Teaching Tebow how to be NFL QB is family business for Broncos
Josh McDaniels is trusting his brother Ben to tutor the Broncos quarterbacks
Stat of the Day examines how Tony Gonzalez keeps getting better with age
Much more, including Father's Day book suggestions and 10 Things I Think
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- It's fall here at the bottom of Africa, which gives the region a bit more of a football feel. And futbol too, of course. But before I get to the business of covering the World Cup later this week -- hopefully I'll find some good coffee by then -- I have a few NFL thoughts, plus a couple of book ideas for your Father's Day gift-giving.
The Tebow tutor. Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels has the future of Tim Tebow in his hands, as you all know, after choosing him late in the first round of the 2010 draft. And McDaniels has an interesting assistant: his younger brother Ben, who turned 30 on Sunday, is the quarterbacks coach this season.
I was in Denver recently to write a Broncos story for SI, and saw the brothers in action tutoring their quarterback group -- which lost one of its members Friday with the waiving of last year's rookie prospect Tom Brandstater. (Josh McDaniels wanted all the minicamp reps to go to Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tebow, and the Broncos thought they might have seen Brandstater's ceiling already.)
Last year, Mike McCoy doubled as offensive coordinator and quarterback coach; this year, McCoy is offensive coordinator solely. I think the reason McDaniels chose his brother to oversee the quarterbacks is simple: They learned exactly the same way of coaching the techniques and body motion of quarterbacks from their dad, noted northeast Ohio high school coach Thom McDaniels. Say what you want about having an inexperienced guy coaching the presumptive franchise quarterback day to day, but if the head coach wants his methods to be translated exactly the way he wants, isn't he going to be more comfortable with a coach who knows those methods better than anyone else in the world except him?
Ben McDaniels, like his brother a high school starting quarterback and a college backup, hadn't coached above college grad-assistant level before being hired as an offensive assistant by the Broncos last year. He coaches quietly, but the players seem to respect him. "Coach Ben's a great coach,'' said Tebow. "Very passionate. You can tell he loves coaching and he knows precisely what he wants to get across. I believe in him.''
Josh McDaniels bristled when I asked about nepotism. "Last year, I asked Ben to come in for an interview for the offensive assistant job,'' he said. "Five guys interviewed, and I told him he'd have an equal chance to get the job. He came in and clearly was the best candidate for the job. Period. Going back to high school, people would talk about nepotism [about the brothers starting at quarterback under their father]. Well, we lost nine games in six years with us quarterbacking. Nepotism is for other people to talk about, but we learned a long time ago that's no part of our vocabulary. If you can do the job, you can do the job. Ben is damn good at what he does.''
I have a feeling Tebow will get a real chance to win the job this year, and whether he wins or loses, he will have some red-zone and short-yardage chances. Early and often.
"Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.''
-- John Wooden, in 1969, one of the words-to-live-by proverbs that made the former UCLA coach as much of a life coach in retirement as he was a basketball coach. Wooden died Friday at 99 in Los Angeles.
I've seen NFL coaches using Wooden over the years -- John Harbaugh lives by his words -- because they're universal, in sports and in the real world. I never met him, which is one of the great voids of my sportswriting career.
"It too shall pass.''
-- Advice given by veteran NFL general manager Bill Polian to Seattle's rookie general manager John Schneider, when Schneider asked if he had any tips for a first-time GM.