Posted Fri Oct 22nd by Kris Burke
It took a season and a half, but it seems like something finally clicked in Josh McDaniels’ head.
In a game everyone thought would be a blowout, the Denver Broncos came within a pass interference penalty of upsetting perhaps the AFC’s top team, the New York Jets, and fell 24-20 after Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton mishandled a snap on the final drive in a game.
If there was ever a loss that one can draw optimism from, this was it.
Running back Knowshon Moreno came back from injury and rookie quarterback Tim Tebow scored his first NFL touchdown out of the Wild Horses formation. The Broncos offense as a whole kept the Jets on their toes ll day with multiple packages and sub packages. The defense got into the act as well playing in both the 3-4 and the 4-3, which the Broncos ran under former coach Mike Shanahan.
It raises the question: has Josh McDaniels finally figured it all out?
Now it’s not like he learned how to coach in the NFL overnight. He earned his stripes in New England and helped turn Tom Brady into a second coming of Joe Montana. No one is questioning his credentials. He earned this job.
What the big criticism against McDaniels has been is his decision making. In the Jets game, which was basically a David vs Goliath battle, McDaniels threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Jets on both sides of the ball — and if he had a sink available, he probably would have thrown that too.
With the Broncos’ best effort of the season, it would appear that McDaniels has finally grown into the role of an NFL head coach. Despite his playcalling being under fire all season, McDaniels kept his composure and nearly led his team to the biggest win of his still young tenure.
At the age of 34 but looking like he’s 25, McDaniels is one of the youngest coaches in the NFL. Despite being in the league for awhile, he was only calling plays for the Patriots offense for four years before Pat Bowlen gave him the keys to the Denver Broncos.
Like with a rookie quarterback, fans need to show patience with a young head coach.
This man, despite having been on a team that won three Super Bowls in four years, was not the one pushing all the buttons on the New England Patriots. That would obviously be Bill Belichick. McDaniels needed to learn and grow into his own style.
His own style borrows some from Belichick but McDaniels brings a whole lot more fire to it. Contrast Belichick’s blank stare on the sidelines versus the image of McDaniels running the sideline trying to fire up his home crowd.
Seriously, even if you hate the man, how cool was that to see?
Of course, this was only one game and McDaniels could easily slip back into his supposed bad habits and the Broncos could tank.
Before jumping to conclusions, look at the big picture here.
This last game was the biggest game of the Broncos’ season to date. Coaches earn their paychecks in big games. McDaniels came to coach last Sunday and it showed. His offense continued to move the ball well and his defense stopped the Jets’ talented rushing attack and forced some mistakes from second year quarterback Mark Sanchez.
McDaniels has shown us he can do it and lead his team in big games. In close contests like that, some will go your way and some won’t. Obviously, that one did not fall McDaniels’ way.
That said, if the coach who showed up last Sunday shows up the rest of the season, McDaniels will win over the fans that have been on his back since the day he arrived.
Then again, winning more Super Bowls than the last guy seemingly is the only way to do that and even then someone might find faults in him.
Such is the way super fandom goes sometimes, I guess.
Follow Kris Burke on Twitter @KBurkeNFL