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Bronco Rob
01-12-2010, 04:32 AM
Josh McDaniels, the Year 1 retrospective


I remember exactly where I was the moment I learned the Broncos had hired Josh McDaniels to be their new head coach. Don’t you?

I was in the press box at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, after the second-round playoff game between the Steelers and Chargers, in case you were wondering. But I digress.

I wrote this for the print edition of The Denver Post last week, part of our end-of-the-year package, but I’m going to post it again here, just so you all can relive some of the memories of what a nutty 365 days it has been since the McDaniels era began in Denver.

Enjoy.

Jan. 12: McDaniels, the 32-year-old former offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, is introduced at a press conference at Dove Valley. McDaniels signs a four-year contract worth $11.9 million.

Feb. 12: Team owner Pat Bowlen and McDaniels make a major move to shake up the front office by firing personnel executives (and father-son duo) Jim and Jeff Goodman, while Brian Xanders is named the sole general manager. Four days later, McDaniels and Xanders began purging the roster by simultaneously releasing six players on Feb. 16, including four players (Jamie Winborn, John Engleberger, Dewayne Robertson and Marquand Manuel) who were starters on the 2008 defense.

Feb. 28: On the first day of free agency, news breaks that McDaniels had looked into the possibility of a trading quarterback and bringing in Matt Cassel. The ensuing feud between Cutler and McDaniels became arguably the biggest story in the NFL last spring. Meanwhile, the Broncos made a major splash in free agency by signing more than a dozen players, including safeties Brian Dawkins and Renaldo Hill, cornerback Andre Goodman, running back Correll Buckhalter, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney and linebacker Andra Davis by the end of the first week of March.

April 2: The Cutler era in Denver officially ends when the Broncos send the quarterback to Chicago in exchange for Kyle Orton and a slew of draft picks, including two first rounders.

April 25: The Broncos surprise plenty of people when they draft running back Knowshon Moreno (No. 12) and outside linebacker Robert Ayers (No. 16) with their first-round draft picks, and select three more players in the second round (CB Alphonso Smith, S Darcel McBath and TE Richard Quinn). The Broncos would draft five more players on the second day of the draft.

June 15: Star wide receiver Brandon Marshall is a no-show at the team’s only mandatory minicamp. While he doesn’t participate in the workout (he was recovering from hip surgery), he meets with Bowlen and asks to be traded.

Aug. 14: The Broncos first preseason game was a disaster, with quarterback Kyle Orton (who had been booed earlier at a home scrimmage) throwing interceptions on the Broncos’ first three offensive series. Moreno, who held out and had just signed his rookie contract days before, sprained a ligament in his knee, an injury that would keep him out the rest of the preseason.

Aug. 28: Two days before a preseason game against Cutler and the Bears, McDaniels suspends Marshall for the remainder of the preseason for “conduct detrimental to the team” after Marshall’s poor behavior in a meeting and at practice the previous day.

Sept. 13: The Broncos open the McDaniels Era in dramatic fashion, with an improbable final-minute win at Cincinnati. Trailing 7-6, Orton’s pass intended for Marshall was tipped by a Bengal defensive back, but caught by Brandon Stokley, who ran free for an 87-yard touchdown.

Oct. 11: Matt Prater makes a 41-yard field goal in overtime to give the Broncos a 20-17 win against New England. The win sends McDaniels into as jubilant an on-field postgame celebration a head coach might have ever displayed. Eight days later, the Broncos beat AFC West rival on the road on Monday Night Football to improve to 6-0 going into the bye week.

Nov. 1: The Broncos stumble out of the bye week with a 30-7 loss at Baltimore, the first of four consecutive losses, including home losses to Pittsburgh and San Diego, both by double digits, and a road loss at Washington in which Orton leaves the game at halftime with a severely sprained ankle.

Nov. 24: Broncos snap the four-game losing streak with a dominating win on Thanksgiving night against the Giants, a game that will be equally be remembered for McDaniels’ profantity-laced sideline rant that aired across the country on NFL Network.

Dec. 13: Marshall sets an NFL record by catching 21 passes in Denver’s loss at Indianapolis. ‘

Dec. 20: Broncos lose to Oakland, 20-19, at home, despite playing the Raiders playing all three of their quarterbacks – Charlie Frye, JaMarcus Russell and even J.P. Losman in the game. The loss ended up severely damaging the Broncos’ playoffs hopes.

Jan. 1: McDaniels announces that Marshall (along with tight end Tony Scheffler) will be inactive for the season finale against Kansas City as a coach’s decision.

Jan. 3: Broncos lose 44-24 to the chefs at Invesco Field at Mile High to finish the season at 8-8, with a record of 2-8 in the final 10 games. The loss erased any slim hopes that were left of making the playoffs.



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Bronco Yoda
01-12-2010, 04:45 AM
I still don't recall much after Dec. 20th. My family tell me that I spent three days in the fetal position mumbling all sorts of JarJar...cableguy...WTF....gibberish. I made it back to strained pea soup and answering yes & no by Christmas day.

I feel much better now.

I can't wait to trash the raiders. We could still win the West. No way we can miss the playoffs.

watermock
01-12-2010, 04:51 AM
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/GiDxbekSTag&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/GiDxbekSTag&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>.

Bowlen/Xanders and McD.

Bronco Yoda
01-12-2010, 05:09 AM
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watermock
01-12-2010, 05:19 AM
Funny, that's how I felt when they gave me the wrong drug.