Denver's McDaniels breaks down his new job

February, 20, 2009
2/20/09
8:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

New Denver coach Josh McDaniels met with the media Friday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Here are some highlights of his session:

McDaniels likes some parts of his roster but he thinks it needs to improve in all three phases.

Josh McDaniels: I think there's a lot of good pieces in place. We've got some productive players that are coming back on both sides of the ball. I think our focus now on the roster as it currently stands is that we're going to try to improve every phase of our team. There's a big focus on the defense, but to me, every player that we bring in is going to help us in some capacity. Our offense needs to improve. Our defense needs to improve. Our special teams needs to improve, and we need to improve, and we need to improve significantly in all three areas. We didn't make the playoffs, and there is always a reason for that. It's not all the players' fault, but we're going to try to mold the roster and make it the most competitive we can at every spot. It's not just one side of the ball or the other.

McDaniels said the team will be active in free agency.

JM: As aggressive as we need to be. We're interested in a lot of things and we have areas that we can improve on. We have, obviously, like every team, needs and holes to fill, you know, if there's a player out there that will feel that, then we're going to be aggressive and pursue him.

McDaniels said he and new general manager Brian Xanders will have no problem working together.

JM: We're going to get it right, and we're going to work together. That's part of the process. At the end, you have to decide on somebody, and maybe that means who yells loudest, but that's what we're going to do, and the final decision will come down, and we'll make sure we're on the same page.

McDaniels said he was consulted before the firing of executives Jim and Jeff Goodman last week.

JM: I was definitely part of the conversation. I think that's the only way to do it. If you're going to make a decision like that, you want to make sure everyone in the organization, in particular the head coach, is on board with what we're doing. We're going to move forward and we're going to get right.

McDaniels explained the teams' plans for moving to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

JM: I don't think there's a timeline on it. It could be quicker. It could be a little longer into the future. We gave up 450 points last year doing it one way, and I think the goal is to get something in place that's going to be consistent, and we can adapt to it, and we can adapt to it based on the players we have in the system. We're not going to tie our hands and do one thing or the other. Whatever we have and whatever we feel best about when we get to September, that's what we'll play on defense. And it's going to be the same way on offense, the same way in the kicking game, because to me, that's the way you win. You don't win by saying this is what we do, and no changing. Because if you don't change in this league, somebody will figure out a way to beat you doing what you think is best if you're never going to move. We're going to make moves and try to get people in we feel can handle our system the best, and then we're going to adapt as we go and try to be as competitive as we can once September hits.

McDaniels also expressed excitement about his relationship with his new quarterback, Jay Cutler.

JM: I wasn't worried about it. I met with him several times. I'm confident in what I can do and what our staff can do and how good we can be, and Jay's going to be a big part of that. My focus is on telling him how he's going to be better. We all can improve, and certainly that's our goal. That's what my communication with him has been, to get him up to speed and you know to talk to him about how I feel next year and going forward it's going to different than the years he's played here in Denver already. I think we have a good relationship now. I think it's on the right track, and I'm looking forward to working with him this year.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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