Monday, January 12, 2009

Denver takes McDaniels

Broncos to hire McDaniels reported that former 49ers head coach Mike Nolan is expected to join Denver as the team's defensive coordinator.
McDaniels has worked in the NFL for eight seasons, all with New England. He joined the Patriots on March 1, 2001 as a personnel assistant in the scouting department and assisted the defensive coaching staff for three seasons. He began serving as the Patriots' quarterbacks coach in 2004 and was named offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach on Jan. 20, 2006. McDaniels began his coaching career in 1999 as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, working under head coach Nick Saban.
McDaniels will inherit an explosive offense that appears to be one healthy running back away from greatness and a dismal defense that needs another overhaul. That led many observers to believe defensive minds such as the Giants' Steve Spagnuolo or the Vikings' Leslie Frazier

I read somewhere that Frazier was the runner-up. Ravens coach John Harbaugh strongly endorsed Frazier:

Harbaugh to Broncos: Hire Frazier
Any advice Harbaugh would give the Broncos, who 12 days ago fired Mike Shanahan, as they take their turn replacing a strong coach?
"Hire Leslie Frazier," Harbaugh said in the locker room after his Ravens defeated the Tennessee Titans 13-10 in a second-round AFC playoff game. "That's my advice."
Frazier, 49, and Harbaugh served on the same Philadelphia Eagles defensive staff under coordinator Jim Johnson from 1999-2002. ... "He's a tremendous X's-and-O's coach," Harbaugh said. "Players will respect him. He's a great organizer, a motivator. He's just a real good man."

I think the Broncos move is a mistake. First some knocks on McDaniels. He's still very young (only 32!!); and the only thing he's ever accomplished is keep Charlie Weis' offense running, with additional talent like Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Yes, Matt Cassel had a fine year. That's a credit to a lot of people, including McDaniels and Scott Pioli. There are so many good people involved in keeping that show in New England running, the credit can get spread pretty thin. I tend to think the Patriots brain-trust has been picked over rather thoroughly over the last few years: if I were hiring, I'd look elsewhere for the next coaching star.

[Edit: I just realized I contradicted myself here. Is the Patriots staff picked-over, or are there a lot of good people to thinly-spread the credit for the Pats success? I guess the worry is that, in New England there's Belichick and Pioli, and then there's everyone else. I'd be reluctant to assume that McDaniels is the source of the magic, given that Weis and Crennel and Mangenius have been and gone.]

Second, the Denver offensive staff did not need any new blood. They really, really know what they are doing. Whoever that staff's brightest star is should just assume the OC role. The Denver organization had other needs.

And third, there are other guys out there who fit Denver's needs. Like Leslie Frazier. Jim Schwartz. They didn't even interview Rex Ryan.

I dunno, this could work out for them. There's a quote from Harbaugh in the piece I linked above: "Coaching is not a one-man job," Harbaugh said. "Coaching nowadays in the NFL is a 20-man job." Denver still has a fine offensive staff (and a franchise QB!), and Mike Nolan is a real professional at DC. They will likely be fine. But I think there were better moves for them to make.

Wasn't Shanahan in charge of personnel also? Does Denver need someone there too?

The carousel stands here:

Team New Coach Formerly

San Francisco Mike Singletary Niners DC; Ravens LB coach
Cleveland Eric Mangini Jets HC; Pats DC, DB coach
Denver Josh McDaniels Patriots OC, QB coach
St Louis - -
Oakland - -
Detroit - -
NY Jets - -
Numerous sources are reporting that Dungy is going to step down today,
There is an heir apparent; but as we've seen in recent years, that guy doesn't always (ever?) get the job. I'll refrain from listiing the Colts job as open until after Dungy's press conference.


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