This has been the question the last couple of years from the so-called experts in MSM. They think in the past and present and can't understand the future. Why would a new coach come into a new position on a team and cut 20% of its players? Never mind that almost all of those players then wasn't hired by any other team. Why would a guy get rid of the heralded 2006 draft class? Never mind that none of them wanted to play for the team.
So to help out these uneducated experts I'd like to spell it out for them after the jump.
When Josh first came to Denver he noticed two things. One was that the offense was outdated by NFL standards. It was a good offense but it couldn't score. The second was the defense was in Simon Cowells words, "A complete and utter mess!" So he needed to make some changes. Those changes didn't set well with the 2006 draft class because they were getting good stats from the old outdated offense. (I will say this that Mike Shanahan spent his year off well in that he got acquainted with what other teams were doing. No doubt Shanny tweaked his offense to make it current in the NFL.)
So on offense Josh saw that the major weakness was running back. Immediately he signed free agents to fill these positions and spent his first pick in the draft on a RB. He also signed players that would fit his offense. He especially brought in some New England guys that he was familiar with. He received much criticism for this but generally when a coach comes from another team, whether its Parcells, Shanny, Kubiak, or McDaniels, they bring along a few familiar faces. I'm not going to go into Cutler et. al. because that is old and much debated news. McDaniels did bring in QB's that he thought would prosper in his system.
On Defense McDaniels had to upgrade the defensive backfield. This was the worst position on the team. He responded by adding free agents and draft picks to the tune that only two of the eleven players on the 53 man squad was in Denver in 2008. Then he also had to bring in players that will make the scheme change work. That's when he signed Ronnie Fields and drafted Ayers.
The results from his first year of altering the teams personal had mixed results. It began the year with an amazing 6-0 run but then the wheels started coming off both the offensive and defensive lines and Denver finished with a 2-8 run. What would McDaniels do now? He went in and discussed with his coaches where the team failed and how it could be improved .The first result of that was a change in defensive coordinators. The next observations were obvious to all of us. Denver needed to upgrade the interior of the offensive line and improve the defensive line in addition to upgrading the quality of the QB depth.
So what is the result of that observation. First the defensive line. McDaniels brought in through free agency, the best backup DT in the league to compete for a starting position. Also in free agency McDaniels brought in one of the best NT the league has ever seen and a quality rushing DG. I used the DG in this instance to show that he isn't a proto-typical rushing DE. This is an upgrade to all three defensive line positions.
There wasn't a whole lot of free agents out there that would be greater upgrades to the interior offensive line than what could be found in the draft. So that is exactly what McDaniels did, drafting interior linemen in the 2nd, 3rd, and 6th rounds. No doubt the interior of Denver's OL will be much improved.
With quarterbacks, Denver had a decent starter. Orton finished in the middle of the pack last year and the circumstances suggest that he will be better this year. So as far as depth goes Denver jettisoned the worthless Chris Simms for Brady Quinn, whom I believe will be the one of the top backups in the league. To improve the developmental QB Denver brought in Tim Tebow, which no matter how you look at it is a major upgrade over Brandstater.
Its not hard to figure out what McDaniels is doing in Denver. He identifies problematic areas and he fixes them. What has been the results. Overall team depth for one thing. At the end of this season do you think that someone will be able to cut 8 players off this team that will not be picked up by any other team? Speaking on team depth, after drafting two value pick CB's, the team now has 13 NFL quality DB's. In speaking of trading next years 5th for the two 7th McDanielssaid that because of that depth he looks to recoup that pick. Barring injuries, there will be an experienced DB or two traded this training camp. Yes even with the losses of excellent players in Cutler, Marshall, and Scheffler, Denver is still a much improved team.