McDaniels holds onto Patriots' roots

August, 25, 2009
8/25/09
6:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

In Russ Hochstein, the Denver Broncos received a solid backup offensive lineman for late a 2010 draft pick.

However, there is a bigger issue here than Denver simply receiving a backup offensive lineman. In Hochstein, the Broncos went back to coach Josh McDaniels' comfort zone once again. Hochstein was acquired from the New England Patriots.

McDaniels came to Denver from New England where he was the offensive coordinator. New England is the only previous NFL team McDaniels was with. He keeps going back to the well.

It is clear that McDaniels thinks about New England when it comes to solving every need he has. Last week, McDaniels traded a future draft choice for defensive lineman Le Kevin Smith, who played extensively in Denver's preseason game at Seattle.

McDaniels has brought in several free agents who played in New England. McDaniels raised eyebrows when he cut long-snapper Mike Leach and signed New England's Lonie Paxton on the first day of free agency. Paxton became one of the highest-paid long-snappers in league history. Leach was perfect in seven years with the Broncos and was very popular in the locker room.

On Monday, defensive back Antwain Spann was claimed off waivers from Buffalo. He spent the past three years in New England. McDaniels clearly trusts his former players.

Is this a good thing? Well, New England has had wild success, so taking players from the Patriots may not be the worst strategy McDaniels can have.

But if it fails -- remember the Jay Cutler saga started when McDaniels pursued Matt Cassel from New England -- McDaniels will be held accountable. Thus, McDaniels seems willing to sink or swim in Denver with a heavy influence from his former team.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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