Broncos fire Josh McDaniels – too soon or not soon enough?

ENGLEWOOD, CO - SEPTEMBER 21: Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniel addresses the media during a press conference to discuss the death of Bronco wide receiver Kenny McKinley at the Denver Broncos Headquarters at Dove Valley on September 21, 2010 in Englewood, Colorado. McKinley, 23, was found dead in his home on September 20, 2010 in Arapahoe County, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

That was quick.

It hasn’t even been two full years since the Denver Broncos hired Josh McDaniels and now he’s unemployed and they’re searching for a new head coach. Following the team’s 3-9 start, the Broncos fired McDaniels on Monday after he led them to losses in 17 of their last 22 games.

Looking at his brief track record, it’s hard to argue with the decision. Immediately upon arriving to Denver, McDaniels started a feud with then-starter Jay Cutler, who was eventually traded to Chicago for a first round pick and parts (uh, Kyle Orton). Then McDaniels led the Broncos to a 6-0 start in 2009, only to collapse down the stretch to finish 2-8. In the offseason, he was part of the contingent that sent No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami.

He also had a hand in dealing Peyton Hillis to the Browns in exchange for Brady Quinn, who is now third on the Broncos’ depth chart behind Orton and rookie Tim Tebow. Hillis, meanwhile, hasn’t stopped bowling over defenders since he arrived in Cleveland and has established himself as a feature back.

McDaniels also had a hand in trading away multiple draft picks in order to select Tebow in the first round of April’s draft despite the warning signs that he was a massive project as a passer. Not lost on anybody was his inability to retain Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator following the ’09 season or how he was recently fined because a member of his video department was caught taping one of the 49ers’ walk-through practices in London earlier this year. Spygate 2, anyone?

But even considering all of that, was it enough to fire McDaniels right now? You can’t even properly grade his first draft class yet and nobody has the faintest idea what will become of Tebow. The Broncos didn’t have to commit to him through 2011 but what about through the rest of 2010? And who are you going to replace him with right now? “Wink” Martindale?

McDaniels’ short tenure in Denver was obviously filled with way more misses than hits, but it’s not like the Broncos improved their situation by firing him now. If anything it was a lateral move but then again, sometimes what’s best is to cut your losses and start anew.

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