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Week 17 Morning Aftermath: McDaniels should be on the hot seat

Before the 2009 season began, many league observers believed that Broncos coach Josh McDaniels had waded into a swamp several inches deeper than his height.

McDaniels shipped away a franchise quarterback, picked a fight with a gamebreaking receiver, and generally inspired little confidence with a press-conference demeanor involving more ticks and touches than a third-base coach trying to instruct the batter to swing away.

But then the games started, and McDaniels became the Broncos’ boy wonder.  Six wins later, it was presumed that McDaniels “gets it,” and that he has what it takes to be a successful NFL head coach.

Eight losses in 10 games later, it’s time to revisit that assessment, especially with receiver Brandon Marshall now destined to be shipped out of town in the offseason.

And here’s the key — with Mike Shanahan poised to return to the NFL and give up most if not all of the remaining $14 million the Broncos owe him over the next two years, owner Pat Bowlen could choose to divert that money to fund the balance of McDaniels’ contract over the next three seasons, with roughly $8 million to spare.

It’s unlikely that Bowlen will pull the trigger.  But who would have dreamed a year ago that Shanahan would get shown the door?  This year, the outcome was the same, including a three-game losing streak that squandered what had once appeared to be a clear shot at the postseason.

So while the end result of McDaniels’ first season still wasn’t as bad as most thought it would be — and also not nearly as horrendous as the overall performance of Eric Mangini’s Browns, Raheem Morris’ Buccaneers, Jim Schwartz’s Lions, Jim Mora’s Seahawks, Todd Haley’s Chiefs, and Steve Spagnuolo’s Rams — McDaniels merits as much or more scrutiny than each of them, and even if he sticks around for another year he deserves a spot on the hot seat for 2010.

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50 Responses to “Week 17 Morning Aftermath: McDaniels should be on the hot seat”
  1. leatherneck says: Jan 4, 2010 2:03 AM

    McDaniels is a young guy. He screwed up this year with his many mistakes. He’ll be OK in the future.
    Another story idea: The Dolphins missed the playoffs after winning the division last year. What’s wrong in Miami? Is there a schism?

  2. Mr.ClaytonBigsby says: Jan 4, 2010 2:06 AM

    “and also not nearly as horrendous as the overall performance of Eric Mangini’s Browns, Raheem Morris’ Buccaneers, Jim Schwartz’s Lions, Jim Mora’s Seahawks, Todd Haley’s Chiefs, and Steve Spagnuolo’s Rams”
    You cant compare the talent level of those squads to Denver. Not to mention all the damage he caused to the offense that was ranked #2 last year. Cutler with a hospital room full of RB’s and a non existant D put up an 8-8 record under Shanahan. Improved D with no serious RB’s injuries and McOrton puts up and 8-8 record. FAIL

  3. stefanovich says: Jan 4, 2010 2:15 AM

    So wait… because he had more success than the other coaches he deserves more scrutiny? That doesn’t make any sense.
    Shanahan was ready to ship out Marshall last year. Cutler basically shipped himself out, being a crybaby and all, and calling him a “franchise QB” at this point is obviously laughable anyway. Give me a break.
    McDaniels turned their defense from one of the worst in the league into a quality unit, although they choked the big one today. They definitely have problems, but firing him won’t solve anything for the Broncos. Give him another year, at least.

  4. VonClausewitz says: Jan 4, 2010 2:18 AM

    Nah he’s earned a bye. You said it best – he’s done better than Mangini, Morris, Schwartz and Haley. He’s demonstrated that he is capable of having some success which is better than the aforementioned first year coaches. He still has rough edges and one wonders how much of a Napoleon thing he’s got going on. The collapse is a serious concern as it seems to lend weight to the question of whether or not his personality can keep a lockerroom. But he deserves another shot. And most likely he’ll get it. The up side of having a young coach demonstrate he can quickly adapt to his mistakes is that you end up with a young, long term coach. That’s rare enough to merit the risk.

