One of the big storylines heading into Saturday’s divisional AFC playoff game between the Broncos and the Patriots is the fact that it will be Josh McDaniels’ first game back with the Patriots.
He was hired by New England on Sunday as an offensive assistant for the rest of the playoffs. He was the Patriots' offensive coordinator prior to becoming Denver’s head coach in 2009. He lasted just 28 games in Denver.
First-year Denver coach John Fox is not going to buy into the McDaniels angle. He downplayed the impact McDaniels can have in helping the Patriots prepare for his former players.
“When you do this for a living you have a pretty good idea of most of the players,” Fox told reporters Monday. “You [studied] them in college or coached them before and guys just move cities, that’s kind of what this league is … I mean, we’re going to go play Carolina (Fox was the Panthers’ coach from 2002-2010) next year. I don’t think that’s going to be a huge advantage for me. Plus, their team has changed and so has ours. I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
The Broncos advance to the New England game when quarterback Tim Tebow hit receiver Demaryius Thomas on an 80-yard pass play on the first offensive play of overtime Sunday. McDaniels drafted both players in the first round in 2010. Still, Fox isn't going crazy with the storyline.
“I think a lot of people here drafted these players,” Fox said. “I don’t think one person did. I think that’s the case no matter who it is.”
Meanwhile, Fox gave some encouraging news regarding Denver receiver Eric Decker, Fox said Monday that he has a sprain and is day-to-day. Originally, the Broncos thought Decker had a significant knee injury. His chances of playing at New England may be iffy, but it appears he won’t have a long recovery.