The following, thanks to the Denver Broncos public relations department, are some highlights of Tuesday’s news conference that featured chief operating officer Ellis and interim head coach Eric Studesville after the firing of Josh McDaniels on Monday:
Topic: Ellis admitted McDaniels had too much power on football decisions and indicated that the team will not give the next coach as much power.
Ellis’ Quote: “Well, the first part of the question is that I think it kind of evolved and grew into that. I take some responsibility on behalf of [Broncos Owner] Pat [Bowlen], for allowing that to happen, perhaps. I think a lot of Josh’s vision and the way Pat had structured his organization in the past was something that at the end of the day, or during that time period, he wanted to see continue. In other words, having his head coach kind of oversee all of football operations. We started out with that not being the intent, but it ended up being that way to some extent. Josh had a lot of help from a lot of people, there’s no question about that. But, moving forward now, I think it’s important that -- and we have some time here to look at this and I’m not going to speak to the structure moving forward in definite terms -- but we have to evaluate that and we have to come forward for our fans and everybody. I understand that you’re going to be distributing the message and [letting the fans] know what the plan is. It’s very likely that the plan will not empower the next head coach with the kind of authority that Josh probably unfairly had put upon him. It’s also fair to say to say that we’ll stick to that plan.”
My take: This is the way to go. The Broncos need to hire a general manager and let him hire the coach. Don’t expect a big-name coach to come to Denver. A classic general manager-coach relationship is what this franchise needs.
Topic: On whether the recent videotape scandal played a role in McDaniels’ firing.
Ellis’ quote: “Well, I’m not going to speak to the particulars of his contract or the severance settlement agreement that we do with [an] employee when they leave the organization. That’s not fair -- that’s always a private matter between the employee and the organization and it will stay that way. You may hear some other things from outside people, but you’re not going to hear it from anybody inside this building. So, I’m not going to readdress that or speak to that at this time. I don’t think that’s fair to anybody.”
My take: I’d be very surprised if the Broncos don’t try to recoup at least some of the two years worth of salary remaining on McDaniels’ contract.
Topic: Whether John Elway will have a role with the club moving forward.
Ellis’ quote: “John is working with us as a consultant right now on the business side. One of the things that Pat asked him to do was come back in the building and get involved with the team. He’s been at practices and in the course of meetings we have on the business side, he’s shared thoughts about the team, he’s expressed an interest to some of you in the room. I don’t take that lightly and Pat doesn’t take that lightly, that’s for sure. The conversations we’ve had with John clearly indicate one thing, and that is he loves the Broncos and he loves Denver and he wants to help if he can. Pat has a great deal of respect for that and so do I. I don’t know where that’s going to go, if anywhere, I really don’t. But, I respect the fact that he’s interested in helping the Broncos. He has a lot of qualities that perhaps could lend themselves to helping the Broncos. But, I don’t know if that’s going to advance at this point or not -- I don’t.”
My take: I think Elway will have a role with the team, but I don’t think it will be as a GM, which would be best for the team.
Topic: On the fact that Denver will likely have to pay three coaches -- Mike Shanahan, McDaniels and the next head coach -- in 2011.
Ellis’ quote: “Well, my answer to that is that I think it’s our problem and the fans don’t want to be burdened with that problem. It’s our problem to solve that. If we have to pay eight coaches, that’s too bad for us -- we better do something about getting it right. So, that’s what we’re going to set out to do.”
My take: This is one of the reasons why Denver likely won’t pursue a big-name replacement, but if a general manager is brought in, that will cost some money too.
Topic: Studesville indicated that Kyle Orton will be the quarterback this week and he wouldn’t commit to playing Tim Tebow for the rest of the season.
Studesville’s quote: “We’re going to evaluate everything with all of our players -- not just Tim. Tim is an integral part of our team and has been a productive part this season for us. If there is a place for any player on the team where we feel like he gives the best chance to be successful this weekend in Arizona, then we are going to utilize that, whatever that is. We are just going to evaluate every player and every situation as we go forward.””
My take: No one was a bigger supporter of Tebow than McDaniels. Studesville is now coaching for his future in the next four weeks and I don’t see him wanting to start Tebow. The only way Tebow will start this season is if ownership forces the issue. But that could alienate Orton, who is under contract for another season.