  5. WCRaider says: Jan 4, 2010 2:20 AM

    He is a jackass who has no clue what he is doing. You must be able to communicate with your players. They are all adults just like the coaching staff, in theory. Remind me to tell you the “In Theory” joke sometime. It can’t be published or I would do so here.
    The thing that McDaniels doesn’t get is that he must deal with men in this league, not little boys which is how he is treating most of his players. He lacks maturity and that is an unforgivable sin. Just ask Mike Leach.

  6. culturalelite says: Jan 4, 2010 2:33 AM

    True, the Broncos’ record (8-8) was better than most expected, but McDaniels must be judged on the horrendous 2-8 finish, more than the inexplicable 6-0 start. Only the Lions and Rams fared worse in the final ten games.
    Maybe he’ll get better, maybe he won’t. In 2007, the Lions started 6-2, then finished 1-7. Rod Marinelli got another year, despite the skid, and he rewarded the team’s patience with an 0-16 record in ’08.
    If this had been a typical 8-8 season, with many fits and starts along the way, I’d think the idea of firing McDaniels ludicrous. This was not a typical 8-8 finish, and the team stopped coming to play weeks ago.
    It’s ironic as well, that with all the chatter throughout the season about how awful Cutler was with the Bears, in the end, he finished just one game worse than the Broncos (7-9). Bad, to be sure, but barely any worse, and with a two-game win streak to close the season.
    Bowlen should seriously consider stopping this train wreck.

  7. Forevercorr says: Jan 4, 2010 2:37 AM

    I can’t help but wonder if Bowlen brought on Mike Nolan for exactly this reason. Let’s face it, the defense won more games for Denver than the offense, Josh McDaniel’s “genius” title aside.
    I think McD is a fine enough coordinator right now but he was in no way prepared to deal with some of the finer elements of being a head coach, namely handling the press and dealing with his players as people. I wouldn’t be surprised if he went the way of his mentor, Bill Belichick, who mucked up his first gig as a head coach (with the Browns), destroyed a promising team, drove a QB out of town, was eventually canned, and got his stuff together somewhere else.
    On a related note, people want to put this Marshall thing specifically on Brandon’s head, but he’s a kid and a player with no power under management who finds it OK to belittle him in the public eye. This isn’t to say he handled it correctly (because he certainly didn’t), but how could he be expected to? What frame of reference does anyone have to deal with that? As a head coach it is your responsibility to be the adult (I know, they’re all adults, but seriously, that’s never really happened) and know how to handle things professionally. Josh has failed at it and I wouldn’t be sad to see him go.

  8. stetai says: Jan 4, 2010 2:37 AM

    He seemed like the worst coach in history before the season began, then after 6-0 he seemed like the best coach in history although no one could explain how he was doing it, and after going 2-8, he once again looks like the worst coach in history.
    I would say the finish shows the 6-0 was a total and complete fluke, and Denver will be lucky to win 6 games all year in 2010.
    Josh McDaniels going 6-0 is the NFL equivalent of Matt Serra knocking out George St. Pierre. it was a total and complete fluke and will never be repeated again, ever.

  9. AlphaBean says: Jan 4, 2010 2:39 AM

    So because he had ZERO expectations going into the season, which he vastly exceeded thus raising expectations after six games, then fell short of those raised expectations which, at the beginning of the season were nonexistent, we should consider him a failure?
    Just because some coaches come into a situation and succeed, too many people assume that it’s easy. Jon Gruden mounted a prized thoroughbred and whipped it harder than Tony Dungy did, getting it to succeed once. Then he continued to whip it, leaving it limping and bleeding when he was finally fired. Yet now Raheem Morris is shouldering the blame for having inherited a lame team that should be put down.
    I would like to see on this site an “in depth analysis” on the dynamic of inheriting a team built to win, versus inheriting a team in need of rebuilding. How much is it the coach, and how much is it the team? Dennis Green, for example, put many of the pieces in place for the Cardinals to make the Superbowl, but never had the chance to see it through. Same with Dungy’s Bucs.

  10. domsdad says: Jan 4, 2010 2:45 AM

    I believe McDaniels is a decent head coach and the demise of any franchise is constantly revolveilg head coaches. Look at the difference between Washington and Pittsburgh.

