Tebow '11 = Brady '01? Some see similarities

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Tebow '11 = Brady '01? Some see similarities

DENVER - The 2011 Broncos were 1-4 when Tim Tebow made his first start for them this season. Eight games later, they are 8-5.The 2001 Patriots were 0-2 when Tom Brady made his first career start. After Week 13, they were 8-5. While Tebowmania is a national phenomenon, people in New England only need to look back a decade to realize the situation happened here first. An overlookedquarterback taking over a lagging team going nowhere and - by dint of his charisma, execution and smarts - turning it into a winner.

"You can't say enough about that kid. He has a tremendous amount of confidence. He has led this team. Maybe he doesn't have the most impressive statistics, but it doesn't matter. The kid knows how to win. He knows how to motivate other players. My hat is off to the guy."

That was Patriots wide receiver David Patten in 2001 after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. And it's just about the same party line being spouted on Tebow right now.

As Brady and the Patriots continued to roll up wins in 2001, his success actually became a controversy. Having gotten the chance to start because of Drew Bledsoe's severed artery suffered in Week 2 of that season, people believed Bledsoe was getting a raw deal. And the rush was on to discredit Brady's success as beginner's luck and talk about how he was running a dumbed-down offense that didn't reveal his weak arm.

But the team-wide confidence Brady seemed to somehow imbue an ailing organization with was palpable.

"We discovered how fierce of a competitor he is," Lawyer Milloy said before the 2002 season. "I'll never forget the time I spent with him in Pittsburgh before the championship game. We had dinner and just really had a chance to bond, to talk like we never had before. "Well, I walked away from that meal thinking, 'As long as he's leading us on offense and I'm leading the defense, we are going to be OK for a while.' "

Broncos coach John Fox won't try to pin down his quarterback's ability to raise his teammates' level of play, but he says it there.

Its hard to define," said Fox. "Theres no question that he has that spirit and that spark and the trusting of his teammates. To say its all him, I dont know that it would be fair, either, but hes a part of it. Theres no doubt.

Troy Brown was Brady's No. 1 receiver in 2001 and he's fascinated by Tebow's rise.

"We can talk about Denver and their playing sucky opponents . . . whateverTim Tebowhas said or speeches he's made, there's something about him right now that has this team believing," said Brown.

Similar to Brady?

"The same feeling," Brown insists. "Tom was always a confident guy. I remember talking with (fellow receiver Vincent Brisby) and Tom would interact with starting receivers and ask what we expected. At the time he was a third team guy and he was acting like he was playing tomorrow. This wasat OTAsand minicamps. You kind of saw something different about the guy. You'd think, 'This guy looks about 150 pounds. He's frail, thin but his compete level is through the roof.'

"Having Tom gave us that spark the way Tebow is having out in Denver. Some people have that in them to make people want to rally around them."

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

Curran: McDaniels staying with Pats shouldn't be a shocker

For weeks the speculation regarding Josh McDaniels wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."

But while national media had McDaniels signed, sealed and delivered to multiple landing spots, the proposition that he'd leave at all was never a likelihood. 

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The Rams weren't attractive to him from the outset. Jacksonville didn't excite him, either. And on Monday, he passed on the 49ers opportunity. 

The lure of a blank slate in San Fran at quarterback and GM didn't outpace the uncertainty of going cross-country to work for a seemingly dysfunctional franchise that's cycled rapidly through coaches and has an unrealistic sense that it's a long, long way removed from its glory days, the only remnant remaining from that being perhaps the logo on the helmet. 

With four kids and a job McDaniels considers one of the 10 best on coaching -- head man or no -- he will stay on as the Patriots' offensive coordinator.

"I was really impressed with (Niners owner) Jed York and (team executive) Paraag Marathe . . . and the people that came from the 49ers organization," McDaniels said on a conference call this morning. "They did a great job with their presentation. Humbled to be included in that process. At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

The same faulty speculative reasoning that had McDaniels as good as gone from the Patriots will move on undeterred today and surmise that McDaniels is staying with the Patriots because he knows, or has been promised, that he'll receive the head coaching job when Bill Belichick steps aside. 

While the Kraft family certainly thinks highly of McDaniels and that could come to pass, anyone tapping their foot and checking their watch waiting for Belichick to step down is in for a long wait. He's showing no signs of wrapping it up and, while I haven't been told directly McDaniels isn't the automatic successor, he wouldn't be taking interviews at all if he were assured that. 

What will be interesting to see is whether interest remains high in him for other jobs or the perception that he's never going to leave means teams don't bother to ask. San Fran obviously had its heart set on McDaniels. Even though Nick Caserio passed on the chance to interview with the Niners for their open GM job, the team did talk to Louis Riddick about the spot. He and McDaniels have high regard for each other. 

Between McDaniels, Caserio and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, the people closest to Belichick on the coaching flow chart all had chances to go somewhere else and all passed on the chance. It's another example of not why the Patriots are good but why they remain good. Stability. 
 

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

McDaniels: 'Best for my family and myself' to remain with Patriots

Josh McDaniels will be staying put in New England, he said on Monday, because that's what's best for him and his family at this point in time. 

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The Patriots offensive coordinator was a front-runner for the open head-coaching job in San Francisco but has removed his name from consideration.

"I was really impressed with [Niners owner and CEO] Jed York and [Chief Strategy Officer and EVP of Football Operations] Praag [Marathe] and [Director of Football Administration and Analytics] Brian [Hampton] and the people that came from the 49ers organization. They did a great job with their presentation. Again, humbled to be included in that process.

"At this time it's just best for my family and myself to remain here in New England and focus on this year's playoffs and finish out the year however it turns out."

Next season will be McDaniels' sixth full season back with the Patriots since returning during the playoffs of the 2011 season.

"I've always said how grateful I am to have this opportunity to work here with Mr. Kraft and his family, and coach under Bill with a lot of great guys on our staff, and to have the privilege to get to work with the players that we work with each day," McDaniels said. "It's a great opportunity. I'm very thankful to be here, and very much looking forward to this week against Pittsburgh."