Josh McDaniels says goodbye to Mike Nolan in thirteen words that add up to two: "Drop dead"
"Hey, Mike! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!"
Last week's Denver Blogs headline "Josh McDaniels's Coaches Getting the Hell Out of Dodge" is as timely as ever owing to the latest JD assistant to march out the door: defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.
Unlike previous ship-abandoners Rick Dennison and Bobby Turner, who signed up with former colleagues/bosses in Houston and Washington, respectively, Nolan was a McDaniels guy from the start -- yet the allegedly mutual split looks to be nasty. McDaniels issued a thirteen-word statement on the subject: "I have great respect for Mike and wish him success in the future." And the Broncos' website has already scrubbed Nolan from the staff list, as if the disastrous end of the season was all his fault.
Of course, Nolan does deserve some of the blame. But there's plenty of it to go around.
Early on, Denver's defense seemed stouter than recent editions despite McDaniels using relatively few of the team's top draft choices to address what even a post-blinding Oedipus could have seen was a major need. As the season wore on, however, the trickery Nolan used to patch over weaknesses began to thin. Down the stretch, squads as mediocre as the Washington Redskins were able to control the ball and chew up clock, which would have caused most coaches to yank out their hair. Maybe that's why McDaniels keeps his trimmed so short.
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Now -- big fat surprise -- McD is reportedly set on bringing aboard another New England Patriots alum: Dean Pees, a friend of the McDaniels family from way back. And that's a good thing, because thus far, there's no sign that many other members of young Josh's coaching staff have warmed to him -- the exits of Dennison and Turner being exhibits one and two.
ESPN's Rick Kurtzman sees a pattern in the recent departures, whether forced or not, and asks, "Is McDaniels really so arrogant and egocentric that he would rather lord over the Broncos' organization than work with talented parts to create a competitive whole? Or, was the football field greener on the other side for those men?"
Good questions. Obviously, McDaniels doesn't want for confidence. But his my-way-or-the-highway shtick will become counterproductive if the Broncos go from a franchise where people want to play and work to one they can't wait to flee.