Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week 3 matchup a family affair for McDaniels


Josh McDaniels and his brother, Ben, have spent a lot of time next to each other on the sidelines. This season, they've spent a fair amount of time across the field.

After a week's worth of joint practices and a subsequent preseason match-up, the McDaniels brothers are set for their third rendezvous in a month.

It will be the first time in their respective careers that the two face off in the regular season, and brother Josh told reporters Monday that he and the New England Patriots won't be pulling any punches for his younger sibling.

"It will be an enjoyable thing for us to see one another, and I know we are both going to be competing and trying to help our teams the best that we can," McDaniels said, via the team's website. "I wish him all the success in the world because he is my brother, but for one weekend we're going to try to do everything we can to be successful on our side. I know they will do the same."

Ben joined Josh on the Denver Broncos' staff in 2009, then working as an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach under big bro. Now, he's in his second year with Tampa Bay and helping to develop another young(ish) quarterback in Josh Freeman. 

Freeman, who passed for more than 4,000 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, has struggled to find his rhythm thus far, completing only 45 percent of his passes in his first two games. He's been largely stifled in the pocket as well, rushing for only 16 yards on four attempts while taking four sacks. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has had nothing but good things to say about buddy Greg Schiano's crew this week though, saying they're more like an undefeated team at this point than one without a win. And despite being able to sack the mobile Freeman three times in his brief appearance in last month's preseason game, coach Belichick praised the 25-year-old's abilities Tuesday while speaking with reporters.

"He has all the skill. It looks like he's definitely improved in terms of his overall presence on the field, handling the team and all those things, from when we saw him in '09 in London to working against him last year in practice to seeing him this year in games and practices," Belichick said.

"He's been in a couple real competitive situations in the fourth quarter and has done what the team needed him to do."

What Freeman's team desperately needs now is a win, and it'll be interesting to see if the younger McDaniels brother can outscore brother Josh and overcome a Patriots pass defense that has been impressive to start the season.

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