Josh McDaniels turned 34 two days ago but if feels like he’s been around the NFL forever, right?
After studying at the altar of Bill Belichick in New England, he lucked into a head coaching gig in Denver and within a few months, had traded the franchise QB (Jay Cutler) to Chicago. Obviously, there was outrage. Then, McDaniels feuded with the remaining star on the team, receiver Brandon Marshall. It appeared as if a trade were imminent. Didn’t happen.
All the fear of McDaniels wrecking the franchise that Elway built subsided when the Broncos opened 6-0 – with consecutive wins over the Cowboys, Patriots and Chargers – and McDaniels looked every bit the genius he thinks he is. Then the bottom fell out as Denver lost four in a row to close the season – including a humbling, embarrassing home loss to the Chiefs – and the Broncos missed the playoffs. Not quite boy genius. (But he sure does trash talk a good game!)
Another offseason, another major trade – McDaniels shipped the petulant Marshall to Miami. So within about a year, the most arrogant coach in the NFL (much more than Rex Ryan) had arrived and traded away the team’s best two talents.
And last night, McDaniels drafted the quarterback heavy on intangibles but short on technique, Tim Tebow. The 26-rated run defense could have used help in its front seven … so McDaniels drafts two offensive players – both very raw, but high on character – in the first round.
SI’s Don Banks: “As almost everyone has said for months now, Tebow is a work in progress at quarterback. But McDaniels obviously believed in the ultimate success of that construction job more than any other NFL head coach, and he just backed it up with his team’s money and his own reputation.
It’s a gutsy call by the Broncos, and McDaniels just raised the stakes of the move considerably by calling Tebow’s name in the first round, quite a bit higher than many expected. It’s a gamble that had better work out at some point in the future for Denver, or McDaniels the brave-hearted might well be remembered as Josh the fool-hardy.
Woody Paige of the Denver Post: “One jersey No. 15, Tebow, replaces another No. 15, Brandon Marshall. They are quite far apart … Josh McDaniels was willing to take a risk on the QB, take a chance on Tebow’s development and take a gamble on his own future as a coach. In two years, at age 35, will McDaniels be over the hill, or king of the mountain? He and Tebow will be peaking in Denver and in the NFL. Awesome or awful? Is Tebow another Elway, or another Maddox, Bubby Brister or Jake Plummer, Kyle Orton or Craig Morton, Jay Cutler the Good or Jay Cutler the Bad?”
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports: “When you trade away Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler, the key components in the Broncos passing game in a year span, and then draft Tim Tebow in the first round of the draft, you are sending a loud message. Talent doesn’t matter. Character does. Why not pick the altar boys from the parish down the street? Aren’t they good kids? Or maybe you can pick all the “A” students in this draft?”