  11. Rasputin says: Jan 4, 2010 2:50 AM

    McD is plagued by the same problems he had as the Pats OC – predictability and an inability to make in-game adjustments. He either needs to fix that in himself, or offload those responsibilities.

  12. Univegabw says: Jan 4, 2010 2:56 AM

    This is ridiculous…maybe you should figure out why Marshall wasn’t playing. Last week in practice he complained of it being too cold and him not being able to breathe. Then the video showing him hurting his Hamstring looks like his contract was in mind and not his teammates. I’m more likely to pull my Hamstring walking to the kitchen then the truth that Marshall’s was as badly hurt as he led us to believe. Then Orton, Dawkins, Bailey, DJ Williams, and Graham actually went up to McDaniels and told him they believe Marshall needs to be benched and McDaniels then held a meeting in order to make sure the team felt the same way. Then we have the issue of Tony Scheffler not playing because of his comments about how he can’t wait for the Broncos season to end. I think that is justification to bench a player. McDaniels is doing a fine job…Cutler’s attitude is not a winning one and plus he brought Dawkins to Denver which to me was a huge bonus to the defense give him another year to create his team and people will eat their words.

  13. PolegoJim says: Jan 4, 2010 3:29 AM

    Little Hitler McDaniels found out this isn’t high school. You don’t treat NFL pro’s like children even though they act like it at times.
    The team made sure the message was clear: Mr. Hitler, this isn’t your team. You haven’t earned anyones respect, or the Generals stripes you’re trying to claim by just getting hired.
    Losses to the Raiders and Chiefs in two of three final games with the playoffs on the line? He’s got a ton of growing up to do, unfortunately at the expense of Bronco fans.

  14. dan.in.ny says: Jan 4, 2010 4:03 AM

    @Leatherneck: I would say one big reason why they didn’t make the playoffs is because the Patriots were healthy. Also the loss of Ronnie Brown and the Jets making drastic improvements pretty much spelled a No. 3 finish in the AFC East.
    McDaniels did everything he could to prove he was the big man on campus, but may have ended up rubbing one too many people the wrong way. I agree with you, leather, on him getting another chance. Although he might want to tone it down a bit when trying to show off to everyone that he’s the boss.

  15. mnmaverick says: Jan 4, 2010 5:43 AM

    We’ll take McDaniels in Minnesota, they can have Chilly.
    Remember what he accomplished his first two years? I didn’t think so.

  16. orangecrushd13 says: Jan 4, 2010 5:48 AM

    C’mon, yes it wasn’t a great ending to the season, but really, he should be on the hot seat for finishing 8-8 with one of the toughest schedules in the league(Indy, NE, Dal, Phil, SD twice, Pit, Balt, Cinc)? With that schedule and Shanny, they would have been no better than 8-8, probably worse as he would have kept that same sorry D-Coordinator. McD is going to be a very good, if not great coach. He is purging the roster of the turds(Cutler, Marshall, Sheffler). They will be much better next year.

  17. d.b.cooper says: Jan 4, 2010 6:27 AM

    He is too short to be a HC.

  18. StevePhillipsLikesFat/UglyChicks says: Jan 4, 2010 6:45 AM

    Florio, you are a retard. Seriously? The guy takes a Denver team that most expected to have a top 5 pick this year, and guides them to a 8-8 record. And you’re calling for his job? Dumbass

  19. FireJerryJones says: Jan 4, 2010 7:02 AM

    Hmmm.
    Shanahan coddled Cutler and Marshall… and got nothing.
    A guy comes along in his first year and puts the team ahead of the ‘individuals’.
    All the bad teams follow Florio’s knee jerk reactions… hire and fire coaches annually…
    They hired the kid. They should give him his five years to clean up the mess in Denver.
    Looks like defense (not the missing WR) was the problem as Charles ran the ball for 259 yards.
    The David Tyree catch will linger longer than this loss for McDaniels.

