Woody Paige blasts McDaniels’ hire of Nolan

Woody Paige of the Denver Post isn’t too big on Josh McDaniels’ choice of Mike Nolan to fill the Broncos’ vacant defensive coordinator position.

Mike NolanIt must be downright discouraging and demoralizing for somebody who has served as a defensive coordinator, then head coach, for 14 1/2 seasons — with five different teams — yet reached the playoffs only TWO of those years, won more than 10 games just once, had a losing record in eight seasons (and only four or five victories four times), was fired several times and, in the biggest game all his teams played, saw the defense reduced to ashes (44 points).

Say hello again to Mike Nolan, your new defensive coordinator.

He is Josh McDaniels’ first hire.

The Broncos’ most critical need was an extraordinary defensive coordinator, and they get an offensive coordinator, who brings in, for the Broncos, another ordinary defensive coordinator. The Broncos selected a baby-faced coach, and he selects a second-hand coach.
It’s inexplicable.

Nolan was named the 49ers’ head coach in 2005. He won fewer than half his games, and did not make the playoffs, before being fired after seven games (2-5) this season. In San Francisco Nolan’s defenses ranked, in points allowed, Nos. 30, 32, 20 and 23. They permitted 30 points or more 18 times.

The future of McDaniels and Nolan will depend on the 3-4, tried and trashed by the Broncos temporarily last season, but they have to depend more on exceptional unrestricted free agents and a No. 1 pick on defense who can step in immediately. The Broncos, despite a plethora of linebackers, could use one more who can stop the run (Channing Crowder), and they must find a starting safety (oft-injured Mike Brown) or two, another corner (Nnamdi Asomugha) and two defensive linemen (Julius Peppers, Bertrand Berry).

And Mike Nolan has to prove why Broncophiles should not be down- wrong discouraged and demoralized.

It’s hard to argue with Paige because Nolan did absolutely nothing to restore the 49ers’ defense, even though they added key pieces in Patrick Willis, Nate Clements, Michael Lewis and Justin Smith during his tenure there. It’s also a bit premature at this point to trash any coaching hire (after all, look at the ’08 new coaching class of Tony Sparano, Mike Smith and John Harbaugh), but I fail to see how McDaniels/Nolan is better than Mike Shanahan at this point.

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