The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Broncos blew it in end

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When Josh McDaniels took over the Denver Broncos and immediately alienated franchise quarterback Jay Cutler, forcing a trade which drastically altered his team's offensive outlook, everyone assumed that the young, first-time coach would pay for his hubris with a horrible season. The Broncos fooled us with a 6-0 start, led by a defense on track for the greatest single-season turnaround in recent memory, but they limped down the stretch at a 2-8 clip. McDaniels ended up with the same 8-8 record that got Mike Shanahan fired.

The real problem going forward is that McDaniels seems to have a very serious issue with making a point at the worst possible time. Receiver Brandon Marshall has long been known as a pain in the butt (word is, Shanahan was considering cutting him before the coaching change), but in benching Marshall and tight end Tony Scheffler before the season finale against the Chiefs, McDaniels put two of his best offensive weapons out of the game at the same time his formerly vaunted defense was falling apart. The 44-24 Kansas City win was a fait accompli, and now, the Broncos have a great many questions to answer in a frustrating offseason. Depending on the progress of the CBA talks, Marshall will be either a unrestricted or restricted free agent, and I can't imagine McDaniels going any further with him.

Discipline is key to any winning organization, but there's a big difference between a well-conceived standard of performance and a coach making strange decisions led by his whims and thinking of himself above the team. The latter scenario creates losing seasons and long-term disappointment. That seems to be where McDaniels is, and where the Broncos will go with him.

By Doug Farrar  |  January 4, 2010; 3:09 PM ET  | Category:  Denver Broncos Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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