Coach Kid had to win standoff
By Mark Kiszla
The Denver Post Posted: 07/18/2009 01:00:00 AM MDT
Although beating the Raiders would be sweeter, Josh McDaniels has scored his first major victory as coach of the Broncos.
He made Brandon Marshall blink.
After requesting a trade, threatening a holdout and waving goodbye to Broncomaniacs in his blog, the Beast has come crawling back, with Marshall now vowing to report to training camp on time.
Guess B-Marsh likes money more than he hates Denver.
While acknowledging we're a long way from happily ever after between Denver's rookie coach and his disgruntled receiver, there's no disputing what happened when push came to shove.
And has a coach ever needed a victory so badly when his official NFL record was 0-0?
Since landing the job in Denver, McDaniels has been blamed for everything from not being Mike Shanahan to the hissy fit thrown by Jay Cutler in his last act as quarterback to afternoon traffic snarls on Interstate 25.
Has any Denver sports personality ever been so reviled before actually taking the field?
For an uncommonly generous city I have long believed leads the country in cheers per capita, this McDaniels bashing was distinctly out of character.
Not to mention grossly unfair.
Sure, McDaniels made a gaffe by treating one of the more passionate, tradition- rich NFL markets a little too much like Hooterville with his assumption that whatever ailed the Broncos could be fixed by transforming Denver into New England West as soon as possible. It stunk of arrogance.
But the extent to which many Broncomaniacs have berated McDaniels - whether they demanded that franchise owner Pat Bowlen fire the new coach on the spot or threw brickbats because a running back who gained 1,400 yards rushing in the Southeastern Conference was selected with a first- round draft pick - might be considered mean-spirited if the wails of righteous anger from critics weren't so amusingly absurd.
Meaning no disrespect to Shanahan, but McDaniels has won a Super Bowl ring more recently than the most successful coach in Broncos history.
Although the presence of recent NFL champs such as Pittsburgh, the New York Giants and Indianapolis makes for a daunting schedule, the AFC West is the softest division in pro football.
While his predecessor as coach had slowly dismantled pride in the Broncos' uniform through the constant roster churn of employing too many mercenaries and transients, McDaniels has made it clear that in the age of free agency, players who actually want to be here have never been more important to winning.
Although it might seem an odd approach for a 33-year- old coach, what McDaniels has reintroduced to the Broncos are some old-school values of placing team before self and hard-earned sweat being a smarter way to improve rather than throwing money at every problem.
Maybe it took Marshall, with his screaming-in-all- caps blog and give-me-the- money attitude, for it to dawn on some Denver fans exactly what McDaniels is trying to change about the Broncos.
McDaniels should thank Marshall for that.
In fact, when Marshall strolls through the doors at Dove Valley and reports to camp on July 27, the first words out of the coach's mouth to his receiver need to be: Thanks for being here.
Why? Enough of the macho staredowns. Because, like it or not, McDaniels and Marshall are stuck with each other.
Without B-Marsh on his side, it will be tougher for McDaniels to beat the Raiders and win over critics.
Unless he demonstrates complete buy-in for Coach McD's new Broncos game plan, it will be harder for Marshall to get paid.
Mark Kiszla: 303-954-1053 or firstname.lastname@example.org