Wow. It was a tumultuous day for fans of several teams. Before we get to my thoughts on the Josh McDaniels firing, I would like to direct as many of you as possible both today and everyday, to my brothers’ Denver sports blog at, www.kubiaktohold.blogspot.com. For those of you unfamiliar, KTH is a pretty enjoyable romp through the world of Mile High sports (and sometimes beer drinking and punk rock music). In addition, before I lay out my four individual takes on the change at Dove Valley, I have a quick mini-HiFive to start off! Like most of Bronco Nation…..
5. –Rockies’ manager, Jim Tracy fainted at the MLB winter meetings? He appears to be OK, but with a 157-121 record at the helm of the Rox, (another Buenning-created Rockies-centric blog) he is so important to keeping this team on the upward curve. Get well, Skip!
--Blake Griffin (this is a link to my scouting report from Friday’s game) flirted with his first career triple-double (kind of) in the Clippers’ win over Sacramento.
--The JETS are real fakers now, right? (Sorry, Dub.)
--While the Nuggets are off again, the Avs are in South Beach tonight.
--My distain for the Philadelphia Phillies was enriched with the departure of Jayson Werth, who got Fort Knox from the Nats, and was one of the only Phil I didn’t despise. Hopefully, they lock up Victarino and Utley for years to come.
4. OK, here we go. I’m gonna start with the person I blame for the Broncos’ recent poor play, the owner, Pat Bowlen. As is currently being discussed by some of you on www.kubiaktohold.blogspot.com, the mistake made was not hiring a General Manager first, who then hires the head coach. Giving a youngster like JMcD full power and, more importantly, responsibility over every aspect of a professional football team was falt-out dum. And knowing JMcD’s age and experience coming into the job, I bet he wished he had been named, just ‘Coach.’ Going forward, Bowlen needs to dump his archaic model of GM/Head Coach and start with the GM and let that “expert” pick the best coach for the job. If the names Elway, Kubiak and/or Calhoun are involved at any level, I will be pleased.
Breaking down the three main areas of JMcD’s shortcomings in his role as master of the Broncos.
3. As a Personnel Guy, involving free agent moves and trades, this was an area that many took issue with, but not me. JMcD came in with a plan and atop that list was to rid the franchise of knuckleheads, which abound at the time. Cutler, Scheffler and BMarsh are often the three first mentioned as “our future stars” that “this young punk just got rid of.” But if you watched all the games since they left Denver, their collective departure has not hurt this team’s performance on the field. Cutler was never great in the redzone (watch how quickly the Bears get HOUSED in the playoffs) and Marshall and Scheffler never caught touchdowns. Yes, the Peyton Hillis trade turned out bad, but remember that the now-Cleveland Brown had fumbling issues last year and we all know how short JMcD’s leash was for fumblers. In addition, there were a couple whiffs on the defensive end, but as a whole, I like the players on the team now more than before.
2. As a coach, I have always been a fan of JMcD. He has the respect of the players (who aren’t really happy with yesterday’s decision) he runs a structured locker room and has a fire and passion for the X’s and O’s of the game. Yes, his in-game play-calling wasn’t always great, but I thought his firing as a coach was premature, but maybe unavoidable considering the power he was given from Day 1. I do think he is a star-in-the-making as a coach, but it appears that will be for some other team. Again, unlike many other coaches (both new and old) around the league, I felt like he had a plan and you knew what he was trying to accomplish. I don’t think the same could be said for the earlier NFL firings this year.
1. JMcD’s role as a draft-chooser was my biggest concern from the start. Not necessarily based on his picks (more on them in a bit) but based, again, on the restrictions of his multi-tiered job. In two years of drafts, though, there is no denying that his early-round focus could be questioned. When he took over, the glaring needs were on defense, but other than Robert Ayers, his early picks were Knowshawn (star in making), Tebow, Demaryus Thomas, JD Walton and Zane Biedles-all offensive guys. Now, while all of these guys are potential career starters and some have Pro Bowl potential, the need was DEFENSE! (The Chiefs, on the other hand, have drafted the likes of Derrick Johnson, Tyson Jackson, Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, and Glenn Dorsey with their recent high picks.)
Also, if a guy is taking care of every aspect of running a pro team, how much time does he have to watch the inordinate amount of college ball needed to properly assess the mountain of talent going into the draft each year? Bowlen should have named a scouting department and given JMcD the groceries.
PS-This is a convincing piece about the firing by former Denver Post beat writer and current ESPN writer, Bill Williamson.
PSS-I also neglected to mention the whole “McSpygate” situation which supposedly bothered Bowlen more than was being publicly portrayed.