I can’t wait to see the chess match between Mike McDaniel and Bill Belichick. The offensive savant vs. the guy who has seen everything is going to be fascinating to see unfold.
The playcalling that McDanield will be unleashing will be very interesting. It’s going to be interesting every week but this is week one and it’s for real. So, I’m beyond curious to see how McDaniel calls the game. He’s only been the play-caller for a team once, last year, and he did a fine job. Now he’s the undisputed play-caller and he has a much different set of offensive players to use to attack defenses.
Keeping the Patriots off-balance will be huge in having the offense be successful. That’s not to say that it’s not possible that simply throwing a screen pass out to Tyreek Hill or Jaylen Waddle where they break down the defense themselves and take it the distance won’t happen. But how McDaniel mixes running and throwing each possession will be paramount.
In the preseason, we saw a good amount of play-action on first down. I’m sure Bill and the Patriots noticed this as well. I expect McDaniel to utilize play-action on early downs to loosen the defense up.
But, we all know the calling card of this offense is going to be running the ball and making every running play appear like a run until Tua boots the other way. Every movement by the offensive line needs to be perfect so that the defense, in those few seconds where they’re deducing if the play is a run or a pass, are truly unsure of themselves. That’s what leads to big chunk plays downfield.
Mike McDaniel said it himself that he prepares to expect the unexpected. I imagine he uses that philosophy on his opponents as well. I think there will be times he will use that idea to pass when most don’t always pass such as a 3rd and one. But then, I can see him thinking that the defense probably thinks they are going to pass on 3rd and one and then he hits them with a basic run. We will get a sense of McDaniel’s brain on Sunday.