Understanding Josh McDaniels: There Is a Method to His Madness

Kevin RobertsSenior Writer IApril 23, 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 22:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos paces the sideline as he leads his team against the San Diego Chargers during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 22, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 32-3.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It's interesting how the NFL works, isn't it?

The Denver Broncos fire long-time NFL coach Mike Shanahan, and in enters this punk-spawn from the Bill Belichick tree, with a chip on his shoulder and a head the size of Mount Everest.

Josh McDaniels wasted no time shaking things up in Denver, immediately trying to "upgrade" over Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler by attempting to trade for a one-year wonder in Matt Cassel.

His attempt failed, he had a falling out with Cutler, and the Broncos waved bye-bye to their golden boy.

Then came the brush with star diva receiver Brandon Marshall. We heard about the injuries, treatment from both sides, and contract issues.

Then Marshall played up to his potential (per usual), helped the Broncos to a 6-0 start, and everything was forgotten. Of course, only until Denver began a disturbing slide, stumbled into Week 17 at 8-7, and did so without a benched Brandon Marshall.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. The now heavily criticized McDaniels finally pulls the trigger on a trade, sending Marshall to Miami for two second-round picks, and then follows that by getting rid of his offense's last problem child (all of Denver hopes), while getting a fifth-round pick in return.

There's a pattern here, folks. McDaniels enters, Cutler leaves. Then Marshall. Then Scheffler. And on a much lighter note, so too did Peyton Hillis.

The question now is, were these guys really the problem, or was McDaniels just letting his ego getting in the way? Well, it is professional football, so there's no disputing his ego has to play into what went on to some degree, but if you look closely, there is a developing pattern.

And this pattern is weaving a design that will soon form into a winning foundation.

Josh McDaniels isn't producing some cookie-cutter Bill Belichick feast. He's dining with his own dish, his chosen utensils, and he's selectively picking his dinner guests.

He showed this when he brought in the aging, but still wily veteran safety, Brian Dawkins. He showed it even more by giving some lesser-known defenders a chance to prove themselves.

And then he took that next big step: the risk of having your entire fanbase disown you.

He traded away his elite, cocky starting quarterback. He ridded of a young, superstar wide receiver, and he tossed away another young, playmaking tight end.

But then McDaniels made a move that very few of us saw coming. He traded up, and drafted Florida's Tim Tebow .

And, while it's true we won't know what becomes of this for quite some time, it was still all kinds of magical.

Let's think about this for a moment.

All of McDaniels' moves and decisions got us to this point. It's like he knew from the start. And it's almost sad, and rather embarrassing, that we're just now starting to see it come to fruition.

McDaniels unloaded the guys with the big contracts, the guys who balled over their small contracts, and anyone who wasn't content enough with their role on the Denver Broncos.

And it led to the consummate team player. It brought McDaniels and the Broncos to Tebow, a guy with the world's largest chip on his shoulder, a guy who (there is no doubt in my mind) will work harder than anyone else in the league and a guy who will become a good starting quarterback.

Tebow doesn't have to be the starter in year one, because Tebow knows what a team is. He'll run the tough yards, play a little H-back and tight end, and he'll help Denver put together some Wildcat packages. After all, whatever the team needs, that comes first.

McDaniels is turning out to be a big, sappy softy. He's not an egomaniac. Of course, that clearly all depends on your perception of what he's doing and what your own interpretation of what an egomaniac is.

But he's a guy who believes in the system. He believes a philosophy is bigger than talent. He knows that the team is more important than any one individual player.

And by trading up to draft Tebow with the 25th selection in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft , he showed (through sacrificing elite assets) that a player like Tebow, one who represented exactly what his entire team needs and should strive to be, was more important than paying a big name receiver, dealing with a pouty star quarterback, or catering to the desires of a pompous tight end.

Josh McDaniels is doing it his way, and damn me if I'm wrong, but I finally am buying into it.


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