In the fanpost McDaniels and History BShrout offers a reasonable look at the performances of new head coaches, starting in 1999. His conclusion is that most new coaches had 8-8 (or worse) record. I'm going to go back a little further than he did, and look at one guy in particular.
In 1995, this new head coach went 8-8.
In 1996, his team went 13-3.
In 1997 and 1998, he took his team to the Superbowl.
Yes, I am talking about Mike Shanahan (and if you didn't recognize that immediately, you need to order the DVD of the Bronco's history and watch it 10 times non-stop -- in fact, it will probably make better viewing than most the wild-card games, but I digress). Anyway, I'm talking about Shanahan, the man about to be named head coach for the Redskins. He took a team mired in Phillips-induced mediocrity, cleaned out a bunch of players (including many fan favorites), then took them to the promised land.
Shanahan also endured a lot of criticism his first year, but despite acheiving the same record as the year before it was clear to most people that he was improving the team. Those roster moves included bringing in a stud running back named Terrell Davis who rushed for 1,147 yards. Yes, he revamped an offense that most people thought was doing fine. He also shored up the defense enough to stop the bleeding.
My point in rehashing history is to point out the parallel between what Shanahan did and McDaniels did. I'm seeing very similar trends here, and I for one am encouraged. Really, there are only two major differences I see. First is that in 1995 Davis was the best running back Denver had seen since Floyd Little, and in 2009 we've been spoiled by a long string of 1000+ yard rushers. Second is that the rather popular QB in 1995 didn't have a hissy fit and force a trade, since he had already proven his worth on the field and was secure enough to recognize that things sometimes have to change (playing for Dan Reeves probably had a lot to do with the lack of a prima donna attitude).
I'm not saying we can't criticize the coaches moves. In fact, I'm leaning toward McGeorge's viewpoint on drafting Alphonso Smith, and there were several head slapper play calls. And the punt in the 4th quarter of the KC game, down by two scores with under 9 minutes left absolutely enraged me, since McDaniels basically conceded the game at that point. But before we excorciate McDaniels for doing what he was paid to do, remember the Bronco's history, and remember the over-worked quote by George Santayana, and have a little patience. I've seen enough improvement this year in the basic play of the team that I think there is a bright future. And if I'm wrong, well, coaches are easy to fire...