Broncos owner Pat Bowlen went in crazy mode this offseason. He fired head coach Mike Shanahan, and hired former New England Patriots' offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to replace the two-time Super Bowl winner.
With Shanahan gone, defensive coordinator Bob Slowik was asked to find another place to coach. Slowik would be replaced by former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan.
And last but not least, Rick Dennison, the former offensive coordinator, was demoted to the Broncos' offensive line coach. Mike McCoy was hired in Dennison's place.
So now we know how they got here, let's take a look at who they are, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
Josh McDaniels - Head Coach (33)
McDaniels was at one point the fifth-youngest NFL head coach ever. McDaniels has been called Bill Belichick's protégé, and will look to lead the Broncos back to the playoffs.
McDaniels spent most of his coaching career with the New England Patriots. At the beginning of his career he was a graduate assistant at Michigan State, but other than that McDaniels has spent the rest of his career under Belichick.
McDaniels spent the 2001 season as a personal assistant for the Patriots. Not much, but he got his name out there. For the next two seasons, he was a defensive coaching assistant. For the next five years, he was the Patriots' quarterbacks coach. And for the last three years, McDaniels was the offensive coordinator under Belichick.
All of that coaching experience for the world champion Patriots proved to be important in the Broncos' hiring process, as McDaniels was named the newest Broncos head coach on January 11.
One thing I really like about McDaniels is how good he is with working with quarterbacks. Matt Cassel is who he is today because of McDaniels' coaching. Without McDaniels, Cassel probably would've broken under the insane amount of pressure that was given to him when Tom Brady went out in the first week of the 2008 season.
Now I know a lot of Bronco fans don't like McDaniels. He is the reason why Jay Cutler is in the Windy City right now. However, I think he was just doing what he thought was best for the team. He knew how good Cassel was, and that's why he went out and tried to acquire him from New England before the draft. Subsequently, that angered Cutler, and Jay was driven out of Denver.
McDaniels has made a lot of bold moves this offseason. Along with Cutler, McDaniels decided to go with Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno with the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. While most experts thought the Broncos needed to go defense in the first round, McDaniels ignored those expectations and drafted the stud Bulldog.
Mike McCoy - Offensive Coordinator (36)
Mike McCoy was also brought into the Denver Broncos' youth movement. McCoy, who was formerly the Carolina Panthers' quarterbacks coach, will look to improve upon the Broncos' offense this season.
McCoy, like McDaniels, spent all of his coaching career with just one team, the Carolina Panthers. McCoy was an offensive assistant to then Carolina Panthers' head coach George Seifert in 2000. The next year, McCoy was promoted to the Panthers' wide receivers coach, the same year Steve Smith came into the league.
The next season, with Seifert out as head coach, John Fox was hired as the new Panthers' head coach. McCoy was an offensive assistant to the team again. From 2003 through 2008, McCoy jumped around from jobs such as offensive assistant, to quarterbacks coach, to wide receivers coach.
McCoy was hired as the Broncos' offensive coordinator on January 19, just a little over a week after McDaniels was hired.
I like a few things about McCoy. He was one of Steve Smith's main lifelines as his coach. Smith is one of the top 10 receivers in the league, and Broncos' wide receiver Eddie Royal looks like he could be just as successful as Smith. Royal and other Broncos' receiver Brandon Marshall should thrive with McCoy's experience with All-Pro receivers.
I also like that, like McDaniels, McCoy came in from just one team, and can take his experience to Denver. He's still young, so he has a great learning curve, and I really believe McCoy will contribute to the Broncos' offense.
Mike Nolan - Defensive Coordinator (50)
Unlike the two coaches above him, Nolan has bounced around to pretty much every team imaginable. Nolan has coached everywhere from the west coast (Stanford Cardinals) to the east coast (Baltimore Ravens), and from the north (Oregon Ducks) to the south (LSU Tigers). Simply put, he's been on the road more than you have.
Nolan has a ton of coaching experience. Starting in 1981, Nolan has more experience than McDaniels and McCoy have combined. Though his most recent job with the 49ers was his first head coaching job at any level, Nolan should be extremely versatile for the Broncos.
Nolan started the most recent season with the 49ers 2-5, before being fired midway though the season. During his time in San Francisco, Nolan went 18-37, and never finished above third in the NFC West standings. It doesn't seem like head coaching is Mike Nolan's gig.
Nolan will be making one big change in Denver, and that is implementing the 3-4 defensive scheme. Denver, who usually plays the 4-3, didn't have much success in 2008, as they allowed 28 points per game, which was 30th in the league. They also finished in the bottom half of most of the key defensive categories, including yards allowed, passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.
This will be Nolan's 10th defensive-related coaching job, and his fifth different NFL team he was a defensive coordinator for. Nolan has coached 10 different teams in his career.
Overall I'm pretty excited for this upcoming season. I think owner Pat Bowlen did a great job hiring great coaches for the Broncos. Only time will tell for the success factor each coach brings to the table.
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