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Mailbag: Don't dream of McDaniels; shut down Sam Darnold?

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Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in his latest mailbag. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. We are the future.

Does it make sense? Sure. Will it happen? Highly unlikely. Let's start here: It's understandable why some teams, perhaps many teams, would be sheepish about pursuing the same guy who just walked out on a deal with a team that had already sent out a press release announcing him as the next head coach. Not great for the ol' reputation. Then there's the business side of things. After McDaniels said no thanks to the Colts, he signed a huge extension to remain with Bill Belichick in New England. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported at the time that the deal spanned five years and included at least one year with the salary north of $4 million. McDaniels already gets head coach money with the Pats just to run the offense. It's a great gig! There's also the theory that McDaniels is the heir apparent to the 66-year-old Belichick, but that might be rooted more in speculation than an actual succession plan.

Bottom line: It's a great time to be a successful offensive coordinator on the coaching market, and McDaniels -- even after the Colts fiasco -- would almost certainly fetch a huge offer or two. I just don't think he'll put himself out there. At least not in 2019.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article was published prior to the news that the Saints fear Dez Bryant suffered a torn Achilles during practice on Friday.

Jordan, I think you got this one twisted a bit. Dez Bryant signing with the Saints one day before the start of Week 10 was not the plan. If Bryant had it his way, he would have been on the field with a new team during training camp. But he made the mistake of turning down a multi-year offer from the Ravens, and it appears another serious offer never materialized. Dez could spin it as a meticulously planned late-season debut, but the more likely truth is that he misjudged his value on the open market and got burned. Still, signing with a 7-1 team with a Hall of Fame quarterback playing at the height of his powers is not the worst ending to his free-agent odyssey.

As for All Day -- why wouldn't he want to be right where he is? Yes, a wave of injuries has decimated Washington's offensive line, a reality that could spell doom for both the Redskins and Peterson's production. But on balance, the situation worked out incredibly for Peterson. He's on a first-place team that relies heavily on his presence to keep the offense moving. Peterson leads the Redskins in yards from scrimmage and is fifth in the NFL in rushing. If not for Andrew Luck, Peterson would probably be the favorite for his second Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Peterson has never played in the Super Bowl, and he's unlikely to make it there with the Redskins. If you look at it through that lens, you could argue he would have been better off waiting to sign. But that's not who Peterson is. This is a guy who still has his eye on Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record. He believes he has another 2,000-yard season in his bones. Adrian Peterson wants the rock. And he found a perfect home in Washington's offense.

Bang the under and put the twins' college funds on it.

(Don't do that.)

(Also, the game is played the week after Thanksgiving.)

Nick, your last thought astutely hits on the single greatest fear of all Jets fans.

We'll start here: Darnold going to the sideline to nurse a sprained foot is not the worst thing right now. His last three games have been ugly (47.3 percent completion rate, 2:7 TD-to-INT ratio, 43.3 passer rating), and a rash of injuries has turned the Jets' offense into one of the most talent-poor units in the league. The Jets don't even employ a center who can competently snap the ball. Nick Mangold, where have you gone? Kevin Mawae, Jets Nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

The good news: In each of the Jets' three wins this season, Darnold looked every bit the overdue franchise savior. In an ideal world, Darnold authors a couple more solid performances before the season ends, sending him into the offseason with confidence. Because the Sam Darnold we saw flailing against the Dolphins looked shook. That was a first, and letting him hit the reset button at this juncture can't hurt. Call it the reset before the reset, because when Darnold takes the field in 2019, there are going to be a lot of new faces around him -- both on the field and on the sideline.

Jason Garrett immediately comes to mind when you talk about excuses. Remember, Garrett has been the Cowboys' head coach since midway through the 2010 season. That's eight years and a stretch that has included two postseason appearances and a single playoff win. Jerry Jones has told us for years that Garrett is a solution, not a problem. And just when it's starting to feel like the Teflon coach could finally lose Jerrah, here comes franchise white knight Troy Aikman to lay the true blame of the franchise on everyone but Jason Garrett:

"Go through the list and this team, over a long period of time, has been what it's been," Aikman said during his weekly radio appearance on 1310 The Ticket. "It hasn't always mattered who the head coach has been. So to me, if you're asking me, I'd say there has to be a complete overhaul of the entire organization. You can't just can't simply replace head coaches and say, 'Now it's going to be better.' No, it's been shown that it's not better. And you have to address how everything is being done."

Translation: It's on Jerrah and Stephen, not Jason. I'm not sure I agree, but Aikman's opinion carries a hell of a lot more weight than mine.

No. 1: It is way too soon to know whether or not Josh Gordon has moved beyond his off-the-field issues.

No. 2: If Gordon indeed has, he deserves 100 percent of the credit for that, not his boss.

No. 3: Bill Belichick should win Coach of the Year every year. That said, it makes no sense to give the award to a person who wants nothing to do with it. The man has a reputation with trophies:

Solution: Just rename the award The Coach Of The Year Who Is Not Bill Belichick.

The timing of Ryan Tannehill's latest injury really hurts. This was the year he was supposed to stay on the field and get the Dolphins back to the playoffs. He was supposed to build off the promising start to his partnership with Adam Gase that preceded the 2016 knee injury. A mysterious, lingering shoulder ailment is unlikely to make or keep allies in your organization. Back in March, we interviewed Adam Gase at the Annual League Meeting, and I was struck by how sincere Gase was in his belief in Tannehill. If Gase is still in the Dolphins plans' -- a big if -- will he be willing to tie his future to a 30-something quarterback showing signs of breaking down?

My opinion is that we're seeing the end of Tannehill in Miami, but his career will undoubtedly continue. I wouldn't be surprised if he breaks camp as someone's starter next September. He might just be the new Sam Bradford.

I think Bruce Arians is right to be intrigued by the thought of pairing up with a young passer as intriguing as Baker Mayfield. I think Bruce Arians is the type of guy who likes the idea of being remembered as The Coach Who Saved The Browns. I don't think Arians, or any head coach candidate, can discount the struggles and dysfunction that brought down every other head coach who's been hired in the Jimmy Haslam era. One thing I feel confident in: The Browns would love the idea of pairing Mayfield with someone of Arians' reputation and pedigree. It'd be a splash hire from an organization that loves the spotlight.

Until next time ...

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus. Listen to Dan on the Around The NFL Podcast, three times a week.

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