  20. tatum32 says: Jan 4, 2010 7:03 AM

    “What’s wrong in Miami? Is there a schism?”
    Nothing wrong in Miami , theyre old at end/pass rusher, and they still dont have a no. 1 receiver – theyre in the same division with New England and theyre transitioning into a new starting QB
    McDaniels will learn from this mistake, but his arrogance was showing in dealing with Marshall – and a deserved loss – I think some of it partially goes to Brandon Marshall, too. I mean, what part of “playoff decided game” didnt this guy get?

  21. lamename says: Jan 4, 2010 7:04 AM

    Wait, how is ANYONE in Denver on any kind of hot seat for getting rid of Cutler? I thought his play in Chicago proved someone in Denver was, in fact, a genius?

  22. Choirdrunk says: Jan 4, 2010 7:05 AM

    Miami had the most difficult strength of schedule in the NFL this year and, two years ago, prior to the GM and coaching change, was 1-15. Their starting QB, who posted a near 70% completion rating last year, was injured and their #1 WR, a holdover from the prior regime, is, by all accounts, a bust. They also lost their #1, ex-pro bowl RB to injury.
    I’m not a Dolphins fan but Soprano is closer to the coach of the year award than the hot seat.
    So no more talking out of you. Wear the dunce hat and go sit in the corner.

  23. downwithdansnyder says: Jan 4, 2010 7:10 AM

    I just want to become a young Head Coach so I can fail and get millions upon millions of dollars to do nothing….after failing. That’s a good gig. I would think some simple language about no buyout if a record is below .400 or something could help solve these owners forking out big $ to guys to can’t coach ‘em up enough to win games.

  24. deymond says: Jan 4, 2010 7:24 AM

    “owner Pat Bowled”

  25. ButchD says: Jan 4, 2010 7:43 AM

    At this point hard to say Cutler is even slightly more valuable than Orton, so when you add the picks the Broncos got, they easily got the better of that deal.

  26. milehiclown says: Jan 4, 2010 8:00 AM

    Child please.
    Let him build a team. Again: Shanny went 8-8 over his last three years with HIS guys. McD did the same with only a fraction of the types of players he wants/needs.
    This is just pure nonsense. The collapse was certainly disappointing but fire the guy?
    If McDummy is on the hot seat then Greg Rosenthall should be too–he makes as many mistakes as anybody.

  27. go dawgs...sic em says: Jan 4, 2010 8:03 AM

    Florio, you’re crazy. Their choke job was incredible the second half of the season but he’s not going anywhere. Jay Cutler, the franchise qb, that got shipped out had some stellar numbers in Chicago didn’t he? 3,600 yards and 27 touchdowns is great…but don’t forget the 26 picks!! McDaniels is safe without question.

  28. The Freakin' Deacon says: Jan 4, 2010 8:08 AM

    No way should his seat be anything other than warm. He coached an 8-8 squad to 8-8. Give the defense a chance to build some confidence. And that Franchise quarterback? Yeah, he threw 26 picks. The only other qbs even close on that lost are rookies and Jake Delhomme.

  29. Adam says: Jan 4, 2010 8:09 AM

    This is the head coach’s first season with denver. I wasn’t happy with him giving jay culter away and thanks for giving him to chicago by the way. But if he gets rid of Marshall away in a trade or so then I thinks it the best for the team with his record. but it could be a mistake because he has had probably a good season in receiving.

  30. tomzilla says: Jan 4, 2010 8:34 AM

    I agree 100%. McDaniels should be canned…today. Nolan should not be the coach, he should remain D-coordinator.
    McD didn’t bring any of these guys in (the GMs do that)
    McD doesn’t do anything with the defense (Nolan did that)
    McD controlled the offense which SUCKED!

  31. Bob S. says: Jan 4, 2010 8:42 AM

    Why not wait until season is over THEN cut or trade Scheffler or Marshall? Instead of just about ensuring your team that still was alive in the race that they would lose? And it was possible, all it took was had Broncos won a Raiders victory. And that may well have happened yesterday had not Frye got hurt and Russell forced to come in and lose the game for the Raiders.
    Suspending those 2 players on his own was as dumb a move as Mara on his own suspending Burress last season. And both situations turned out ending the same way.

