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Broncos players excited about young coach

Lee Rasizer
Rocky Mountain News
Denver, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” At age 32, Josh McDaniels won’t be much older than some of the players he’ll coach in Denver.

That doesn’t seem to bother Broncos players, who, themselves are skewing Generation Y.

“Oh, man, I think that’s going to be great,” Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall said Sunday night, shortly after learning of McDaniel’s hire from team personnel executive Jim Goodman. “Our locker room definitely has changed from a very veteran team to young guys with good character, but at the end of the day, still young.



“And from that standpoint, to have a coach in there around the same age as the guys in the locker room, he can relate to things we’re about; it makes it a little easier as far as the transition.

“A lot of the guys are excited.”



McDaniels, 32, has worked eight years with the New England Patriots, the past two as offensive coordinator. He joined the club as a personnel assistant, then advanced up the ladder to a defensive assistant with the Patriots (2002-03), quarterbacks coach (2004) and to his last position in ’06.

New England set records for scoring, with 589 points, behind MVP Tom Brady last year and just missed the playoffs despite untested Matt Cassel forced into action at quarterback this season. Cassel ended up having a breakout season under McDaniels’ tutelage.

McDaniels, an Ohio native, replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired after Denver missed the playoffs for the third straight season. He’ll be the Broncos’ 12th head coach in franchise history.



“That’s enthusiasm, man,” cornerback Dre Bly said of his new coach, who’s only one year older than he is. “Coach Shanahan had a lot of respect. Guys looked up to him and had a good relationship. But with a guy like him, it’s like with (Broncos 2007 passing game coordinator) Jeremy Bates – exciting, enthusiasm. It’s like what Mike Tomlin brings to Pittsburgh. He brings excitement to that team. It’s good for our team. And I hope we respond to him.”

Some players still were trying to figure out just who their new coach was, with only a cursory knowledge of McDaniels’ background.

“I just know that he was the offensive coordinator,” left tackle Ryan Clady said. “But it’s going to be exciting to see what he can do with the personnel we have and his scheme.”

“He’s shown that he can win in New England,” defensive end Elvis Dumervil added. “We’ll see what happens.”

That holds true on both sides of the ball.

Denver’s offense ranked second in the NFL but was only 16th in scoring, at 23.1 points per game.

“Even though we had some good coaches here – and still do – the things he was able to do on the offensive side of the ball with them last year with the awesome run the Patriots had, undefeated all the way to the Super Bowl, and all the records they broke, it goes further than the players making plays,” Marshall said, adding that Denver’s coaches previously took elements from New England’s offense, given that significant success.

“Somebody has to coach the guys up, and it says a lot about him,” Marshall added. “And if he can get someone to help on the defensive side of the ball, too, we can go a long way.”

That defensive architect still is to be determined, as is the accompanying philosophy.

“He’s been around a 3-4 system. That might be the direction he goes. I don’t know,” Bly said. “But that’s the nature of the beast. Coaches bring in coordinators and use the schemes they’re comfortable with. And that affects us. . . . I’m sure guys will be excited either way because of the fact we landed a new coach, a young guy and can move forward knowing the direction we’re going.”

Denver interviewed seven candidates in all. And there was a widely held belief publicly that the team, given its 29th-ranked defense, would hire a coach with a defensive background. But the Broncos obviously didn’t feel obligated to make that call.

“It’s an offensive town, starting with (John) Elway and coach Shanahan. That’s what they’re used to here,” Bly said. “It really doesn’t matter. As long as we get things worked out and we’re effective out there.”

That’ll be kid’s play, with McDaniels on board, possibly augmented by some veteran assistants.

“I’ve had young coaches before, especially in college,” Clady said. “So I’m used to it.”


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