Is anyone else bemused by the fact that Josh McDaniels just can't seem to catch a break? Orton, win/loss record and roster are just a few of the areas that have been held up as a reason to give the coach a hard time.Coach McDaniels had stated that he would name a starting quarterback just as soon as one of the two (Orton and Simms) had shown that he had pulled ahead in learning to run the offense. Lots of people suggested that if Orton wasn't named the starter, then McDaniels must be an idiot for trading for a quarterback who couldn't win the starting spot. Funny, I don't remember the trade as being a Cutler for Orton affair. As I recall it was a "what's the best you're willing to offer for Cutler" deal, and in most of the reports I read, the draft picks were mentioned first, with Orton being the add-on. Yet, after Orton was named the starter, a number of people started questioning whether or not there was ever a true competition for the quarterback position, despite the fact that McDaniels, Orton and Simms all went on record as saying that there was a competition for the spot going on. In regards to win/loss record & personnel turn-over, we'll have to wait and see before we can label McDaniels a genius or an idiot, since we haven't played any games nor has the rest of the starting lineup been named.
I was wondering, if in order to help us give McDaniels a break on some of these issues it might not be helpful to revisit what happened with other Head Coaches when they took over the helm of the organization.
DIsclaimer: I did not include data for interim coaches, or the season in which a coach starter mid-season.
Year Coach 1st Year Record 1st Winning Season New Starters in 1st Year
1960 Filchock 4-9-1 Never N/A (1st Yr for team)
1962 Faulkner 7-7 Never 14*
1965 Speedie 4-10 Never 13*
1967 Saban 3-11 Never 21**
1972 Ralston 5-9 1973 11
1977 Miller 12-2 1977 9*
1981 Reeves 10-6 1981 4
1993 Phillips 9-7 1993 10*
1995 Shanahan 8-8 1996 12
* 1 Pro Bowl player from previous year did not start
** 4 Pro Bowl players from previous year did not start
Several things leap out at us from this look back:
5 of our first 9 HC's had losing records in their first season.
3 of the last 4 HC's started with winning records (the 4th had an 8-8 season)
2 of the last 4 HC's (MIller & Phillips) took the Broncos to the playoffs in their first year.
1 of the last 4 HC's (Miller) took the Broncos to the Super Bowl in his first year.
None of Denver's 1st 4 HC's ever had a winning season.
The last 5 coaches each posted at least 1 winning season, and none of them went more than 1 season between the time they became HC and their 1st winning season.
The average number of new starters for the team under a new HC has been 11.75.
Not included in the data above: John Ralston transitioned Denver to a 3-4 in 1976 after a 6-8-0 finish, and went 9-5-0.
What all of this says to me is: No matter whether we agree with the moves McDaniels has made or not, he deserves to be cut some slack to see just how far and how fast he can take our beloved Broncos. IMHO, history is on his side.