Denver Broncos 2010 NFL Season: Josh McDaniels' Second Chance

Erick SpaltiCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos leads his team against the Cleveland Browns during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 27-6.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The First Year

In Josh McDaniels first season as the head coach of the Denver Broncos, he ruffled more than a few feathers. Many Broncos fans were unhappy to see their beloved coach Mike Shanahan sent packing and replaced with McDaniels, a kid who'd never been a head coach.

Though his accomplishments while serving as offensive coordinator in New England speak for themselves, fans were still a little restless as to how the team would be run. Josh McDaniels did absolutely nothing to ease their fears when shortly after arriving he shipped Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for two first round draft choices.

The team got off to a fire hot 6-0 start behind a little luck (Cincinnati game) and a light schedule, then the wheels fell off the bandwagon.

The Broncos defense faded horribly down the stretch, the offense wasn't much better after the injury to Ryan Harris, and the Broncos finished the season on a 2-8 downfall.

Though the Broncos went 8-8, many are optimistic about their chances this year to field a more competitive team. Hopefully McDaniels will prove that Pat Bowlen (The Broncos Owner) picked the right coach to turn the franchise around.

The Second Year: What's Happened?

The Off-Season:

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, who was credited with the improvement of the Broncos defense in his 3-4 alignment, get replaced with Don Martindale, who served as the Broncos linebackers coach last season. 

Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates, who no longer got to call plays thanks to the arrival of Josh McDaniels, was replaced by Matt Mccoy, a former offensive assistant, quarterbacks coach, and passing game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.

After shipping off Cutler last year, McDaniels traded another pro bowler this off-season in Brandon Marshall. Marshall only had one year on his contract (as a RFA) and the Broncos made the best move by getting the most they could for him, two second round selections.

The Broncos worked effortlessly to upgrade the defense through free agency. Picking up DE Jarvis Green, DE Justin Bannan, and DT Jamal Williams. Those players should help to upgrade the overall play of the Broncos defense.

Last year nearly all the Broncos starting lineman may have been better suited to play backup positions. Acquiring three true starting defensive lineman to rotate with Ryan Mcbean and Marcus Thomas should keep the Broncos line healthier and fresher down the stretch.

The Draft:

The Broncos had a fairly good draft across the board.

Picking up Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas in the first round provided McDaniels with his offensive core going forward.

Tebow is possibly the future of the franchise at QB. You don't draft a quarterback in the first round to have him sit on the bench so look for Tebow to play some this pre-season and get a chance to compete for the starting job next season.

With Kyle Orton only under contract for one season, Tebow and Brady Quinn (Who McDaniels traded for this off-season) should both get to sit this season, and open next year with experience in the system and a competition in camp to name the starter.

Though some think McDaniels' job is tied to Tebow's success, Tebow may have given McDaniels more job security. Pat Bowlen may want McDaniels to stick around several years to try and get the best out of Tebow. If the Raiders can give JaMarcus Russell three whole seasons, I know Tebow is worth at least four.

Demaryius Thomas is the receiver the Broncos needed to replace Brandon Marshall after he was traded to the Dolphins. One of the biggest receivers (6'3 228 Pounds) in the draft, Thomas also has the speed to be a deep threat (Avgd 18.0 YPC at Georgia Tech).

The biggest difference between Thomas and Marshall is attitude. Thomas was raised by his uncle, a preacher, since he was 12 (His uncle after his mother and grandmother were arrested for selling drugs).

Thomas is a high character, high motor, high talent receiver who should quickly make Broncos fans forget all about Brandon Marshall (or so McDaniels hopes).

Eric Olsen, Parrish Cox, and Sammie Kirlew all represent depth and future potential.

Zane Beadles, the Broncos second round pick, could possibly compete at guard with Seth Olsen and Chris Kuper.

Eric Decker and J.D.Walton are both players who should give a significant contribution in their rookie season.

J.D. Walton should become the starting center as soon as he enters camp with Dustin Fry and Eric Olsen possibly providing some competition. His skill set, primarily in run blocking, should help to improve a Broncos unit that had the 18th ranked rushing offense in the NFL.

Eric Decker is another player who should significant playing time in his rookie season as both the No. 2 and the slot receiver. His size (6'3 218 Pounds) and speed combination should create match up issues for smaller nickel corners.

Hopefully the 2010 NFL Season holds many great things for Denver Broncos fans. Josh McDaniels has a lot of work to do in order to win over the Broncos fans who still question his personnel moves. Selecting Tebow in the first round did nothing to comfort those worries with most feeling that Tebow was a reach in the first round.

Either way, the Broncos should surprise more than a few people next season. I could see them sneaking into the playoffs on a wild card. Hopefully I'm right, the fans have waited long enough.

The 2010 NFL Season: (My Picks)

Week 1- Broncos @ Jaguars: Broncos Win 21-9

Week 2- Seahawks @ Broncos: Broncos Win 17-14

Week 3- Colts @ Broncos: Colts Win 31-14

Week 4- Broncos @ Titans: Titans Win 23-17

Week 5- Broncos @ Ravens: Ravens Win 27-21

Week 6- Jets @ Broncos: Jets Win 17-7

Week 7- Raiders @ Broncos: Broncos Win 24-10

Week 8- Broncos @ 49ers: 49ers Win 24-16

Week 9- BYE WEEK

Week 10- Chiefs @ Broncos: Broncos Win 31-17

Week 11- Broncos @ Chargers: Chargers Win 24-21

Week 12- Rams @ Broncos: Broncos Win 28-10

Week 13- Broncos @ Chiefs: Broncos Win 17-9

Week 14- Broncos @ Cardinals: Broncos Win 24-13

Week 15- Broncos @ Raiders: Broncos Win 24-20

Week 16- Texans @ Broncos: Texans Win 31-21

Week 17- Chargers @ Broncos: Broncos Win 21-20

Denver Broncos finish the 2010 NFL Season 9-7


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