Last week, the Broncos sent conflicting messages as to the question of whether coach Josh McDaniels will be back in 2011. Initially, owner Pat Bowlen told FanHouse.com that, yes, McDaniels will return. Not long thereafter, the team issued a written statement from Bowlen that was much more equivocal.
If McDaniels returns, there’s growing talk that he’ll do so either with G.M. Brian Xanders calling the shots when it comes to personnel moves, or alternatively with the team hiring someone from outside the organization to work with Xanders.
From the team’s perspective, such talk is premature. “We have not made any decisions of that nature regarding the 2011 season.” Broncos spokesman Patrick Smyth told PFT via e-mail on Saturday.
If a decision to keep McDaniels but strip him of personnel authority ultimately is made, it would make plenty of sense. Although, technically, McDaniels and Xanders currently are expected to reach a consensus as to all moves, the widespread belief is that McDaniels runs the show. And if McDaniels indeed runs the show from a personnel perspective, he’s not running it very well.
From trading Jay Cutler to trading a first-round pick from the Cutler trade in order to draft cornerback Alphonso Smith, who then was traded to the Lions for nothing, to trading Brandon Marshall to perhaps the biggest affront of them all — sending running back Peyton Hillis plus a couple of late-round picks to Cleveland for quarterback Brady Quinn — the personnel moves in Denver over the past couple of years have not been good ones.
Though many Broncos fans are hoping for McDaniels to lose not only his personnel authority but also his job, revamping the player-acquisition function could be the middle ground that allows McDaniels to keep his title, even if he loses much of his juice.