Broncos Josh McDaniels knew this wasn’t just any other loss. After Denver’s 59-14 beatdown to Oakland, the coach tried to make sense of the seemingly season-shattering moment.
“I apologize to [owner] Pat [Bowlen], the organization, the fans, everybody else. That was awful,” McDaniels said.
This was the type of game that turns a normally loyal fanbase against a coach. In a poll Monday morning on the Denver Post’s website, 83% of voters says the team has already quit on the season and won’t even “keep trying.”
We’d expect the fans to be so emotional, but they aren’t the only ones taking the loss hard.
Mark Kislza of the Denver Post writes that Kyle Orton “is done” in Denver and Orton just doesn’t know it. Kislza wonders when the Tim Tebow era will start.
Another headline in the Post: “Josh losing fans; is he losing team too?” Inside the article: “Nothing about the team [McDaniels] coaches bears any resemblance to the things he talks about.”
(The reaction reminds us a lot of the response Tennessee’s 59-0 loss in New England inspired last year.)
It’s safe to say the honeymoon is over for McDaniels in Denver. The lucky part here is his schedule and an owner known for patience. The Broncos go to London to face the 49ers, a team in bigger disarray than them. Then they get a bye week to regroup.
McDaniels needs to show his coaching chops the next nine weeks, but it wouldn’t take that long to turn around those poll results and the writers’ opinions.
All Denver needs is to win two straight games. If that happens, everyone will shower McDaniels with praise, saying the team didn’t give up when times were darkest. They’ll realize they overreacted. If they go 1-1, then McDaniels will be the same jerk they thought he was all along.
If they go 0-2, they will burn him at the stake.