By W.G. RAMIREZ Associated Press
HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Josh McDaniels points to three major influences on his life in football that got him to where he is today as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
McDaniels watched his father, Thom, for the good portion of a 40-year coaching career. He then kicked off his own career as a coach as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State in 1999.
But neither had as big an impact on McDaniels as Patriots coach Bill Belichick did in their long time together in New England.
“How I’ve learned what I’ve been taught over 22 years about how to try to go about winning in this league is really all from him,” McDaniels said Wednesday before the Patriots and Raiders concluded their joint practice sessions before Friday’s preseason finale.
“(At) 23, 24 years old he started to teach me then how to work, how to be a professional, how to try to do my job the best way I could each day. How to listen and get better, all the philosophies about trying to win the game, I’ve learned more from him than I have from anybody else. And that’ll never change at this point.”
Belichick was a proud mentor this week during their time together at the Raiders practice facility, praising the way his former protégé has developed as a coach these past two decades.
“Josh is the type of person that grows every year, I like to think we all do,” Belichick said. “I think the world of Josh. Nobody has more respect for Josh McDaniels than I do. He’s a really smart guy, works hard, good football guy. A solid person. I’m sure he’ll do well.”
McDaniels was on staff with the Patriots for their six Super Bowl titles, working his way up to offensive coordinator for the last three championships after leaving for a failed two-year stint as head coach in Denver.
McDaniels said the tutelage he got from Belichick was important in his growth as a coach but the trust Belichick gave him was even more gratifying.
From the defensive side of the ball to coaching quarterbacks, to calling the offense, Belichick believed in McDaniels before McDaniels even did himself.
“Bill has a plan for whatever he wants to do, and that plan sometimes, he has foresight that some of the rest of us don’t have,” McDaniels said. “I didn’t have it when he pushed me ahead and helped me do that.”
Raiders edge rusher Chandler Jones played under Belichick for four seasons when McDaniels was starting his second stint as offensive coordinator in New England. Jones said while both coaches are “two different people totally,” the admiration each has displayed for one another “just shows the level of respect that they have.”
McDaniels is looking for better results in his second attempt at being a head coach in the NFL after going 11-17 in Denver in 2009-10 before getting fired late in his second season.
He returned to work under Belichick again in 2012 and after spurning Indianapolis at the last moment in 2018, took the job in Las Vegas this offseason.
McDaniels brought his first training camp with the Raiders to a close on Wednesday, saying he put more of an emphasis on building relationships this time around and knows he has to do the job in a way that suits his personality even as he applies lessons learned from Belichick.
“Which again, some may be the same as I’ve learned from somebody else, and some may be different because it just doesn’t fit me the same way,” McDaniels said. “I just feel more at peace with who I am, in terms of I don’t know how to do it any other way other than be myself each day.
“But how to win, how to run practice, some of those philosophies? I mean those are tried and true, and so try to stick with those as much as I can and be myself along the way.”
NOTE: McDaniels said he isn’t concerned about the absence of star TE Darren Waller, who has practiced just one time since late last month for undisclosed reasons. McDaniels said Waller is “doing everything he can to get out there as soon as he can be,” but added, “I don’t want to make a prediction on whether he will or won’t be” ready for the Raiders regular-season opener against the Chargers.
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