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Josh McDaniels knows he can't be Bill Belichick: "I'm not gonna try"

Patriots begin OTAs in Foxboro, but still no clarity on who will call plays on offense
Patriots begin OTAs in Foxboro, but still no clarity on who will call plays on offense 00:54

BOSTON -- Josh McDaniels is an NFL head coach for the second time. His first go-round didn't work out too well.

Whether or not that was due to a younger McDaniels trying too hard to emulate Bill Belichick could be debated. But the now-46-year-old coach said this week that he's not looking to become Bill Belichick 2.0 in Las Vegas.

"I'm not Bill, you know, and I don't -- I can't be. And so I'm not gonna try," McDaniels said Thursday. "I just want to try to be myself and hopefully I can be a good leader for our team."

A philosophical route such as that one is wise, but also necessary. Belichick has been an NFL coach since the mid-'70s, a head coach for 27 seasons, and is far and away the greatest coach of his generation, if not of all time. Trying to be Belichick -- no matter how much time an assistant spent working under him -- is a recipe for failure.

McDaniels got his first crack at head coaching in 2009, starting out 6-0 but leading the Broncos to a 5-17 record over his final 22 games before getting fired. He admitted on Thursday that he knows a lot more now than he did back then.

"You know, like I said, it's hard for anybody to leave there -- and I didn't know this a while ago -- but it's hard for anybody to leave there and try to replicate everything that happens there. ... And I made the mistake of trying to do too much of that the first time," McDaniels said. "I think you've just gotta be able to be yourself and I think we have a good thing going in terms of the direction that we've started things in. But there's definitely the football part of it, and the belief in how to win or lose, and some of the strategy and those kind of things, very much what I know -- that's all I know. But I would say the interpersonal interactions each day, the flow of the day, some of those other things that you could choose to copy if you wanted to, we have a lot of great people, like I said. And so being able to just give them their responsibility, they know what their roles are, and let them go do their jobs, I think is really important for me. It's really important for them to know that I support them and I'm just here to be a resource and try to help them if I can. And if I can't, then I'm gonna learn from them. So it's been great in terms of just trying to put that into motion here."

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