  32. Philtration says: Jan 4, 2010 8:47 AM

    It sounds like a few Bronco fans are trying to blame Cutler for this mess.
    You have your Kyle Orton and your bitchy little coach so get over the Cutler thing.
    Sign Orton for more money than he is worth and then enjoy his no better than average ass because the Broncos will not start another season 6-0 with him ever again.
    That part of the season was the fluke Bronco fans.
    Not the 2-8 dung pile that followed.

  33. kramer says: Jan 4, 2010 8:54 AM

    wtf is the matter with you florio….your obessions with getting HC’s fired less than a year on the job is duly noted….
    what a whack job you’ve become

  34. mwcarolina says: Jan 4, 2010 9:17 AM

    McDainels did pretty good for a first year, he had his ups and downs, the defense still needs work, but i say the first pick they use should be on Colt McCoy if he is still there, they pick him up then they have a future, but McDaniels has done a good job, he hasn’t handled the Marshall thing right, but the trading of Cutler turned out to be a win-win thing.

  35. ch19079 says: Jan 4, 2010 9:20 AM

    The broncos missed the playoffs after starting 6-0. He shoud be worried about his job. But I dont think they will fire him after only 1 season. Maybe Marshell was a problem that hurt the team. Maybe Cutler couldnt get it done. Maybe, maybe, maybe…. You have to give a new coach atleast 3 seasons with a new team before pulling the plug.
    remember, he may have lost 8 of his last 10, but he did win 6 of his first 6 games with Kyle Orton at QB and a “I dont care” WR named Marshell.
    That said, if they dont get to .500 next season, he probubly wont be there for a 3rd season.

  36. mfclock says: Jan 4, 2010 9:24 AM

    I agree 100%. McDaniels should be canned…today. Nolan should not be the coach, he should remain D-coordinator.
    McD didn’t bring any of these guys in (the GMs do that)
    McD doesn’t do anything with the defense (Nolan did that)
    McD controlled the offense which SUCKED!
    Wasn’t McDummy supposed to be some boy wonder genius on offense?!? He screwed up the one thing that was not broken on this team. All he had to do was help cutler in the redzone.

  37. Cecil says: Jan 4, 2010 9:58 AM

    Awesome. The armchair experts and Raider fans are all chiming in-Little Hitler! McDummy!
    It’s cute. Marshall was benched for being late. The vets on the team had demanded some accountability–they got it. And Scheffler is a blowhard who isn’t half as good as he thinks he is.
    McDaniels, and the Broncos, will be fine. Especially when the interior offensive line gets a dose of youth and strength. Hochstein and Wiegmann are finito.
    The rest of you can go back to hugging your old Chester McGlockton jerseys and weeping.

  38. yem123 says: Jan 4, 2010 10:00 AM

    Yeah everyone should be fired. Forget about consistency or team building. Win or die. Constant flux. Immediate gratification. High draft picks abandoned after one subpar year. Is that the kind of league you want?

  39. Favre On HGH says: Jan 4, 2010 10:16 AM

    Denver Post said he was booed off the field after the Chiefs game.

  40. Asswipe Johnson (Pronounced Az-Wee-Pay) says: Jan 4, 2010 10:31 AM

    As an owner, you don’t hire somebody…tell them they can breakdown the core of young players so he can get “his guys” in…and then fire the guy you just gave the freedom to do this. McDaniels is rooting out the turds and inconsistent players.
    And Cutler has done nothing in Chicago to make the trade appear to be in their favor…
    The coaches that should be on the hotseat are the ones who made glaring mistakes. Such as Gary Kubiak and John Fox. Now these two coaches had lighting in a bottle right under their very noses and elected to go with the trash playing ahead of them…Kubiak in not going with Arian Foster until the last two games of the season…and Fox in doing virtually the same with Matt Moore.
    These two coaches have stood by and watched all year long as their one-sided offenses could have been two-sided offenses with one simple and obvious player change. The failure to make these moves cost both teams a playoff appearance. Now that is relevant…

  41. Randall says: Jan 4, 2010 10:43 AM

    # leatherneck says: January 4, 2010 2:03 AM
    Another story idea: The Dolphins missed the playoffs after winning the division last year. What’s wrong in Miami? Is there a schism?
    Answer: Last year I believe they played a last-in-the-division schedule. This season they played first-in-division. Big difference.

