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Learning from Josh McDaniels’ problems in Denver

New Raiders’ head coach must be better in his second chance leading a team

Kansas City Chiefs v Denver Broncos
Josh McDaniels
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

There is zero doubt that Josh McDaniels is an elite offensive mind in the NFL. His track record speaks for itself. However, the only question about him is is he equipped to have success as a head coach in the NFL?

That will hover over him until he proves otherwise. Of course, the reason for that is disastrous 28-game tenure in Denver spanning 2009-10. McDaniels started his Broncos’ career going 6-0. However, he ended up 11-17 in Denver and had one controversy after another. He was just 32 when he was hired in Denver, and he is now 45.

To his credit, McDaniels addressed his albatross during his introduction press conference in Las Vegas on Monday.

“When I went to Denver, I knew a little bit of football. I didn’t really know people and how important that aspect of this process and maintaining the culture and building the team was. I failed, and I didn’t succeed at it,” McDaniels candidly said. “Looking at that experience has been one of the best things in my life in terms of my overall growth as a person, as a coach. What do I need to do different, how do I need to handle my role, if I have another opportunity, and do better at it. I feel like that’s really an area that I’ve tried to grow in with our staff in New England.”

McDaniels pinpointed his biggest problem while with the Broncos: he didn’t play nice with people in Denver. He alienated quarterback Jay Cutler weeks after he got to town and had other issues with player and staff. It never got better.

If McDaniels can avoid personal issues in Las Vegas, he could have big success in his second NFL head-coaching stop.

“The last 10 to 12 years I’ve really had an opportunity to grow as a person, as a coach, as a man, and try to figure out after my experiences in Denver and St. Louis who I am, how I wanted to be defined in my career, what I wanted to represent, and how I would lead the next time if I got another opportunity to be a head coach,” McDaniels said. “It’s crystallized for me. I’m clear in the vision that I have for this role, for this job, for this team, and I’m going to be myself.”