Josh McDaniels won’t even finish his second season as Broncos head coach.
McDaniels’ team was 3-9 on the season and 5-17 since they jumped out to a fast start to open the 2009 campaign. The timing of the move is a surprise because McDaniels met with the media Monday and players were in house as normal.
Bowlen’s ultimate decision won’t shock anyone, though. McDaniels was slowly getting buried in an avalanche of distractions, bad personnel decisions, and tough losses.
Once viewed as one of the most stable, well-run organizations in football, the Broncos now look like a mess. We’re only a week removed from Bowlen saying that McDaniels was safe, then backtracking hours later. There are serious questions about whether the right infrastructure is in place with the team and who is making the decisions.
The Broncos exonerated McDaniels after the “Spygate II” affair erupted, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter indicates the scandal played a role in McDaniels’ departure.
“Pat Bowlen decides to make a decision that really was in the makings ever since the NFL found the Broncos guilty of the videotaping incident,” Schefter said on Sportscenter. “This is something that clearly the Broncos were thinking about, it was something they were unhappy about in London.”
It’s unclear who will coach the team the rest of the year, but the next full-time head coach has a long rebuilding project. The Broncos have a roster full of offensive players that fit McDaniels’ system. They have an aging defense, and not enough young talent because of poor drafts on both sides of the ball. For that, Mike Shanahan and McDaniels are both to blame.
Bowlen will continue paying them both in 2011.