FanShot

McDaniels Does it Again: Nolan Quits Broncos

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My hatred for the Broncos was transient. Denver offered an inequitable trade and Seattle said "sure". There are roots to this rivalry, but those roots are rotted and irrelevant. After Denver collapsed on their swords to complete the regular season, I toasted their demise, poured a little on the grave of their postseason, and began daydreaming about their pick. Relationship over; hatred consummated. But my hatred for Herr McDaniels lives on. Once you've got a nostril full of the glowering, beady-eyed McDaniels, the stench sticks with you. For all the praise heaped atop McDaniels, he did little more than stall a developing contender. Denver finished 8-8 in 2008 and 8-8 in 2009. The offense, McDaniel's forte, declined significantly. The defense transformed and finished in the top ten. Stall and kill, it would seem. Nolan didn't make this defense, but it's probable that he made the defense better. Losing him sets the Broncos back, but something even more significant is in play. Denver had the second ranked offense in the NFL in 2008. It had the 31st ranked defense. Assuming Nolan is not capable of miracles, some of the gains Denver's defense made in 2009 were natural progression. Had McDaniels retained Jay Cutler, it's very possible that the Broncos would have been a Super Bowl contender. But McDaniels chased out Cutler like he's now chased out Nolan. The Kyle Orton led Broncos are also-rans, if that. What McDaniels has done is almost without precedent. He took a young team with a powerhouse offense and the talent to make a great defense, alienated its quarterback and best receiver, and perhaps taken a perennial contender, even the makings of a dynasty, and turned it into...we shall see.

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