  42. dcfan-1212450 says: Jan 4, 2010 10:46 AM

    @culturalElite
    Maybe he’ll get better, maybe he won’t. In 2007, the Lions started 6-2, then finished 1-7. Rod Marinelli got another year, despite the skid, and he rewarded the team’s patience with an 0-16 record in ’08.
    __________________________________
    To add onto that, Jim Zorn started 6-2 in Washington, and finished the 6-18 since. The great coaches don’t just have great schemes, but make great adjustments. Good coaches can always start well, but then teams figure them out, and they never seem to be able to counter that. Josh Mcdaniel may be on that road. Only time will tell.

  43. TigerS Boy ToY says: Jan 4, 2010 10:54 AM

    I thought McDaniels invented football, I ‘m shocked he wasn’t a success after realizing
    Football players WIN THE GAME BECAUSE THEY ARE ACTUALLY PLAYING THE GAME.
    The Broncos schedule was real FLUFFY to start.
    He should have called Rex Ryan for advice.
    J-E-T-S…………………………………

  44. pitbullmama says: Jan 4, 2010 12:34 PM

    McDaniels has an ATTITUDE and is playing childish games with the players I wish he would just go away. They traded Shanahan and got the same results plus now we are going to lose Marshall also. It is going to come to the point nobody that is good is going to want to play for the Bronco’s because of McDaniels.

  45. troublesome56 says: Jan 4, 2010 1:33 PM

    The one thing that the Broncos have always had going for them is that it has been a Class Act organization. In the past, problems have been dealt with behind closed doors, between the parties involved. Enter Josh McDaniels, and class went right out the door – from his appearance to his demeanor, he has dragged this organization down. He airs every problem in the media, putting the players on the defensive, and creating an air of drama akin to high school. GROW UP, COACH! My teenager has a better grasp of how to deal with people than you do, and how to keep a confidence. McDaniels seems to lack the people skills necessary to be an effective pro-football coach – this IS the NFL, afterall, and this is Denver Bronco country! We used to have higher standards and expectations, for our coaches and players.

  46. Big Al says: Jan 4, 2010 2:23 PM

    I think McDaniels is an outstanding coach for the Donkeys and should be givne a lifetime contract and ownership of the team!
    Signed:
    A Charger Fan

  47. slipknot says: Jan 4, 2010 9:28 PM

    The only thing Denver has going for it is the Denfensive Coordinator. Keep him as head coach and fire the McDaniels and let Nolan build a team without the whiners.

  48. kingsnake1953 says: Jan 5, 2010 1:09 AM

    Fire coach mcblockhead and use the remainder of the money the broncos get back from Shanahan and go after Bill Cowher ASAP. I bet he would be salivating to be the coach/gm of the broncos and the fans would go crazy

  49. mr.football says: Jan 5, 2010 7:02 AM

    If an NFL coach was qualified enough to get the job, then he is also qualified enough to get 3 years to prove himself worthy of the job. It’s a business. McDaniels seems like he understands the game. As for B. Marshall, he seems like he understands how to get arrested (multiple times). Let Marshall go, along with any other players who seems like poison, and then the Broncos will really be starting from scratch. McDaniels only obvious mistake so far, was giving Marshall a second chance, which only means he is a fair coach with a big heart. And owner Pat Bowlen knows what he’s doing when it comes to hiring coaches. The Broncos have been a very competitive team under his ownership. The only loser he ever employed was Wade Phillips, and that was long ago.

  50. PolegoJim says: Jan 5, 2010 1:02 PM

    @ Cecil
    Little Hitler – thanks for reading.
    His overall results are nothing compared to the damage he’s capable of with his childish antics. I can’t stand the guy.
    He doesn’t coach like a grown man, he coaches like a little brat with a shortmans chip on his shoulder, trying to immitate his daddy.
    Belichick earned his hoodie. Josh needs to do the same with some level of player respect.

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