Reviving the Second Ranked Offense

By Jon

The coaching carousel continues to turn, but one of the hot candidates was taken off the market when the Broncos reached an agreement with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels last night. While he was certainly a hot commodity and a chic candidate for several coaching vacancies, Denver’s decision seems to be more than a little curious.

Let’s take a look at Denver’s regular season team stats, shall we?

Team offense (NFL Rank in parentheses)
Overall rank: 2
Total yards: 6333 (2)
Yards/game: 395.8 (2)
Total rush yards: 1862 (12)
Rush yards/game: 116.4 (12)
Total pass yards: 4471 (3)
Pass yards/game: 279.4 (3)
Points/game: 23.1 (16)

Now without even looking at the defensive numbers, you know they are going to be atrocious. How does a team ranked 2nd in team offense finish with a losing record? Terrible defense, that’s how. Just for kicks, lets take a look at the defensive side of the ball.

Team Defense (NFL Rank in parentheses)
Overall rank: 29
Total yards allowed: 5993 (29)
Yards/game allowed: 374.6 (29)
Rush yards allowed: 2337 (27)
Rush yards/game allowed: 146.1 (27)
Pass yards allowed: 3656 (26)
Pass yards/game allowed: 228.5 (26)
Points allowed/game: 28.0 (30)

Now, common sense should tell everyone with half a brain that the Broncos need someone to come in and shore up the defense. Apparently the Denver brass missed the memo. McDaniels’ defensive experience? Two years as a “defensive coaching assistant” in New England, for what it’s worth.

According to Chris Mortensen at the WWL, Denver owner Pat Bowlen wanted a fresh, young face to take control of the team, but if you were planning on hiring someone with an offensive background, why did you fire Shanahan in the first place? His offensive approach seemed to be working quite well. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Therein lies another gripe: McDaniels’ age. He’s 32. He looks like he’s about 23, tops. Now, I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that the seven players on the Denver roster that are 32 or older may have a bit of an issue taking orders from their peer, especially after playing for one of the most respected coaches of all time. When Mike Shanahan took over as Denver’s coach, Josh McDaniels was 18. I’m just sayin’.

Maybe Bowlen wanted some of the Belichick magic to rub off on his team? I mean, that’s worked out for other teams hiring Patriot assistants, right? Oh wait … no it hasn’t. The Belichick coaching tree isn’t exactly Walshian, now is it?

Maybe McDaniels will succeed. Maybe he will hire some hotshot defensive coordinator that will make all of Denver’s problems go away. But are you sending the right message to your fans when you fire a future hall-of-famer that has been at the helm for fourteen years and replace him with some young punk with far less impressive credentials? Probably not.

Don’t worry Broncos fans, at least he’s not Dick Jauron.