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It's Time to Consider the Possibility Josh McDaniels is a Sleeper Agent Sent by Belichick to Destroy the Raiders from Within

Rusty Costanza. Shutterstock Images.

It's a tale as old as ... 2005? I guess? The first time Bill Belichick sent his assistants out into the world to bring ruin and chaos to football programs desperate for relevance.  And they succeeded in their missions, all. 

Back then, it was Romeo Crennel to Cleveland and Charlie Weis to Notre Dame. For each, some degree of success came eventually. But it was fleeting. In the end, they'd ruined everyone's time and set their employers plans to gain some level of respectability back years. Later it was Eric Mangini to the Jets. And even though he left under a cloud of betrayal and later disgraced himself by creating the Spygate fiasco, Fredo ended up ruining the Jets like he was still working on Belichick's behalf. Then Scott Pioli took over in Kansas City. Later Crennel went there. Neither broke the hot streak of failure. Eventually Thomas Dimitroff got the GM job in Atlanta, where even his success became Belichick's triumph. Then it was Matt Patricia to Detroit and Joe Judge to the Giants. We all know how those went and where they ended up. Currently Nick Caserio is in charge of perhaps the worst team in football. 

In between, there have been various other coordinators, assistants, scouting directors, player personnel guys, and even one team chaplain, believe it or not, who have all carried out operations in the same, broad, overarching scheme. To act as a Patriots fifth column. Defined as: "A group of secret sympathizers or supporters of an enemy that engage in espionage or sabotage within defense lines or national borders." 

There are two things these covert operatives have all had in common. One, they were all considered, to varying degrees, considered indispensable. Two, they all succeeded in their missions. By failing.

Perhaps none more so than Josh McDaniels, who is on his second assignment. As they say in spycraft, he spent a dozen years out in the cold after undermining the Broncos. (Using the 25th overall pick on Tim Tebow was a crowning achievement of subversive activity.) Now he's in Las Vegas. And after yesterday's debacle, his mission appears to be well ahead of schedule:

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Which leads me to the conclusion that none of this is accidental. It cannot be. How can you take a team that went 10-7 last year and made the playoffs, add the best receiver in the league in Davante Adams, and be 2-5 and unable to cross midfield in 57 minutes of football unless it's by design?

It's just a hypothesis, I'll grant you. But it makes sense on so many levels. It would explain why Belichick didn't bring in another offensive coordinator. Bill O'Brien, for one, who has already run his system here at a high level and is currently on loan to former Belichick sleeper agent (the station chief in Miami, 2005-06) Nick Saban. Instead he opted to just install Patricia and Judge to keep the lights on until McDaniels gets back. Sooner rather than later, it would appear. That way, if there are any lingering issues between Mac Jones and his new coaches, Belichick can hand him McDaniels back and say, "See? You wanted him. Here he is. Now go win me a couple of playoff games." Plus he never gave Patricia the "coordinator" title, so no one has to appear to have been demoted. He can just make a lateral move back to whatever he was doing in the esteemed Ernie Adams Chair up in the booth on game days. Everybody wins. 

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And it makes sense just from a revenge standpoint. Belichick is friendly enough with Jon Gruden. And he's definitely boys with Mike Mayock, who when he was with NFL Network would get scoops on Pats news in exchange for uttering such ridiculousness as, "Ryan Mallett really popped at Patriots practice today!" So you can easily see how he'd harbor a grudge against the Raiders for kicking them to the curb over Gruden's old leaked emails. Besides, Al Davis has been dead a long time and even a legendary football historian like Belichick owes nothing to the son the Ol' Maverick clearly made only using one nut. 

So my prediction: McDaniels doesn't survive the season. Comes back to Foxboro. Is welcomed with open arms. Is handed the playsheet. And spends the next few years cashing Mark Davis's checks while winning games for the Patriots. Again. And Belichick wins. Again. Just like it's happened to all those other teams. 

Giphy Images.

That's my theory. And I'm sticking with it until proven otherwise. It's certainly more plausible than believing Josh McDaniels is this bad at coaching.