Josh McDaniels is distancing himself from not only Mike Shanahan, but also Bill Belichick. Whereas McDaniels diverges from Shanahan with his handling of the QB and RB positions, McDaniels also spits in the face of the Belichick philosophy by trading away the Denver 2010 1st round pick to obtain a 2009 2nd round pick.
Belichick has frequently traded draft picks in order to obtain higher picks in next year's draft, or to obtain extra picks. For example, in 2008 he traded a second rounder to San Diego for San Diego's third rounder in 2008 and second rounder in 2009.
Just this weekend, the Patriots traded a 2009 third rounder to Jacksonville for a 2010 second rounder, and traded another 2009 third rounder to Tennessee for another 2010 second rounder.
I don't want to list every single move by the Patriots over the past decade, but you can look it up yourself and you'll see what I mean—trading for extra picks and "delaying gratification" by trading a pick to get a higher pick in next year's draft is something that has been a key ingredient of the Patriots' success.
Yet McDaniels traded the Broncos' 2010 first round pick to Seattle for a 2009 2nd rounder, that was used on CB Alphonso Smith. He was not assertive in demanding a condition that Seattle would get whatever ended up as the lower pick between Denver and Chicago—this will be Denver's original pick.
The only way this trade ends up being good is if the Broncos win the Super Bowl next year, or at least come close.
And that's not even mentioning the possibility that the Broncos go something like 6-10 or even 3-13. Optimistically, the Broncos can be a Super Bowl contender in 2010, but no way in 2009.
Optimistically, Kyle Orton becomes Matt Cassel, and players like Elvis Dumervil and Jarvis Moss become effective 3-4 OLBs, and the Broncos use their 2010 first and second round picks on defensive linemen and sign a top free agent DL...but all that will take TWO seasons, it won't happen in merely ONE season.
Yet Matt Cassel couldn't master the offensive system in just one year; it takes several years for a DE to convert to an effective OLB; and the Broncos completely ignored their DL this year meaning that it won't be until next year when they can fix it.
EVEN THE MOST OPTIMISTIC ASSESSMENT OF THE BRONCOS, IN WHICH THEY ARE SUPER BOWL CONTENDERS IN 2010, INDICATE THAT 2009 WILL HAVE A LOT OF GROWING PAINS.
That is why trading the 2010 1st round pick is so bizarre. Maybe trade away 2011 or 2012, but don't trade away 2010!
The Patriots went 6-10 in Belichick's first season in 2000, and then won the Super Bowl in 2001. The highest draft pick Belichick ever had was No. 6 overall in 2001 (to get Richard Seymour), simply because 2000, his first season, was the worst season he ever had with the Patriots.
Does anyone really believe that Belichick in 2000 would have traded a 2001 1st rounder for a 2000 2nd rounder? That Alphonso Smith is better than Richard Seymour? That Alphonso Smith is better than having a high 1st round pick that could be traded down to obtain a lower 1st rounder plus a second rounder?
Belichick was confident in himself, but he understood that the very first season can have growing pains, which is why during his first offseason in 2000 he didn't trade away the 1st round pick from 2001.
McDaniels is even more confident, and he feels insulted by the insinuation that he is merely a protege of Belichick.
He believes he must one-up his mentor by winning the Super Bowl his very first season (two years is too long), and therefore he traded away next year's first round pick to publicly display his confidence and to motivate the Broncos players.
McDaniels has spit in the face of the Belichick philosophy to building a team. He does not believe in delayed gratification, he wants his toys NOW.
This is not to bash McDaniels, in fairness it remains to be seen how things turn out: Maybe Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the Patriots offense crumbles this year without McDaniels directing the offense.
Belichick realizes with regret that whereas Charlie Weiss, Romeo Crennel, and Eric Mangini were expendable, that it was Josh McDaniels who was the true secret to the Patriots' success.
Meanwhile, the Broncos win the Super Bowl. McDaniels by winning the SB in his very first season proves he is superior to Belichick who took two long years to bring home the Lombardi.
And as a minor side note, miles away in Seattle, the Seahawks lament their mistake in trading a second round pick for what ended up being a low first round pick.
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