The moment we heard about Broncos' head coach Mike Shanahan getting fired, we knew that whoever Pat Bowlen would be bringing in would be hiring their own staff. And even though Jay Cutler was begging for offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates’ job, deep down inside we knew it wasn't going to happen.
So in came Josh McDaniels, a 32-year-old (now 33) coach who paid his dues under the tutelage of the great Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick.
McDaniels rise was pretty quick after college, getting a senior graduate assistant gig under Nick Saban at Michigan State University in 1999.
Two years later he joined the Patriots as a personal assistant. In 2002-'03, McDaniels worked as defensive coach, then as a quarterbacks coach in 2004. In 2005, he was unofficially the offensive coordinator when Charlie Weis left before it was made official in 2006.
McDaniels is credited with helping lead the Patriots to their undefeated regular season, and coaching rookie quarterback Matt Cassel to lead the team to an 11-5 record after Tom Brady suffered a season-ending injury.
Those two major events got McDaniels the Denver coaching gig.
As with any new hiring, McDaniels brought in his own staff, starting with Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator. Before Mike Nolan was ostracized as the San Francisco 49ers head coach, he was known as a defensive genius.
Most of his coaching career has been on the defensive side coming up in the 1990s with the Broncos, Giants and Redskins. He was defensive coordinator for the New York Jets in 2000 before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2001. Nolan is credited for maintaining the Marvin-Lewis-built, hard-hitting, suffocating defense that won them the Super Bowl in 2000.
If Nolan can install those defensive schemes into the Broncos' defense, that would be a nice change from the last decade or so.
As offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy was hired away from the Carolina Panthers where he arguably had as much influence on the team’s offensive personality as John Fox.
He was with the Panthers for nine seasons coaching up Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith, helping them make two Super Bowls in that time. McCoy gets credit for molding both Smith and Delhomme, and it appears he’ll be doing a lot of molding with the Broncos roster as well.
McDaniels will most likely do a lot of the play-calling on Sundays with McCoy doing a lot of the coaching.
Former Denver offensive coordinator, Rick Dennison, rejoined the team as offensive line coach, running backs coach Bobby Turner, who is probably now a legend, will also be returning and wide receivers coach Adam Gase and special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be new to the staff.
I’ll be looking forward to what kind of product this staff puts on the field.
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