Speaking of hiring division rivals, meet the biggest poachers in the NFL. The Broncos had a great defense last season, but their moribund offense and limited quarterback play doomed them to miss the playoffs.
So what did they do? Not what many thought. Rather than extend the Shanahan pedigree in Denver by chasing Kyle out of Atlanta, the Broncos hired to their strengths and snatched hot commodity Vance Joseph, the DC for the Miami Dolphins. That’s good, because they lost respected DC Wade Phillips to the Rams.
Okay, but how was that going to fix the offense — which is what needed fixing, after all.
After San Diego fired coach Mike McCoy, who is well-known as a brilliant offensive mind and play caller, the Broncos snatched him up. This made for a scary reunion between team and the OC who led them to team records in yards and points in 2012, and will be McCoy’s cumulative 5th season as OC with Denver.
The instant the Raiders let Bill Musgrave go, the Broncos snagged him as their QB coach. Suddenly, an offense with little direction and firepower under Gary Kubiak is guided by two of the best offensive minds in the division. And they brought all that division rival knowledge with them!
That wasn’t all. They also hired Marcus Robertson as their DB coach. Robertson had also just been let go by the Raiders. So that’s three high-level assistants on the Broncos staff that coached other teams in the division in 2016.
Musgrave was maligned by many for his time in Oakland, despite producing excellent numbers and results in all facets. The Broncos were basically a QB and C.J. Anderson injury away from contending last season, and Musgrave’s track record with offenses and QB’s speaks for itself.
It’s a scary proposition that a very strong defensive team just hired a very strong defensively minded coach. Then that coach went and hired two of the more respected offensive minds in the NFL. Who just happened to coach rival teams for years previous.
If Musgrave can come close to doing in Denver what he did in Oakland regarding offensive improvement and McCoy can again put the Midas touch on this Denver team, it will be a scary unit.
In Musgrave’s two years as OC in Oakland, the team went from last in the NFL in 2014 in yards per play (4.5), to 5.3 (23rd in the NFL) in 2015, to 5.7 (10th in the NFL) last season. Marked improvement, as was the Raiders points per game. 31st in the NFL at 15.8 ppg in 2014. Then they jumped to 22.4 ppg (17th in the NFL) in Musgrave’s first season in 2015. This past year jumped again to an impressive 26.0 (7th in the NFL). All under Musgrave’s watch.
The Broncos have two young potentially decent QB’s in Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. Derek Carr improved markedly under Musgrave. If Siemian and/or Lynch can do the same, with McCoy calling plays and Musgrave whispering in their ear all the Raiders and Chargers secrets, it could be a long season for others.