For many, the timing of Josh McDaniels firing was curious. After all, it was just a week ago that he was getting a ‘vote of confidence’ from Broncos owner, Pat Bowlen—well, he seemed secure through the end of the season at least.
So when the Broncos did an about-face and fired Josh McDaniels today, it came as a surprise to a great many. But, given the trail of idiocy and incompetence that McDaniels has left in his wake, you’d wonder not why they fired him at this point, but why they didn’t fire him a lot sooner.
The ink on McDaniels contract had barely dried before he was alienating both his starting quarterback (Jay Cutler) and his star wide receiver (Brandon Marshall). It was clear he arrived with a plan in hand and that plan didn’t include his leading receiver or his Pro Bowl quarterback.
By the time the smoke cleared, neither Marshall, nor Cutler would be a part of the team and Kyle Orton was hailed as the future of Bronco’s football—at least until McDaniels could find someone better to take over the job.
The moves seemed comical at the time and it was tough not to laugh and wonder if Pat Bowlen (the Broncos’ owner) didn’t need to be relieved of his duties as well because, obviously, he had signed off on a guy who wasn’t ready to run a mile, much less a team.
While the team got off to a hot start in 2009, posting a 6-0 record, the wheels began to come off shortly after and things have continued to go badly ever since.
The NFL draft saw McDaniels gambling the future of the franchise on Tim Tebow. A player whom many felt was a project, at best and who, to this point, hasn’t made a real impact.
Then there was the video-taping incident. After that matter, it seemed the writing was on the wall for McDaniels and his future prospects in Denver—he had none.
So, with McDaniels out, what direction do the Broncos go in now?
Eric Studesville will take over the job in the interim, but you have to figure that Bowlen will be looking to fill out the job with an experienced winner this time. Both Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher’s name are already being mentioned, but neither seem to be in a hurry to leave their cushy booth jobs. Which means that Bowlen will likely have to filter his way through the NFL’s qualified ranks of assistant coaches.
Ron Rivera, the Chargers current and Chicago’s former, defensive coordinator is a possibility. He’s a smart guy with intimate knowledge of both the 3-4 and the 4-3 defensive scheme so his acumen would come in handy when considering the best personnel for running a defense. Even more, he’s been around some great minds—both in Chicago and Philadelphia (he coached under the great Buddy Ryan)—and should be considered as a possibility.
Perry Fewell is another name that could gain some play. He’s the Giants current defensive coordinator and is well-respected amongst players and coaches in the league for his ability to build solid defenses.
Sean McDermott is another long-shot. He’s currently serving as the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles and, while he’s done a fine job, he may lack the overall experience that Denver needs at this point—despite having coached under both Brad Childress and Steve Spagnuolo. He may need another season or two before he is proven.
Either way, the Bronco’s are back to square one.