A New Beginning: Meeting the 2009 Denver Broncos Coaching Staff

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A New Beginning: Meeting the 2009 Denver Broncos Coaching Staff
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The 14-year marriage between the Denver Broncos' owner Pat Bowlen, and Head Coach Mike Shanahan, came to an abrupt end after the 2008 season as Bowlen left Shanahan for young upstart Josh McDainels.

It also seems that Shanahan got most of the coaches fired in the divorce, as the Broncos will retain only a few coaches from last season's staff.

But where did all these new guys come from? Here's a chance to get to know the new members of Pat Bowlen's family.

Head coach Josh McDaniels spent the past eight seasons on the New England Patriots staff and the previous three as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

During those three seasons, the Pats routinely had one of the best offenses in the NFL, and in 2007 set numerous records en route to an undefeated regular season and Super Bowl appearance.

In that '07 season, quarterback Tom Brady set a record with 50 touchdown passes, receiver Randy Moss had a record 23 TD catches, and slot receiver Wes Welker set a team record with 112 receptions.

In the '08 season, after Brady went down in game one, McDaniels coached unproven quarterback Matt Cassel (who didn't even start in college), and helped lead the team to an 11-5 record, just missing out on the playoffs.

McDaniels will enter the 2009 season as the second-youngest coach in the NFL, but he has not backed down from the spotlight this offseason and he remains confident that he will be successful.

He will also have a lot of new faces along with him as the Broncos enter the 2009 season.

Gone in 2009 is the entire 2008 defensive staff, and some would say rightfully so as the Broncos finished 29th in yardage allowed and 30th in points.

Bob Slowik, last year's defensive coordinator, took most of the heat last season and the fact that Shanahan wanted him back may have cost him his job.

Now, the 2009 Broncos defensive staff will be led by new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

Nolan is fresh off a three-and-a-half-year stint as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers where he was unable to lead the 49ers to the playoffs. He was fired mid-season in 2008 and replaced by Mike Singletary.

Nolan does, however, have a good resume as defensive coordinator. He has coached in New York with both the Jets and Giants as well as the Washington Redskins.

He also served with the Baltimore Ravens from 2002-04, where he coached 2003-04 defensive players of the year Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, respectively.

Nolan is not a newbie when it comes to the Broncos, he spent the late '80s and early '90s as linebacker/special teams coach, where he influenced players such as Karl Mecklenberg and Simon Fletcher.

Nolan plans to implement a 3-4 style defense, a departure from the 4-3 the Broncos have played under Shanahan, but a throwback to the days of Joe Collier and the Orange Crush that was so successful using the 3-4.

Joining him on the defensive staff will be Ed Donatell in the secondary, who was with the Broncos from 1995-99 in the same position; Don Martindale and Roman Phifer, who will work with the linebackers; Wayne Nunnely, who will coach the defensive line; and Jay Rodgers, the defensive assistant.

On the offensive side of the ball, there are new names, but some familiar ones as well.

Last year's offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will return, but he will resume his role as offensive line coach. Mike McCoy will take over as offensive coordinator/quarterback coach, replacing Jeremy Bates in the latter role.

McCoy spent the past nine seasons as an offensive coach for the Carolina Panthers in various roles, most notably as passing-game coordinator and quarterback coach. He has been instrumental in the development of Panther quarterback Jake Delhomme.

McCoy will work very closely with McDaniels, who has already stated that he will play a large role in the offensive planning and play calling on a week-to-week basis.

The offensive scheme should change slightly and be similar to the offense the Patriots have run the past few seasons. This means more downfield and slot passing while relying on the running game to set up play-action passes.

The rest of the offensive staff will consist of long-time Broncos running back coach Bobby Turner; Clancy Barone, who will work with the tight ends; Adam Gase as wide receivers coach; and Ben McDaniels as offensive assistant.

The special teams staff will retain Keith Burns as an assistant and hired Mike Preifer as special teams coordinator. Preifer spent the past three seasons in Kansas City.

The names and faces are new now, but by season's end, fans will know all the staff of the Broncos, for better or for worse.

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