Denver Coaching In 2009: A Mile High Change

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Denver Coaching In 2009: A Mile High Change
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The 2009 Denver Broncos will have a long road ahead of them as they have to deal with a mostly new coaching staff.

After the 2008 season the old era of Mike Shanahan came to an end and Josh McDaniels became a household name in Bronco nation.

McDaniels, has had a successful career before his arrival in Denver, however not as a head coach. McDaniels served as the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots from 2005 to 2008.

During that time the Patriots won a Super Bowl. Then two years later they went undefeated. In the undefeated season of 2007, McDaniels offense had an NFL record 75 touchdowns.

In 2008, when star quarterback of the Patriots, Tom Brady, went down McDaniels helped Matt Cassel come into the league and start games after not starting a single game in previous years or even in college.

The 2008 Patriots missed the playoffs but still had an impressive record of 11-5.

Now McDaniels will make another step up as he moves from offensive coordinator to head coach. The reason why Pat Bowlen promoted McDaniels to a head coach position is probably a big thanks to the success that he had experienced at New England.

The offensive is going to be rebuilt indeed. Not only at the helm with McDaniels, but also offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy.

McCoy comes from a team that knows a little something about the Patriots, or at least what it is like to lose to the Patriots. Carolina was a kick return away from winning the Super Bowl XXXVIII against the Patriots before time ran out.

Passing in Denver has never been a big part of the offense, but in 2009 that could all change as McCoy comes from the Panthers, and together with McDaniels’ history with helping out quarterbacks, McCoy helped a start-up quarter back himself, as he helped Jake Delhomme make a Super Bowl, a pro-bowl selection, and four 3,000-yard passing seasons.

Under McCoy’s guidance the Panthers went on to a 12-4 record last season, and the Panthers were able to receive a first-round bye.

In 2007, McCoy did not have a fun year. He was the passing game coordinator/ quarterbacks coach. The Panthers were torn apart by injuries. In 2007, not a single quarterback would start more than three games in a row for the Panthers.

Despite numerous injuries to the Carolina offense in 2007 the Panthers did not finish last in their division, and finished the season at 7-9. Proving that McCoy can teach the quarterbacks and offense several key things they need to know to continue to win, despite who might be throwing the ball. Which is good news for the Broncos which still have a question mark for quarterback.

McCoy is no stranger to the Broncos, Denver signed him as a free-agent quarterback in 1995, but released him. He went on to play practice squad for the Green Bay Packers.

While the offense is sure to get a big change in coaching and playing in 2009 for the Broncos, the defense is going under a big change as well.

Denver is going to try the 3-4 defense, and to that some key players will have to change position.

Somebody that will be able to help in that transition is new linebackers coach, Don Martindale.

Martindale comes from one of the biggest rivals of Denver: The Oakland Raiders. From 2004 to 2008 Martindale served as the Raiders’ linebacker coach.

In that time Martindale helped make some Oakland linebackers rack up some impressive numbers. Which means that Denver’s new defense might be very tough in 2009.

One player that starred for Martinsdale is Kirk Morrison. Morrison was a third-round pick in 2005 and in four years with Oakland and under Martindale, he was able to gobble up almost 500 tackles. That ranked him first in the AFC and second in the NFL.

Before entering the NFL Martindale was the defensive coordinator at Western Kentucky University. In that time the Western Kentucky defense allowed the sixth fewest yards for division 1-AA.

As linebackers coach for the Broncos, Martindale is going to have to switch players around and turn linebackers into a duo threat, both stopping the run but also helping out on the pass.

So as a new season looms a lot of changes for the Denver Broncos. These changes are going to make the 2009 Denver Broncos a new threat in some ways.

The offensive is being held up with mostly first year coach’s for the Broncos, after racking up big numbers elsewhere while the defense plans to change schemes.

McDaniels brought in a bunch of new faces with him, sometimes change can be good, sometimes all change does is make people look for other changes to fix the changes that happened.

For the Broncos there is going to be a big change and hopefully, if everything works out, then the new change might just be OK.

The members of the new coaching staff have plenty of past successes. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy received his position after proving in Carolina that he can help out starting quarterbacks.

Linebackers coach, Don Martinsdale, has made a tough line backing core in Oakland and helped several rookies over there record several tackles and interceptions, which fits right into the Broncos new defensive scheme.

And of course, there is Josh McDaniels who proved to be a great offensive leader in New England, and now hopes to lead an entire team of Denver.

It’s going to be a year of change in Denver, and at the end of the season, another change maybe adding another Super Bowl victory.

It may not happen in 2009, but it might happen soon.

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