A tale of two coaches. Both coaches are first year coaches in the city of Denver. The first coach had no head coaching experience, the second had no professional head coaching experience. The first head coach could not coexist with the teams best player, the second coach lost his best player to retirement. Neither coach had high expectations for their respective teams going into their season. The first coach is Josh McDaniels the second is the Avalanche coach Joe Sacco. Although the two coaches have similar circumstances to begin their coaching career in Denver this is where the similarities stop.
Coach McDaniels decided that he needed to put his stamp on the Denver Broncos. After 2 seasons of mediocre to poor performances, coach McDaniels decided to bring in some veteran players along the defense to provide leadership and depth. McDaniels showed that he is a strong willed coach who allowed his personality to clash with the Broncos leader QB Jay Cutler. McDaniels decided that he could not coexist with Cutler and shipped him to the Bears. McDaniels and the Denver Broncos from then on were the source of ridicule all the way until the season began. McDaniels and co got off to a hot 6-0 start. The defense was playing "lights out" and Orton was playing pretty well and really had chemistry with Brandon Marshall. Then the wheels began to fall off. The defense started to slip, the offense began to sputter (the running game came to a halt) and Denver could only manage to win 2 more games of the final 10. McDaniels had a "falling out" with Defensive Coordinator Nolan, so Nolan is gone. McDaniels then had a problem with Brandon Marshall. Now Brandon Marshall is gone. McDaniels has a problem with Tony Scheffler. Sheffler has since signed his tender and is expected to be traded at the time of this writing. Tony will be the next to go. Even the biggest Josh McDaniels fan has to admit that his people skills are atrocious! Coach McDaniels has a high football IQ but needs to learn how to inspire players to be their best and needs to learn how to coexist on a personal level with his team. He could learn from Avalanche coach Joe Sacco.
Coach Sacco said from day one that his team would reflect his hard-working personality. Coach Sacco inherited a team that finished dead last in the Western Conference with an abysmal 69 points. The hockey experts all predicted that the Avalanche would finish last in the Western Conference again. Coach Sacco decided to get younger and traded away forward Ryan Smyth to the LA Kings for defenseman Kyle Quincey. Coach Sacco saw potential in a backup goaltender from the Florida Panthers and signed Goalie Craig Anderson to a 1.5 million dollar contract. Like McDaniels, coach Sacco filled his coaching staff with solid coaches Like the Broncos, the Avs got off to a fast start behind strong Goaltending from Craig Anderson. Even though things were going well, coach Sacco did not appreciate the effort of some of his players. Forward Chris Stewart found himself in Sacco's doghouse and was sent back to the minors. How did Stewart respond? When the Avalanche began to suffer injuries, Stewart was called back up and finished the regular season with the second most points on the Avs roster. Coach Sacco noticed Stewart's performance and rewarded him with a spot on the top line with Paul Stasny. Later in the season, Coach Sacco had a problem with the effort that defenseman John-Michael Liles. Liles found himself in Sacco's doghouse and was benched (a "healthy scratch) for several games. How has Liles responded? Liles has since taken his game to another level and has been a regular contributor on the scoring sheet. Coach Sacco did send one player away like Josh McDaniels and it was slightly controversial as well. Sacco did not like the lack of defense by Wojtek Wolski so he traded him for two players Peter Mueller and Porter. Both are getting regular minutes. At the time Mueller was seen as a step back for the Avs as he had only scored 17 points in 60+ games. How did Mueller do playing for Coach Sacco? Mueller finished the season with 20 points in 15 games. The result? Coach Sacco guided the Avs to the playoffs!!! (At the time of this writing the Avs lead the Sharks in the playoffs 1-0)
Coach McDaniels should take a coaching class from Coach Sacco in how to inspire the team to give their maximum effort and how to deal with players once they find themselves in his doghouse. Shipping these players off is not being a good coach, it is being a bad GM. The sooner Coach McDaniels understands this the better!!