General manager Ryan Pace conducted his fourth interview for the Bears’ head-coaching position when he met in New England Friday with Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels, 41, has spent 14 of the past 17 seasons with the Patriots, including nine as offensive coordinator. In those nine years, McDaniels has guided New England’s offense to seven top-10 rankings, including the No. 1 spot in the NFL in 2007, 2012 and again this season when the unit averaged 394.2 yards per game.
Throughout his time with the Patriots, McDaniels has worked closely with Tom Brady, who is considered by many to be the greatest quarterback in NFL history. The future Hall of Famer has won five Super Bowls and four Super Bowl MVP trophies, been voted to 13 Pro Bowls and earned two NFL MVP awards.
This season Brady—at the age of 40—passed for a league-high 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 102.8 passer rating that ranked third in the NFL.
“Josh has done an incredible job,” Brady said during a recent interview with WEEI in Boston, according to the New York Daily News. “He’s an incredible coach and a great friend. This is that time of year where coaches get an opportunity. A lot of coaches got fired and that means other guys will get hired. You want to take the good ones. We have some great coaches and Josh has been such a great coach for me.”
McDaniels has won five Super Bowl rings with the Patriots. He originally joined New England in 2001 as a personnel assistant and served as a defensive assistant in 2002-03. McDaniels became quarterbacks coach in 2004 and added offensive coordinator to his responsibilities in 2006.
In that dual role in 2007, he helped the Patriots offense produce one of the most prolific seasons in NFL history, setting records for the most points, touchdowns and players scoring a touchdown. Brady established a league record with 50 TD passes and led the NFL with 4,806 yards and a 117.2 passer rating. Randy Moss set a league mark with 23 touchdown receptions, and Wes Welker established a Patriots single-season record with 112 catches.
After Brady suffered a season-ending knee injury in the 2008 opener, McDaniels helped backup quarterback Matt Cassel post a 10-5 record as a starter and pass for 3,693 yards with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
After three seasons as New England’s offensive coordinator, McDaniels left to become Broncos head coach in 2009. He compiled a 11-17 record before being fired with four games remaining in his second season in 2010.
McDaniels joined the Rams in 2011 as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He returned to the Patriots during the 2011 playoffs as an offensive assistant with the promise of replacing Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012 after O’Brien had agreed to become head coach at Penn State.
McDaniels began his coaching career in 1999 as a graduate assistant on Nick Saban’s staff at Michigan State.
McDaniels’ brother, Ben, has served as an offensive assistant with the Bears the past two seasons.
Before meeting with McDaniels, Pace interviewed Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio Wednesday, Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards Thursday and Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur Friday for the Bears’ head-coaching job.