Orange Crushed: Why Josh McDaniels Has Set The Broncos Up For Failure

Josh CohenContributor IAugust 5, 2010

DENVER - JANUARY 03: A Broncos fan holds a sign expressing his sentiments about head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos as the Broncos were defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on January 3, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

On January, 11th 2009 Josh McDaniels was named the new head coach of Denver Broncos.  Since that fateful day, the Broncos have been in a downward spiral. 


His first order of business was to get rid of star QB, Jay Cutler.  McDaniels and Cutler’s tumultuous relationship was capped off by a shouting match, which was brought on by McDaniel’s desire to bring Cassel to Denver.


In a botched three-way trade with the Pats and Bucs, McDaniels looked to land his prized pupil, Matt Cassel.  Cassel landed with the Chiefs, and the Cutler-McDaniels saga began. 


In April of 2009, Jay Cutler was sent to the Chicago Bears.  The deal consisted of Cutler and a 2009 draft pick to the Bears for Kyle Orton, first and third round picks in 2009 and a first round pick in 2010.


The Broncos went from a high-powered offense that ranked 2nd in the NFL in 2008, to a 15th ranked unit in 2009. 


Kyle Orton was a stop gap QB for the Broncos in 2009, and he provided them with decent production and leadership.  The Broncos started 6-2, but ended the season 2-6, as the offense sputtered and the run defense folded. 


Orton had 7 games with multiple TDs, and finished the season with a respectable 3,802 yards passing with 21 TDs.  He also threw at least one TD pass in 13 of 16 games, but four straight losses and the Broncos failing to make the playoffs prompted change.


First, Josh McDaniels traded for first round bust, Brady Quinn.  Quinn started 9 games for the Browns last season, failing to throw a TD pass or for 200 yards in 6 of those games. 


He has knowledge of the McDaniels/Weis offensive system, so he should be familiar with the terminology, but he lacks the skills to be an elite QB.


In the 2010 draft, no team gave us a bigger “What the?” moment, then the Broncos.  They decided to trade back into the first round to grab college legend Tim Tebow. 


Tebow was chosen with the 25th overall pick, with expectations of being the future of the Broncos franchise.  The Broncos gave up their 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round picks in order to grab the QB project.     


Tebow has the #1 selling jersey in the NFL, has several big endorsement deals, and a city waiting for their savior.  Tebow will be used in spot duty to start, but if the Broncos season goes the way I think it’s going to go Tebow will be starting at some point, and that could spell complete disaster for them. 


This was the epitome of the ego that McDaniels has exuded since his tenure with the Broncos.  With “NFL ready” QBs such as Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy on the board, taking a project such as Tebow was another egotistical move.


In the last game of the 2009 season, Josh McDaniels benched star WR Brandon Marshall and TE Tony Scheffler.  The Broncos ultimately lost 44-24, to the lowly Chiefs.  A win could have propelled the Broncos into a potential playoff position.


In April of 2010, the Broncos traded Brandon Marshall to the Miami Dolphins for a 2010 second round pick and a 2011 second round pick.  It’s not easy to replace the kind of production that Marshall brought every season. 


He had over 100 catches in three straight seasons, and missed two games during that same time span. 


Marshall is a  Diva capable of punting balls away from a ball boy, slipping on McDonald’s wrappers and falling into T.V. sets, and beating up his girlfriend, but he’s a top 5 WR in the NFL.  The Broncos have no one that will come close to his production. 


McDaniels choose DeMaryius Thomas in the first round, because he reminds him of Brandon Marshall?  Huh?  Why not just play nice with “Baby T.O.” and keep the real deal? 


McDaniels passed on Dez Bryant to pick DeMaryius Thomas, because he feared of more off the field issues with Bryant.  Bryant will prove to be excellent receiver in the near future, and will solidify the bad decision made by McDaniels. 


Now, defenses will be facing the trio of Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal, and DeMaryius Thomas.  Rookie WRs rarely make an impact in their rookie season, so the pressure will on Gaffney and Royal, who will be facing off against teams best CBs.


In April of 2010, Tony Scheffler was traded to the Detroit Lions.  The Broncos felt inclined to do so, because a year earlier McDaniel’s trade a 2010 3rd round pick and 2009 3rd round pick to draft TE Richard Quinn. 


Quinn caught 12 passes in his three year career at North Carolina.  The 3rd round pick that Denver originally received from Chicago, was given to the Steelers.  The Steelers used this pick to draft Mike Wallace, who has become a nice WR for Pittsburgh.    



 Knowshon Moreno is severely overrated coming into training camp, but with the news of his hamstring strain/slight tear, he has bust written all over him.  Which is why is he falling in’s rankings. 


In 2009, he was out-produced by oft-injured journeyman Correll Buckhalter for the entire season.  He averaged a paltry 3.8 YPC, while Buckhalter averaged 5.4 YPC. 


Moreno had zero 100 rushing games. He only had 2 runs over 20 yards, with his longest run from scrimmage being 36 yards.  His longest reception was 27 yards.


When fantasy owners needed him most, during weeks 13-16, he had 123 yards rushing, 69 yards receiving, and one TD.  Whether or not his hamstring is serious, it may linger.  Not worth the risk.


Correll Buckhalter has an “upper back muscle pull” which is not serious, but it’s not like Buck was on anyone’s radar until the last rounds of your draft anyway. 


The Broncos signed LenDale White, and cut Kolby Smith on August 4th.  This further clouds the RB situation in Denver. 


With the loss of Marshall, teams are going to dare whichever QB to beat them with the less-than-stellar WR group and these RBs against 8 man fronts is not appealing.


In January 2010, McDaniels parted ways with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.  Nolan was responsible for transforming the Broncos defense from the 29th ranked unit in 2008, to the 7th ranked unit in 2009. 


Nolan was quickly swooped up by Bill Parcells and the Dolphins after being released by the Broncos.


To say that Josh McDaniels has made questionable decisions in his Broncos tenure would be an understatement. 


He has traded away to two franchise players, made questionable draft day trades and draft picks, has parted ways with a top defensive coordinator, and his coaching career is tied to a QB that most scouts believe will never be a NFL caliber player.

Pat Bowlen may not rush out to fire McDaniels, even if 2010 is a disaster.  We will have at least two more years of bad decisions and big egos, before of the most storied franchises return to the forefront.

Josh Cohen is co-founder and writer of

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