Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Okay, Josh. You've got what you want. Now, You better be right!" - Year One of the McDaniels Era in Denver

Yup, he's the King of Denver football, but heavy is the head that wears the crown when the Broncos are losing.

We're a little over a year into the Josh McDaniels era. It is still far too early to make a determination whether or not this is an era or an error, but one thing is certain: The man knows what he wants.

Okay, so his first year in Chicago was less than spectacular, but losing Jay Cutler was hard to take for us here in Denver.

What Josh McDaniels wants: His guys playing his way and total secrecy about what playing that way entails. He wants good soldiers, and there are no sacred cows. Seriously, nothing is sacred. It started last off-season; Hey Josh, can I interest you in a good young quarterback entering his prime? "No thanks, I'd rather have someone willing to kowtow to my will. Thanks for the memories, Jay. Hope you enjoy Chicago."

This one hurts the most of all. Despite all his problems off the field, few players are as fun to watch as the amazing Brandon Marshall.

Can I interest you in a mercurial wide receiver that is a near lock to catch over one hundred balls a season? A guy as likely to make a spectacular play on the field and as he is to cause issues off of it? "No thanks, who needs the drama? Miami is giving me two number 2 picks...have a nice life, Brandon."

Thanks for the memories, Tony. Send us a postcard from sunny Detroit!

How about a solid young play-making tight end? "Something about that guy rubs me the wrong way,'re off to Detroit. The Lions are giving me a 5th round pick and a bag of balls!"

Josh McDaniels watches over the franchise with same aura of paranoia as the Belichick Patriots. The only problem is that unlike Belichick, he has not earned the benefit of the doubt. We know the Patriots' coach is good, the jury is still out on the Broncos' young commander.

There have been positive moments...Bursting onto the scene with a exuberant fist-pumping 6-0 start had the Mile High City another Mile higher with anticipation.

There have been negative moments...Dropping eight of the final ten games and slumping to a finish out of the playoffs yet again, and the fact that he seems to dislike having talented offensive players on his roster. Although he did give Lonie Paxton, his long snapper from New England, a five year 5.3 million dollar contract which included a 1 million dollar signing he DOES know talent. (A million dollar signing bonus for a long snapper?? Did I miss something?)

When you have the chance to get a long snapper like Lonie Paxton for only a million a year, you have to JUMP at that!

The fact that he has now run Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler out of town in order to create a talented young offensive nucleus makes sense, until you realize how that actually was a young talented offensive nucleus. Apparently these guys were bad for the team and were a cancer in the locker room, or at least that is the official story. Maybe it's even true.

However, the Broncos running game last season was exceptionally pedestrian last season, even though they spent their first round pick on a running back. Now with Brandon Marshall in Miami, the Broncos best wide receiver is either Jabar Gaffney or the Eddie Royal, who was severely under used in the McDaniel's regime last year after a solid rookie year under Shanahan. The Defense started out strong, but faded down the stretch to the point where Mike Nolan was dismissed as defensive coordinator. Now with less talent on the field and on the coaching staff, McDaniels must try to make even more with less as he tries to take less and improve on a middling 8-8 record from 2009. The Broncos are a handful of question marks, and very few answers. Even the quarterback position is unclear as although Kyle Orton has been named the starter for now, the possibility of Brady Quinn trying to compete for the job is now hovering.

Here is what we know about the Broncos as we enter 2010...
Josh McDaniels has gotten his way, the players he wanted gone are gone. It's good to be the king. However, the players he now has on the roster are not exactly overly impressive. There are holes all over the field, and the Broncos have gone from a one-dimensional team that was proficient on offense and struggled defensively into a no dimensional team that struggles on both sides of the football. A team that doesn't appear to know what it is or what it's doing, and a team that is trying to pretend that everything is okay.

I want to like Josh McDaniels. I was very excited when he lead the Broncos to a 6-0 start and was hopping all over the Invesco Field turf and pumping his fists and slapping five with anyone in the vicinity. However, the combination of his all too frequent spats with his players that he is barely older than along with his penchant to act far too much like his mentor than makes me comfortable, combined with the fact that after his great start, his sputtered like a reconditioned Yugo that is low on gas...well, as much as I want to like him, let's just say I have my doubts.

I will say this. You need to prove that you know what you're doing, Josh. And you need to do so quickly. Denver is used to a pretty solid football town. We love our Broncos so much that public pressure forced out a guy who won us two championships because he went a combined .500 for a three year span. You will not be afforded the same benefit of the doubt as Mike Shanahan was. You've made your bed by shipping out three of the most talented Broncos from town and clearly establishing yourself as the head honcho. Time will tell if you were brilliant or not, but you're clearly in charge. You've made your moves, and the Broncos are now clearly created in your image, all I can say is...Josh, You better be right! Now, Go Broncos!

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