KRAVITZ BLOG: Despite rumors, McDaniels will officially join the Colts

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, right, walks with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels at the end of the first half of an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
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Bob Kravitz

This column was written prior to the official announcement that McDaniels signed on to be the Indianapolis Colts' next head coach. Update to come.

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Josh McDaniels isn’t signed, sealed and delivered just yet, but he’s very, very close, and a press conference to introduce him as the Colts’ next head coach is expected later this week.

According to Boston-based NBC Sports reporter Tom Curran, McDaniels will inform Patriots head coach Bill Belichick today (Monday) that he is leaving the franchise and taking the Colts’ job, and McDaniels will be in Indy later this week for the presser.

There was some concern that McDaniels might get cold feet and go back on his word to join the Colts when Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Sunday that he was hearing chatter McDaniels might remain with the Patriots instead of taking the Colts’ job.

Keep a few things in mind, though: McDaniels already has begun building his assistant coaching staff, having brought in a defensive coordinator (Matt Eberflus), offensive line coach (Dave DeGuglielmo) and a defensive line coach (Mike Phair). The Colts are also reportedly pursuing Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell as their OC. Beyond that, Belichick has made it clear he has every intention of returning next season, and perhaps beyond, so McDaniels would not be in an immediate position to replace the legendary coach.

The rumors grew new legs after Sunday’s 41-33 Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles when McDaniels told reporters, “I’m not talking about that tonight. I’m not going to talk about that.’’

Curran, though, learned that McDaniels is speaking with Belichick today, and all signs point to McDaniels coming to Indy for a press conference later this week.

If McDaniels had backed out of his verbal agreement, the Colts would have been in a very difficult situation. Except for Kris Richard, all of the candidates with whom they spoke this past month have accepted head coaching jobs around the league. Beyond that, it would have been a very bad look – VERY bad – if McDaniels had changed his mind, bad for the Colts and perhaps even worse for McDaniels, who would have a very difficult or even impossible time getting another head coaching job, at least outside of New England.

This is one of the risks a team runs when they hire a head coach who is in the midst of a Super Bowl run. They can interview him during the bye week before their first playoff game and then talk again during the off week two weeks before the Super Bowl, but nothing can officially be done until the Super Bowl ends. All they have is a handshake agreement and a verbal meeting of the minds, but nothing on paper.

During Super Bowl week, McDaniels met with several reporters, including many from Indianapolis, and while he wouldn’t acknowledge the elephant in the room (the Colts job), he laughed along with the Indy-related questions tossed his way – as if to say, “We all know what’s going on, but I can’t say a word just yet.’’

McDaniels will be coming to Indy with five Super Bowl rings, although his team’s attempt at winning a sixth went by the wayside when the Eagles upset the favored Patriots Sunday in Minneapolis. McDaniels’ offense has a strong game; their 33 points were the most ever scored by a losing team in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady threw for 505 yards. It was business as usual offensively, but the Patriots simply couldn’t get a stop on defense.

“He’s a great coach,’’ former Colt Phillip Dorsett said earlier this week in Minneapolis. “His attention to detail, the way he game plans and the matchups he creates for not just receivers, but running backs and tight ends, is amazing.’’

So Indy can exhale.

McDaniels is on his way.

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