McDaniels likes look of his new quarterback
April 26, 2009
ENGLEWOOD ” Josh McDaniels had a certain look in mind when mining the draft for a quarterback.
Being around Tom Brady and Matt Cassel will do that.
That’s what led the Denver Broncos coach to select Fresno State’s Tom Brandstater with a sixth-round pick Sunday. He had the height and arm strength similar to that of Brady and Cassel, two quarterbacks McDaniels worked closely with in his days as offensive coordinator at New England.
However, McDaniels quickly silenced the parallels.
“The body type might be similar, but every quarterback is different and I wouldn’t compare any quarterback to Tom or Matt at this point,” McDaniels said. “I mean, we’re talking about a guy who’s never even practiced at this level, so I’m not going to put anybody in that category.”
Be wary, Kyle Orton and Chris Simms. You’ve suddenly got competition.
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The Broncos traded up to take Brandstater ” and he’s not coming in with the intention of carrying a clipboard.
“I will work for the starting job. That’s my goal,” Brandstater said. “Then again, I’ll accept my role once it’s delivered. I’m going to go in there and work like I’m the starter and see what happens.”
McDaniels said he’s never been around a quarterback that started right away in the pros, but that moxie is another thing he likes about Brandstater.
Brandstater, who is 6-foot-5 and weighs 220 pounds, actually had a conversation with Cassel before the draft, just to get an idea of what to expect on the pro level. Cassel, who shares an agent with Brandstater, even gave the rookie the lowdown on McDaniels.
Funny how he should wind up in Denver.
“I’m just ecstatic to get his coach who helped him so much,” he said. “(Cassel) spoke really highly of coach McDaniels. I’m blessed and fortunate to be in this situation.”
Brandstater wasn’t bothered by his fall in the draft, putting his recently earned masters degree in sports psychology to good use to explain the situation.
“It’s all about the where, and I ended up in a good place,” Brandstater said. “I don’t care where I fell as long as I’m in a good place. I feel very strongly that I’m in a good place.”
McDaniels’ fondness for Cassel was no secret.
That’s what led to the rift with Jay Cutler when the temperamental quarterback decided he didn’t want to play for McDaniels after the new coach entertained discussions to trade Cutler.
Cassel ended up in Kansas City and Cutler in Chicago.
Now, McDaniels has a quarterback that possesses a similar look to Cassel.
Not that he’s rushing Brandstater along.
“Anytime you’re dealing with a rookie player, there’s no guarantee he’s going to compete immediately to play,” McDaniels said. “He’s going to come in and be competitive with his work ethic and in meetings and at practices and all those things. We’ll see how far he can go.”
HIGH PRAISE: A gifted high school quarterback, Kenny McKinley was converted into a receiver at South Carolina.
He may get to show off his arm again ” or so he’s hoping. McKinley wouldn’t mind seeing an offensive package designed around his arm.
After all, the “Wildcat” worked well for the Miami Dolphins last season.
“When they found out I played quarterback, that was a big plus for them,” McKinley said. “They might have a package they might want to put me in.”
For now, the Broncos will settle for his skills at receiver, trading up to take him in the fifth round. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier thought enough of McKinley to call him the best receiver he’s ever taught.
Those words were appreciated.
“That was just a big statement from him,” said McKinley, who finished his career with 207 receptions and 19 touchdowns. “When I heard that he said that, it really got to me. Coach Spurrier really got me to where I am today, coming from playing quarterback in high school and now a pretty good receiver.”
EMOTIONAL MOMENT: The gravity of the situation finally caught up to Richard Quinn upon landing in Denver.
The North Carolina tight end sat in his seat on the plane, covered his face and broke down.
“The lady sitting next to me felt a little awkward,” he said, smiling.
Quinn never figured to be a second-round pick. Truth be known, he was bracing for finding a team through free agency.
But Denver thought enough of him to send two third-round picks to Pittsburgh to move up and grab him.
He still can’t believe it.
“This is overwhelming,” he said.
Quinn patterns his game after Tennessee Titans tight end Alge Crumpler, who’s known more for his formidable blocking than his pass catching. Crumpler also serves as a mentor to Quinn, the two talking and texting on a frequent basis.
“He’s definitely a great guy. I appreciate all his help,” Quinn said.
CENTER STAGE: Seth Olsen played mostly guard and tackle in his career at Iowa, but he’s willing to give center a try if necessary.
“They said to play in the NFL you have to have versatility,” said Olsen, who was acquired in the fourth round. “You need to be able to play multiple positions.”
CROWDED BACKFIELD: Knowshon Moreno doesn’t anticipate anything to be handed to him ” especially a starting job.
“I’m not expecting that. I’m expecting to come in here, work hard, learn the playbook and see what happens after that,” said Moreno, who was taken with the 12th pick.
Moreno will be vying for carries with newly signed free agents Correll Buckhalter, J.J. Arrington and LaMont Jordan, along with holdovers Selvin Young, Peyton Hillis and Ryan Torain.
The throng of tailbacks doesn’t intimidate Moreno.
“We have some great backs here. I want to get in here and learn from them and compete and see what happens after that,” Moreno said. “I want to come in and find my way on the team.”
EXTRA POINTS: McDaniels just recently sold his house in Massachusetts and closed on a new residence in Denver. “We’re done with that process,” said McDaniels, who will move into his new home in July. “We’re happy to have it done.” … The Broncos drafted Notre Dame free safety David Bruton in the fourth round as much for his special teams ability as anything. He’s known for his exceptional kickoff coverage. “He’s one of the finest special teams players in the draft ” period,” McDaniels said.
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