06 Dec 2010
The Broncos have fired head coach Josh McDaniels.
Of note: The Broncos have just one person on staff with head coaching experience at even the college level: Wayne Nunnely, who was the head coach at UNLV from 1986-1989.
A quick eulogy: While there's a variety of reasons why McDaniels' tenure in Denver is over, the decline of the defense has to be a huge part of the equation. The Broncos' defense was seventh in the league last year before falling to 31st through Week 12. McDaniels curiously let defensive coordinator Mike Nolan go to Miami after one season, replacing him with linebackers coach Don Martindale.
The biggest reason why the defense has declined, though, has to be health. Denver's 11 defensive starters missed just two games through injury last season; this year, by my count, their intended starters have missed 29 games already and have eight more on the way, with Elvis Dumervil and Joe Mays (indirectly Dumervil's replacement, with Mario Haggan moving back to the outside and Mays taking over as inside linebacker) being on injured reserve. Without Dumervil, their sack rate fell from seventh in 2009 to 29th this year.
UPDATE: The interim head coach is running backs coach Eric Studesville. Studesville has never been even an offensive coordinator at any level, let alone a head coach.
175 comments, Last at 11 Dec 2010, 3:16am by Kibbles
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?