If Josh McDaniels wants to pursue the head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns, the Patriots won’t stand in his way. The team has granted permission for the Browns to interview the offensive coordinator in relation to their head coaching vacancy, according to the NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
The Browns made the formal request to speak with McDaniels on Monday.
Many consider McDaniels at the top of Cleveland’s wish list, given his longstanding relationship with general manager Mike Lombardi and the fact that CEO Joe Banner has long been a McDaniels admirer.
The Cleveland brain trust wanted to interview McDaniels for the job last year, but the Ohio native took himself out of the competition. He wasn’t up for moving his wife and four small children again so quickly after returning to New England, and wanted to re-establish himself first after a year with the Rams as their offensive coordinator following his dismissal in Denver.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick, meanwhile, wouldn’t get into the McDaniels discussion yesterday. During a conference call, he wouldn’t indicate if the team had granted permission for McDaniels to speak with the Browns.
“I’m not going to get into any of that. The procedures are in place with the league and so forth,” Belichick said. “Any comments on that I don’t think are appropriate to come from me so I won’t make any.”
Here is the statement Rob Chudzinski released after being fired: “I was shocked and disappointed to hear the news that I was fired. I am a Cleveland Brown to the core, and always will be. It was an honor to lead our players and coaches, and I appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. I was more excited than ever for this team, as I know we were building a great foundation for future success. While clearly I would have liked to see the long-term vision through to the end, I am very grateful to Jimmy Haslam and the Haslam family for letting me live my dream.”
Big addition for practice
The Pats signed a player to the practice squad yesterday that might not seem like such a big deal, but given his size and the size of some receivers on potential playoff opponents, there could be a connection.
By signing 6-foot-3 receiver Greg Orton, the Pats filled their final spot on the practice squad, but also provided what amounts to a scout team player to practice against when it comes to replicating some receivers the Pats might see in the divisional round, such as Cincinnati’s A.J. Green, who is 6-4.
Orton, 27, spent part of 2011 and all of 2012 on the Broncos practice squad.
Rookies in name only
The Pats have several first-year players making contributions. Asked if the experience gained in the regular season, particularly during so many close contests, would help them in the postseason, Belichick essentially said there are no more rookies.
“I really think at this point in the season, after 16 regular-season games, that all of our players, even our young ones, should be pretty well acclimated to what NFL football is about,” he said. “I think the big thing about the playoffs is that it’s the best teams so everybody is good, everybody has a good team, everybody has good players, everybody has a lot of confidence. You just have to be at your best against that level of competition, which is even higher than you see in the regular season because there are some teams that are obviously better than others.”
Isn’t that special
Running back LeGarrette Blount was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week thanks to his efforts against Buffalo, with 189 yards from scrimmage and 145 kick-return yards.
Belichick was asked about the efforts of the special teams unit and coach Scott O’Brien in recent weeks.
“I think the hard work and the perseverance of all those guys — Joe (Judge, the assistant special teams coach), Scott, and the core special teams players, the specialists — it’s paid off throughout the year in different areas,” Belichick said. “We’ve certainly seen it the last few weeks with big plays in many different areas of the kicking game; contributions of field position and points and turnovers and onside kicks. It’s just situational plays. You never know when some of those situational plays are going to happen, but being able to execute them at critical times, like in the Cleveland game, it’s vital to being able to win in those situations.
“The field position that the kicking game can provide for us, whether it be for the defense or the offense is, again, so critical to that unit’s success. It’s all tied in there together. I think we’ve had a lot of good production from our special teams over the past few weeks. I think that really goes back to their hard work and certainly the leadership that Scott has provided the entire unit.”
By Karen Guregian - Boston Herald (MCT)
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