Thursday, October 8, 2009

McDaniels meets with the Bronco Quarterback Club

Tonight was my first chance to see Josh McDaniels up close. I along with other members of the Bronco Quarterback Club were invited to watch the taping of Channel 4's Josh McDaniels Show at the Broncos Conditioning Center in Dove Valley. McDaniels answered questions from club members afterwards.

McDaniels walked right by my chair at the start of the meeting and my first reaction was "who is this kid?" He looked so young and he's not very big. I figured he must know what he's doing to command respect from much larger (and in some cases) much older NFL players. McDaniels was wearing his signature "hoodie".

Below I'll paraphrase some of the comments McDaniels made.

McDaniels saw someone in the audience wearing a yellow Bronco "throwback" jersey. "We're going to wear the yellow jerseys in practice on Friday to get over the initial shock" of playing in these unusual looking jerseys. McDaniels joked he was going to wear "an old school hoodie" on Sunday.

When asked how it feels to be 4-0 McDaniels said he was pleased but he's "a long way from being satisfied." He said the team has had a long and tough week of preparation for the Patriots. This team is definitely not resting on its laurels.

McDaniels talked about the Patriots. He said they like to run from the shotgun formation (and illustrated that by showing a scoring run from Sammy Morris last Sunday). Their offensive line is experienced and quick hitting. Bill Belichick does a great job of designing pressure to get to the quarterback - you'll never see the Patriots run past the quarterback. They rush to a spot.

A play was shown where Baltimore blitzed the Patriots in the red zone. McDaniels pointed out how Tom Brady immediately recognized this and threw to Randy Moss who had drawn 1 to 1 coverage. Very few cornerbacks can cover Moss 1 to 1 and the play resulted in an easy touchdown.

McDaniels stressed you can't play one defense against the Patriots. You have to disguise your defensive schemes throughout the game.

McDaniels then answered some questions from members of the quarterback club.

Why did Dallas go after Champ 2 plays in a row at the end of the game on Sunday?

I don't know. Champ was in great position on those 2 plays. He played slightly off the receiver, read which way the receiver was going to cut, then quickly moved up to knock down the ball.

Why did you go for it on 4th and 1?

The wind was a factor in the game. From the pregame warmups I figured the maximum field goal into the wind was 48 yards and that's how long the field goal attempt would have been. I wanted to show the players I had confidence in them to go for it, and they were excited about it. We didn't like the result (not making the 1st down) but I felt it was the right call to go for it.

Do you know what Tom Brady's weaknesses are?

Yes but he doesn't have many. We need to keep changing things up. When Brady gets comfortable and gets in a rhythm that's when he plays the best. I do know certain things about that offense and we'll try to keep Brady off balance.

I've only competed against Brady twice. Once when I was on the Michigan State staff and we were playing Michigan - I won. Then another time we played each other in a round of golf - I won. I hope Sunday is the 3rd time.

Will you assign 1 guy (champ) to cover Randy Moss?

No, we want to change it up. Champ is comfortable on the left side and Andre Goodman is comfortable on the right side. We're not going to change our corners position on the field just to put 1 guy on Moss.

You won in the 4th quarter on Sunday vs Dallas. How important was conditioning and how important was the half time adjustments?

Both were important. We are a well conditioned team. In camp we practiced in pads for all but 2 days. We run alot in practice and our players have volunteered to run even when not asked. As for adjustments at half time, we have alot of smart players. Smart players can take a 2 or 3 minute plan we draw up at half time and then run it in the second half.

What did you say to Brandon Marshall after his big touchdown catch?

(McDaniels asked the crowd not to share what he told Marshall - then he told us. I won't spill the beans but will say this: McDaniels said he and Marshall have a great relationship. The hug was an inside joke between the two - Marshall said something funny and McDaniels hugged him in response)


Overall I was very impressed with McDaniels. He has a quiet confidence about him and he showed a good sense of humor. He concluded by saying "many of you have been fans since before I was born - thanks for your support." If there was any doubts in the minds of the longtime fans of the Bronco QB Club on whether McDaniels was the right man for the job, Josh quieted those concerns tonight. He was knowledgeable, funny, and very personable.

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