KRAVITZ: It’s official: McDaniels is signed, sealed and delivered as the Colts new head coach

New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels watches warm ups prior to an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - It’s official: McDaniels is signed, sealed and delivered as the Colts new head coach.

After more than a month of waiting, not to mention rumors that the Colts’ head-coach-in-waiting might be suffering from a case of cold feet, the deal is done.

Josh McDaniels is officially the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

McDaniels, who is 41, will be embarking on his second opportunity as a head coach, having flamed out in Denver from 2009-11. McDaniels won his first six games his initial season, but then the Broncos went 2-8 to finish the season 8-8. One year later, the Broncos struggled to 3-9 before Denver management had seen enough and let him go.

During Super Bowl week, McDaniels talked at length about his growth both as coach and as a man, insisting he will not repeat the mistakes he made during a rather volatile tenure in Denver.

“I’m very happy for the experiences that I’ve gone through,’’ he said this past week, before his Patriots lost Super Bowl LII to the Philadelphia Eagles, 41-33, in Minneapolis. “A lot of the failings in my career have been some of the best teachers that I’ve had. I’ve really learned a lot from them. I think I’m a better person, a better coach, a better communicator, a lot of things because of the things that I haven’t done well.’’

The Colts, who are coming off a 4-12 season, are counting upon McDaniels 2.0 to bring not only his offensive acumen, but improved people skills.

Nobody questions his ability to game plan, adjust and attack a defense.

“One of the things that makes him unique is he looks at offense from something of a defensive perspective,’’ said Adam Gase, the Miami Dolphins’ head coach who worked with McDaniels at Michigan State in 1999 and was on McDaniels’ Denver staff as a wide receivers coach. “He knows how a defense is looking to attack him, and he uses that to attack the defense. He’s one of the sharpest offensive minds I’ve ever come across.’’

McDaniels will bring five Super Bowl rings with him to Indianapolis, and has led the New England offense to seven Top 10 rankings, including the league’s top offense in 2007, 2012 and 2017. Of course, working with Tom Brady helps a lot – a whole lot – but McDaniels also had success with Matt Cassel, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. The Patriots have had some excellent skill-position people over the years, notably Randy Moss, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, but McDaniels also has helped guide and develop several less-heralded backs and receivers, turning them into key cogs in the Patriots’ offensive machine.

Now comes one of the biggest challenges of his coaching career, resurrecting a team that went 4-12 without Andrew Luck. General manager Chris Ballard said last month he didn’t want a coach who only chose to come to Indy to work with Luck, but make no mistake, Luck’s presence and good health are key to anything and everything the Colts accomplish next year and beyond.

The Colts are also in need of a major rebuild – rebuild most of the offensive line, add another receiver or two, add another running back, and continue the rebuild of the league’s worst defense.

The good news is, they are picking third in the NFL Draft, and have roughly $80 million to use to pursue and sign free agents.

McDaniels will be introduced at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

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