Black Monday has arrived in the NFL, a day in which head coaches and general managers are often sent their pink slips and speculation begins regarding potential replacements.
A popular name in head coaching searches has been Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who reports linked to the Cleveland Browns head coaching job, which officially became open this morning when Pat Shurmur was fired.
ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter previously reported that there was nothing to the report, and that McDaniels “hasn’t thought about anything but this season all year long.” On Sunday, Schefter reported that McDaniels was "not expected" to be a candidate in Cleveland.
McDaniels addressed the possibility of being a head coaching candidate on Monday, and was asked about the task of balancing potential interviews and interest from other teams while staying focused on the task at hand of the playoffs.
"Here's what I'll say about that. I'm thrilled to be back to back here, and I came back here for all the right reasons: to learn, and to get better as a coach, and to work in an organization that I really have a great deal of respect and appreciation for," he said. "I'm happy here, my family is happy here, and we're excited about what's ahead of us here in the playoffs, and to talk about any other opportunities is, to me, irrelevant. Because I'm totally focused on this season and what this season holds, and couldn't be more excited to be here and be a New England Patriot and do the best job I can with the title that I have now."
McDaniels has previous head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos, whom he led for one-plus seasons from 2009-2010. After serving as the Rams offensive coordinator in 2011, McDaniels returned to the Patriots prior to the start of the 2012 postseason.
He said he learned from not just his tenure in Denver, but every step of his NFL coaching career, which began with the Patriots in 2001.
"I think that every opportunity that you have and that certainly I've gone through since I've started a long time ago in 2001 here has been a learning experience for me," he said. "There's certainly going to be mistakes along the way in every role that you hold and that you have an opportunity to work in. I think as long as you can go through that process and try to get better from each mistake you make or each positive result that you get, there's always something to learn from those things and try to make you a better coach, a better leader, a better teacher, a better person, a better communicator, a better staff member and hopefully that's what I've tried to do with all of my experiences, including the ones that I've recently had that weren't here in New England.
"I hope everyday that I'm better than I was the day before, and I hope every year I can say the same thing, and so hopefully going forward in any role that I have, I want to be as good as I can be for that organization that I'm working for," he said. "I couldn't be more happy to be here in New England."
Head coach Bill Belchick said that the team would abide by the NFL rules if another franchise expressed interest in McDaniels, but he has no information as to how any other franchise is thinking regarding McDaniels at this time.
"Whatever the rules are, are the rules. We of course abide by the NFL rules and policies on everything," he said. "That's pretty clearly covered by the league. As far as any other situation, I really couldn't comment on any other team or situation. I have no idea what somebody else is looking for or what their criteria is or what their situation is for that matter. I really have no idea who would do what somewhere else, I just don't know enough about wherever else it is that we'd be talking about."