Here at MHR we often say certain things about a man we call McD, mostly cause I'm lazy and don't want to type his name, and speak as if we know exactly what he will do or what he is like. But I just realized that I know nothing about McD outside of that he was the quarterback coach in New England. I just wanted to take a look at some assumptions we hold about him as well as some history about the man. This is either facts about who he is or it comes from those who know him best. I tried to not include any opinion on him here, just a look at the man from a neutral standpoint.
- Born in 1976, he will turn 34 this year. He was born and raised in northern Ohio, near Canton. His father, Thom, is considered a legend in Ohio as a high school football coach. Following his dad to practice gave McD a desire to coach at a young age.
- Played quarterback in high school and was recruited to play at John Carroll University. While only 155 pounds he made up for his small size with incredible intelligence. He played from 1995 to 1998, mostly at wide receiver, after switching from quarterback. His teammate and quarterback competition at John Carroll, Nick Caserio, also joined the Patriots in 2001 as a personal coach, the same year McD joined the Patriots.
-He began coaching at Michigan State University in 1999 till 2000. He worked under coach Nick Saban, who was a friend of his dad. Surprisingly, he gives Saban a lot of credit for the foundation of his coaching style.
- In 2001 joined the Patriots as a personal assistant, focusing on scouting. From 2002 to 2003 he served as a defensive coaching assistant, working with defensive back. He had great success, helping give the Patriots one of the best defenses in the NFL. He was highly praised by his head coach Bill Belichick for his work. In 2004 he made a big change to quarterbacks coach, working only one season under Charlie Weis, who left after the 2004 season ended. In 2005 there was no offensive coordinator, but according to the NY Times, McD called the plays, link. Starting with the 2006 season, McD took the reigns of the offense while retaining the job of coaching the quarterbacks. With McD at the helm, and talented offense, the Patriots set offensive records in the league. During the four years McD worked with Brady, he had the four best passer ratings of his career. In 2008 Belichick gave McD a 5 page paper on what it takes to be an effective coach, McD still has the original copy, considered one of his most prized possessions. During the 2008 season, McD lead the Patriots offense despite losing Tom Brady, to 11-5.
- A side bit of info, without McD, Belicheck is 51-62.
- January 12, 2009 McD was named the replacement to Mike Shanahan as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. During his first off season, McD made major changes in the coaching structure and players. His rookie season started out 6-0, but ended the season 2-8.
- Josh is married to Laura and they have two children, Jack and Maddie. Tries to shield his family from everything about the NFL media, but loves to have his family come to games, especially his son.
- McD is normally has mild mannered personality. He was considered and seen as a easy person to work with, but as things grew more stressed, his emotions easily come to the surface. But he is also considered to be very stubborn, standing by what he either said or did, rarely asking for forgiveness. One example where this is true took place prior to week 17 when Brandon Marshall claimed a hamstring injury, and didn't want to play, which is understandable considering how the previous season, the Broncos had mishandled his injury. Due to his unwillingness to play, McD "benched" him. While this suspension wouldn't have effected the game, it was a decision made by the captains and McD as a statement about work ethic.
- As a head coach, his passion for the game has come to the forefront of his personality. Rarely showing emotion in New England, but in his time at Denver he has become a more fiery person. Two occasions I wanted to point out: the first one was after the victory over the Patriots, he ran like a mad man pumping his fist, possibly becoming his iconic image. The second point I wanted to make was when the Broncos played the Giants on Thanksgiving. After committing three penalties in the red zone, he gathered his offense and said the famous words, "All we're trying to do is win a motherf--king game!" NFL Network later apologized later but McD never made any real type of apology. McD has shown that he is a straight shooter, not one to mince words, just says what he feels. These two examples show a great intensity for winning and expects his team to perform.
- While many consider him to be a mix of Belichick and Weis, he actually says he looks to his father whenever he has a question and he models himself after him, link. Under Saban, Caserio said both him and McD would spend way too much time watching game film, and when they started working together in New England, he saw this continue. Serving under Belichick also had the effect of boosting his sense of self-confidence. Because of his incredible intelligence, he was taken under the wing of Belichick and was considered to be his protege. Due to his time spent with Belichick, he learned a some of the basics of being a head coach Belichick-style, yet still stayed close to Saban. His already strong, stubborn mentality was reinforced by Belichick's strong personality, yet retained his fire and passion for the game.
Things I learned:
- While New England's offense was based off of Weis's formula, McD reformed how it ran after taking the helm. McD's coaching style, offensively, isn't as similar to Weis's as first thought when he came to Denver, but it is still part of the foundation for his offense.
- McD looks to Saban and his father for how to base his coaching style over anyone else.
- His first pro coaching job was that of a personnel scout, and even after losing that title, he was still a major part of personnel decisions. During the 2001 season where he worked as a scouting personnel assistant, the Patriots chose Richard Seymour and Matt Light, both future Pro Bowlers.
So after doing this article, I can claim to be a bit more knowledgeable about who the man behind McD really is. He certainly wasn't who I thought he was, but he still is, in part, who we thought he was, a very intelligent, passionate football coach who I hope will be able to do good things here in Denver.