Times have definitely changed for NFL head coaches, and one coach pointed to the way Mike McDaniel has dealt with Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as a vivid example of that.
Their relationship and measure of success was compared to the more old-school way the pairing of head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Russell Wilson has played out with the Denver Broncos.
“The days of Bill Parcells and all that stuff, I don’t really know how close we are to those days,” a coach from another team told The Athletic. “Can you think of two more different approaches to coaching a quarterback than Mike McDaniel versus Sean Payton? Both could make a case for not wanting the guy they inherited. Both have certain styles of offense. One treats his guy like he’s the golden child, and the other one treats his guy like the disruptive kid in class. Do I think Mike McDaniel could make something out of Russell? I think he could.”
Payton was an assistant coach under Parcells many years ago, so perhaps that is why his style is more in line with that of his former boss. Parcells famously also visibly showed disdain for his quarterbacks, with an old clip of him yelling at Phil Simms while with the New York Giants as part of his lore.
— Old Time Football 🏈 (@Ol_TimeFootball) April 15, 2023
But both Parcells and Payton have won the Super Bowl as head coaches, something McDaniel has not yet done. But he does seem to have the Dolphins and Tagovailoa on the right track, despite the quarterback injuring his shoulder during a disheartening loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The 56-19 setback prevented the Dolphins from wrapping up the AFC East and eliminated them from having a chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. It sets up a showdown for the division crown against the Buffalo Bills this upcoming Sunday night at Miami.
Tagovailoa will enter that regular season finale with already established career-highs of 4,451 passing yards, 28 touchdown passes and a completion percentage of 69.6 percent. The 25-year-old continues to build on the improvement he has shown since McDaniel took over as head coach last season.
The 40-year-old replaced defensive-minded Brian Flores, who at times struggled to get the most out of the young quarterback in their two seasons together.
As for the Broncos, they have been eliminated from AFC playoff contention despite a 16-9 win against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback in place of Wilson.
The 35-year-old former Super Bowl winner with the Seattle Seahawks was benched after up-and-down play in his first season under the 60-year-old Payton, and the Broncos seem likely to part with the quarterback this offseason in part due to financial considerations.
So for this season at least, it looks like McDaniel’s approach with his quarterback has worked out better than Payton’s approach with his.