You don’t get too many better candidates than Josh McDaniels who is only 40 years old, has had coaching experience on his resume. I know it didn’t go well in Denver, but a lot of the time these coaches make their mistake the first time around then they learn from them the second time around. Bill Belichick did that, obviously with the Browns and the Patriots. And from Josh’s perspective the 49ers are still an iconic franchise. They’re far away from the Patriots, in another conference all the way in the west coast, so he wouldn’t be a an impetus for the Patriots And assuming Jed York would commit to a rebuild and not panic and fire him after a 4-12 season, then it’s a blank canvas roster. They’re gonna have a ton of cap space, they have the number 2 draft pick and Josh could potentially try to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo and bring him with McDaniels to San Francisco. So I think Josh is ready to jump back into the head coaching game and of all the opportunities right now, I think the 49ers are the best fit assuming Jed York can kind of get his act together there.
On what McDaniels’s mistakes in Denver were and how he corrected them:
He readily admits that he was not emotionally — just maturity-wise — prepared for the head coaching job. He was only 32 when he took it with the Broncos. He went out to Denver and tried to be Bill Belichick Jr. And that doesn’t work unless you’re Bill Belichick and you already have three Super Bowl rings on your resume. He was kind of a little dictator, a little Napoleon out there and it didn’t sit well with a lot of the Broncos people. At the first sign of trouble, the Broncos just kind of used that excuse to get rid of Josh. He went 3-9 his second season. If they were willing to commit to him, I think he would have been able to turn it around and make it work. He didn’t invest emotionally in people. He didn’t listen to anyone. He was very cold and distant. He says he’s really worked hard on being a better family person, caring; just simple things, like caring more about his players and giving people time away from the team to do their family and personal things. There’s a lot more to being a head coach than drawing up X’s and O’s. You’re the CEO of the entire organization. This first step towards fixing a problem is admitting that you have a problem and Josh has been very upfront about that. He’s older now, he’s 40 years old. He’s had good experience the second time around with the Patriots. He’s won a Super Bowl ring, might win a second this year. Tom Brady raves about him. Just Tom Brady speaks with Josh every day. Probably speaks with Josh more than he does his own wife. If you’re looking for a young offensive candidate—the guy who helped the Patriots through a lot of success over the last decade is a pretty good place to start.
Going further on Brady talking to McDaniels more the Gisele (Brady’s wife):
I think Gisele is sick of Tom always texting and talking with Josh in the middle of the week. They have a great relationship and that’s what it takes: a constant communication between the team’s leader and the coach. They are basically the same age, Josh is 40 and Tom is 39. It’s just kind of a fast hitting relationship that they have. Tom hopes Josh doesn’t leave, but he also wants his friend to go out and have a successful career.
On how many years it’d take the 49ers to a complete rebuild:
It would take four, realistically to get the program built to where you really want it where you have a good core of young leaders. You’re starting over now, this year and the roster is pretty much gutted—it’s almost like a blank canvas and they have all this cap space. It’s about building it the right way and not throwing money at free agents just so you can sell a few more tickets and maybe win eight or nine games. It’s about building through the draft getting your known court leaders and then allowing them to build, develop, and grow and you can’t just panic at a 5-11 season right away. You can’t give an ultimatum of, ‘You better make the playoffs by the third season’ you just need to let the program build over time. I really think in the NFL, a lot of these teams that struggle. It’s like here in the AFC east, the Dolphins, the Bills and the Jets, are always cycling through coaches and front offices and there’s all this pressure to make a playoff in X amount of time. I think the continuity aspect is really big. You look at Cincinnati, I don’t think Marvin Lewis is a great all-time head coach, but they’ve given him a decade to build that program and—I know this year was a down year but before that— made the playoffs five straight years and were ascending every season. I just think continuity is so important. For the 49ers, it’s important not to panic right away, to allow Josh maybe have a losing season or two, but to let him build the team he wants to and hopefully by year 4, that’s when you have all the key pieces in place.
How much to read on Nick Caserio turning down an interview to be GM:
It makes sense to me that Nick would turn down that opportunity and just about any other opportunity. He basically is the general manager in New England already. Bill Belichick has final say, but Nick runs it, most of the personnel department, has his hand in every aspect of the organization. Not only is he the personnel executive, he’s working out prospects on campus; he participates in practice, he was a quarterback at the D-III level and sometimes he’s just throwing passes out there and working out wide receivers. Nick has a very good thing going on here as Bill Belichick’s right hand man. The 49ers opportunity, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for Nick to leave here, whereas Josh is still an assistant, he’s still a subordinate. When you get into coaching, the goal is of being a head coach one day. I just think Caserio has everything he could want in New England right now. He’s certainly in line to take over when Belichick steps down, whenever that is. But if he left for a team, it wouldn’t be like he’s getting too much more from that team that he already has in New England.
On which GM would match up best with McDaniels:
The name that keeps getting thrown around is Louis Riddick from ESPN. I think Josh has a relationship with [Eliot Wolf] as well. If you hire him, you just want Josh to have a say in who the GM is too because they are going to be working together. I think Josh would be amendable to that. I don’t think he’s ever worked with Eliot Wolf but he’s very highly rated. Obviously son of Ron Wolf so it’s in his blood. McDaniels, also the son of a successful high school coach in Ohio who won state championships and even a national title. Kind of those football brats and lifers. I think what’s important though is that Jed York and whoever else is conducting the search for the 49ers, just consulting McDaniels with who the GM would be to be sure Josh is fully on board with it, because the last thing you want is a coach and a GM who don’t see eye to eye.
On Jed York:
Certainly a young owner still learning his way a little bit like some of these guys. It’s a tough business, there’s a one-loss aspect on the field that is unlike any other business. For most of these guys that are highly successful elsewhere, there’s been some criticism how they leak things to the press. He’ll learn that over time. Ultimately, I think he’s in charge of a very powerful brand that the 49ers have. They are still an iconic franchise, I think probably with the Jim Harbaugh, the last two experiences with Chip Kelly and Jim Tomsula, he probably learned that he needs to take a little more of a hands-off approach. Robert Kraft, now one of the best owners in the league, it took him a good six years to figure that out. Bill Parcells did the famous quote that they want you to cook the dinner, they should probably let you pick the groceries too. Bill Parcells was furious for the way Robert Kraft would meddle in football operations and it took him a while, Robert Kraft, to figure out that you need to hire the right people and take a step back. He certainly did that with Bill Belichick and produced tremendous results here. So I think Jed York is probably in the process of figuring that out. If he hires McDaniels and a good, young bright GM, I think that’s a sign that he’s willing to take a step back.
Is he upset he’s not getting the leaks that San Francisco gets:
Am I upset about it? No. I understand that’s the reality of the situation. There’s a lot of good reporters out there and a lot of national reporters, the Patriots certainly demand a lot of attention. A lot of those national reporters are also business partners of the league and of the Patriots. Let’s be honest: ESPN, CBS, FOX, NBC, they pay hundreds of millions of dollars to be business partners with the NFL. So of course, that stuff is going to get slipped to them sometime. From my perspective, I try to get as much news as I can, it’d be foolish to think I’m going to get every scoop and every little bit of info. You just tip your cap to the reporters that get it and you get the next one. It is what it is, just try to get as much as you can.