Mile High Meltdown: Josh McDaniels Gets An “F” As Head Coach

Justin JavanCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2010

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 20:  Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos oversees warm ups prior to facing 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

After reading this morning that Brandon Marshall is being benched by Coach McDaniels, I couldn’t help but wonder; what the “hell” is going on in Denver.

In the first place, Mike Shanahan never should have been fired. He’s a Hall of Fame coach and an offensive genius. Besides from winning two Super Bowls, he revolutionized the game with his use of zone blocking with an undersized offensive line. It was so effective, that for a long time it seemed like any running back could be put in the backfield and he was guaranteed at least a 1,000-yard season.

In Shanahan's last year in Denver, he put together an offense that was ranked second in the league and poised to take the next step to elite status. Had he stayed, the Broncos might have had the number one offense in the league this year.

It is true that he made some mistakes over the past few years. The worst sin he committed in Denver, was firing Larry Coyer, who is quietly working miracles in Indy this year, just like he did in Denver.

However, those aren’t the kind of mistakes that you fire a Hall of Fame coach for is it?

My take has always been that Mr. Bowlen should have taken the general manager duties away from Shanahan and kept him as head coach. Instead, the Broncos' shocked the world when they fired Shanahan and took a huge risk hiring another one of Belichick’s coordinators.

If you stop and think about it, every coordinator that has worked for the Patriots has been successful, that is until they went to another team.

In fact, name one coordinator that has gone from the Patriots to be the head coach of another franchise, or college team, and been successful? That’s right you can’t, because there haven’t been any. Everyone of them has been unsuccessful and been fired.

Maybe Mr. Bowlen should have paused and thought about the success rates of ex-Patriots coordinators before he capriciously fired Shanahan and hired McDaniels.

From the minute McDaniels arrived in Denver, there has been nothing but drama from the Mile High City. From the way the Jay Cutler incident was handled, to Tony Scheffler, and now Brandon Marshall just to name a few, it has felt like the Three Stooges were running the show.

There is more to coaching a team then practicing, game planning, and being an “offensive genius."  Part of being a successful coach, is getting the team to believe in you and your vision. It doesn’t matter what style you use to achieve it, it must happen, or all of the other stuff is for not.

This quality is something Bill Belichick has and it’s been a big contributor to him being one of the most successful coaches in the history of the game. It’s also the one quality that seems to be lacking in his underlings when they leave the roost.

Tony Scheffler, after the Broncos loss to the Eagles, expresses his frustration about his reduced role this season and then a few days later, without notice from the coach, without a man-to-man talk, the guy is sent to the practice squad?

Brandon Marshall is accused of exaggerating his injury and so he gets benched? This is the same Brandon Marshall that is going to the Pro-Bowl, is only the fifth wide receiver with 100 catch seasons, and who set a record in Indy with 21 catches in the game against the Colts.

This is also the same wide receiver who played all of last year with a tear in his hip and still put up 1,265 yards and six touchdowns. This year his stats are almost the same except that he has scored 10 touchdowns.

Now, all of a sudden, Brandon Marshall is not a team player? After all that happened in the offseason, all that unnecessary drama. All that belongs squarely at the feet of management because of the way they handled the Jay Cutler situation. This guy has done nothing but go out there and produce for his team.

Coach, Brandon Marshall is right when he says don’t blame me because of the way the season is unfolding.

The Broncos are heading into a game that they need to win to have a shot at making the playoffs. They are going into that game without Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler because the coach of the Denver Broncos doesn’t know how to deal with people.

McDaniels has created a working environment based on fear. Don’t think for a minute that doesn’t effect how the players perform on Sunday.

It is very likely that the Broncos will end up 8-8 again this season, not for a lack of talent mind you, but for a lack of a coach that knows how to treat players. Daniels doesn’t understand that to lead men into battle, they have to believe in you. They have to know when things get tough,their coach has their backs.

Nobody wants to fight for a guy that doesn’t take personal responsibility for his actions and his part in things. Who wants to put their life on the line (and in football that is not hyperbole), for a guy who isn’t man enough to even come talk to them when there is a problem.

Coach, if you want to turn this franchise around, then you better learn to be a man, like your mentor Bill Belichick, or guys like Tony Dungy, Mike Tomlin, or Jim Caldwell.

There is a reason certain teams are successful year in and year out; it has a lot to do with how they treat their players.

If you want to return the Broncos to their glory days, you better learn that soon, otherwise you’re just going to be another failed Belichick protégé.