Josh McDaniels has five weeks to prove himself?

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Josh McDaniels of the Denver Broncos looks on against the Seattle Seahawks during NFL action at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 19, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

In a recent interview with AOL Fanhouse’s Thomas George, Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen said that head coach Josh McDaniels will be back in 2011. But quickly after that report was published, the team issued a statement that contradicts Bowlen’s comments.

When asked if McDaniels would be back in 2011, Bowlen told George, “Yes he will. I am not interested in making a coaching change.” He even went on to say that he was “very happy with Josh” and that McDaniels was doing a “good job.”

But after news started to spread about Bowlen’s comments, the Broncos issued a written statement that stated the following:

“This has been a very trying and disappointing season for all of us,” Bowlen said in a written statement. “We haven’t had the success we had hoped to achieve. Josh McDaniels is the head coach of the Broncos, and you always strive for stability at that position. However, with five games left in the 2010 season, we will continue to monitor the progress of the team and evaluate what’s in the best interest of this franchise.”

Read between the lines and Bowlen is essentially saying that McDaniels has five weeks to campaign to keep his job. But given the talent level of the Broncos’ roster, is it fair for Bowlen to expect anything than more inconsistency from this team? Even after blowing out the Chiefs a couple of weeks ago, it was evident in a recent MNF game that Denver can’t hang with the likes of San Diego or other playoff teams in the AFC. So is Bowlen creating a situation where he knows McDaniels will fail?

Of course, the current state of the Broncos is do in large part because of McDaniels’ shoddy decision making. He pissed off Jay Cutler to the point where he had no choice but to trade him, then he sent Brandon Marshall packing last offseason. He also traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn, which could go down as one of the worst deals in NFL history if Hillis continues to play as well as he has, and traded multiple picks in order to draft Tim Tebow (a major project at quarterback) in the first round last April. (Oh, and there was also that little issue of McDaniels getting fined because a member of his video staff was caught video tapping one of the 49ers’ walk-through practices.)

The Broncos are what they are because of McDaniels. Now it’s up to Bowlen to decide whether or not to allow McDaniels to finish what he started or send him packing after only two years. If he fires him, then he just creates a new set of problems. Will the new coach want to work with Tebow? Because if not, then what do you do with him? The Broncos can’t afford to have that pick wasted on a backup or an H-back (assuming the new coaching staff would move him to another position).

Bowlen has a tough dilemma on his hands.

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The Broncos’ upcoming contract dilemma with Bailey and Dumervil

Mile Klis of the Denver Post brought up an interesting point recently in regards to Elvis Dumervill and Champ Bailey’s contract situations.

Both players will become free agents at the end of the season and both could command salaries that push north of $10 million per season. If the Broncos give one player a long-term deal, will they be able to do the same with the other?

Dumervil is 26 and coming off a season in which he led the league in sacks with 17. Bailey is 32, but is still playing at a Pro Bowl level, is a fan favorite and recently told the media that he doesn’t plan on hanging ‘em up for at least another five more years.

Generally, teams pay younger players first and legit pass-rushers like Dumervil are hard to come by. But Pro Bowl caliber cornerbacks don’t fall off trees either and Bailey hasn’t shown signs of decline.

What is owner Pat Bowlen to do? If he pays both of them market value, he’ll cripple his team’s budget and the Broncos probably wouldn’t be able to be major players in free agency next year. If he only pays one of them and allows the other to walk, he’ll have an angry fan base on his hands and worse, he’ll have a huge hole to fill defensively. If he gives one player a long-term deal and franchises the other, he could sabotage his short-term budget.

Even though Dumervil has toed the company line his entire career, this is one of the reasons why the Broncos have chosen to wait to give him a long-term contract. If he plays well this season, then they’ll have a huge decision to make at the end of the year. If he doesn’t play well, they might have an excuse to let him hit the free agent market and then they can invest long-term money in Bailey.

Either way, it doesn’t appear that Bowlen and the Broncos are ready to make a decision, which is why Dumervil still doesn’t have a multi-year deal.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Broncos’ owner: ‘We had no other choice but to trade Cutler’

In an interview with Denver Post columnist Woody Paige, Denver owner Pat Bowlen discussed a variety of Broncos-related topics, including how Jay Cutler left the team no choice but to trade him.

“Honestly, I still don’t know what happened with Jay. I don’t want to throw him under the bus, but I made two phone calls (and there is proof, Broncos executives claim) and left voice mails with my cell number and asked him to call me, and he didn’t,” Bowlen said. “I don’t do e-mails. If Jay had called and said he thought the coach was (not a nice person) and he wanted out of here, I would have said, ‘Let’s work this out.’ But I heard nothing directly from him.

“Pick up the phone! That’s where we got off the rails. We had no other choice but to trade him. If (the trade talk) was the reason Jay left, he should have left.”

I feel for Bowlen because he was stuck in the middle of Cutler and new head coach Josh McDaniels during their feud. I think Cutler wanted out the moment Mike Shanahan was fired and he saw an opening when McDaniels attempted to trade for his former quarterback Matt Cassel. Cutler was trying to baby his way out by refusing to deal with the situation like a grown up and McDaniels’ ego wasn’t about to allow him to let a young quarterback bully him around in his first gig as a head coach.

So I believe Bowlen when he says Cutler never returned his phone calls and thus he had no choice but to trade the QB. What was Bowlen supposed to do? He had just hired McDaniels and I’m sure the new coach was telling him that the team could win without Cutler. In the end, he was forced to make a trade he didn’t want to make and now he just has to hope that everything works out in the end.

Jay Cutler, Josh McDaniels situation getting worse?

One source tells that the Jay Cutler/Josh McDaniels situation has gone from bad to worse after the two had a meeting yesterday to air out any hurt feelings stemming from the Broncos attempt to trade the quarterback a week ago.

The call was supposed to be a meeting of the minds between Cutler and the Broncos’ brass, in particular new head coach Josh McDaniels. The two got sideways Feb. 28 when word broke that McDaniels, the former New England offensive coordinator who replaced Mike Shanahan after 14 seasons, engaged in discussions about acquiring Matt Cassel from the Patriots in a three-way trade. Cutler had maintained the Broncos initiated the talks. McDaniels publicly said he was approached about a deal.

The conference call was anything but genial and the two sides are now further apart than prior to it, the source said. The source added that the Broncos’ tone of the conference call was as if Cutler created the situation by asking for the trade and not the other way around.

A Broncos source with knowledge of the discussions said that two sides did not grow further apart in Monday’s conference call and that issues were discussed openly and it was re-emphasized to Cutler he will not be traded.

Okay, so one source said the call was a disaster while the other one said it went fine. Great…

Not to kick a horse (pardon the pun) while it’s down, but none of this would have happened if the Broncos kept Mike Shanahan. Pat Bowlen wanted change and he got it. Now he has an inexperienced coach mucking up everything he touches, a pissed-off young quarterback and a franchise in a bit of disarray. The good thing is that it’s only March, so things could definitely straighten out by the time the season starts. But so far, McDaniels’ first couple months on the job have been a disaster.

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