Josh McDaniels takes over Broncos
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ” Josh McDaniels will emulate the hoodie and the habits of his mentor, Bill Belichick.
The dour personality of the New England coach? Not so much.
The 32-year-old McDaniels vowed to bring a different vibe to the Denver Broncos after signing a four-year deal to replace Mike Shanahan.
The former Patriots offensive coordinator will take the good from his experiences with Belichick, former mentor Charlie Weis and Nick Saban, who gave him his first job as a graduate assistant at Michigan State in 1999.
He’ll leave the coolness behind.
“I can smile,” McDaniels said Monday at his inaugural news conference. “I’m going to have a lot of energy.”
That’s why the Broncos brought him in. His youth wasn’t held against him as he becomes the youngest coach in the league.
“He wants to have this job and I’m sure he’s going to work hard at it,” Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. “I think he’s got all the education he needs to do it.”
Bowlen was blown away by McDaniels’ interview, impressed with his football savvy as the two met for 90 minutes in his office.
“There’s a lot of things he said that I didn’t expect,” Bowlen said, using the Hawaiian word akamai (wise) to describe his new coach. “It’s his education, his presence, background, people he’s worked for, where he came from, all that stuff.
“He’s a football coach.”
McDaniels helped the defensive staff in New England for three seasons before taking over as Patriots quarterbacks coach in 2004. Belichick then promoted him to offensive coordinator in 2006, and his career took flight.
Bowlen thought enough of McDaniels to bypass defensive gurus Steve Spagnuolo of the Giants, Raheem Morris of the Buccaneers and Leslie Frazier of the Vikings despite Denver’s leaky defense.
It’s a problem McDaniels thinks he can fix. After all, he doesn’t view himself strictly as an offensive maven.
“The thing I’m most excited about is I can affect more than just the offense,” he said. “I don’t think I’m an offensive guy, a defensive guy, whatever it is. I’m hopefully a well-rounded football coach that’s had great experiences, that was taught by a lot of great men and great coaches. I’m going to try to take all the things that they taught me and use them to my advantage to try to win here.”
He knows he’s replacing an icon. Shanahan coached 14 seasons in Denver, leading the Broncos to consecutive Super Bowl titles.
But that was a decade ago, with a quarterback named John Elway running the show. Shanahan was fired Dec. 30 after the Broncos stumbled down the stretch, missing the playoffs for a third straight season. He departed with three years and $21 million left on his contract.
Now, it’s McDaniels’ team.
“It’s a great place with a great history, a great tradition,” McDaniels said. “It’s a place where you come where the culture is about winning.”
With the head coach hired, the Broncos turn their attention to another piece of the puzzle, a general manager.
However, Denver may already have that person in place ” Jim Goodman, the vice president of football operations, who helped land McDaniels and will apparently inherit more responsibilities.
“I don’t have any plans to hire what you would call a general manager,” Bowlen said.
McDaniels’ first task will be to fix that dreadful defense, which could soon be learning a system from a fourth defensive coordinator in four years.
One possibility to fill the role of defensive boss is Mike Nolan, the former San Francisco 49ers coach. McDaniels admitted he’s had discussions with Nolan, a former linebackers coach with Denver, but nothing more.
Bowlen said the choice is ultimately up to his new coach.
“If he wants to go in one direction, I’m probably going to let him go in that direction, he’s the head coach,” Bowlen said.
Bowlen also won’t meddle in the matters of which offensive coaches McDaniels elects to keep. McDaniels has already pledged to call plays, which would usurp the duties of quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, another 32-year-old wunderkind who’s close with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison is pursuing a similar position in San Francisco after failing to get the nod as Shanahan’s successor in Denver.
“I think there are some coaches here I’d like to see remain,” Bowlen said. “If the head coach decides he can’t do that, then that’s going to be his decision.”
McDaniels is the fourth member of Belichick’s coaching staff to leave either for a head coaching job in the NFL or a prestigious college job. None of them has been all that successful venturing out on their own.
Romeo Crennel left for Cleveland in 2005 and Eric Mangini joined the Jets a year later. Both were fired last month, with Mangini replacing Crennel in Cleveland. And Charlie Weis is on the hot seat at Notre Dame.
Still, McDaniels does have three Super Bowl rings to show for his work in New England. That definitely played a role in his hiring.
“Absolutely,” Bowlen said. “That’s why I’m here. Otherwise, I’d be off surfing in Hawaii.”
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