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Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Denver coach speaks mind

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

It’s always fun when one NFL coach calls out another for his team being nasty.

So, I understand the buzz that Denver coach Josh McDaniels has created when he suggested longtime Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher is behind the cheap play McDaniels believes the Titans participated in. Here is what McDaniels said during his Monday news conference, a day after Denver came back in the final minutes to beat the Titans, 26-20:

"I was proud of our team because we knew that was the kind of game it was going to be. "You can put any tape you want to of Tennessee and there's going to be 10 penalties. You either coach it or you allow it to happen. That's how I look at that …Our guys did a great job of keeping their poise and composure and not getting drawn into a big unsportsmanlike game because I know that's what they were trying to entice us into doing."

Juicy stuff.

There are two things that stick out the most to me about McDaniels’ comments. First, he backs up his players and second, he is not afraid of other coaches.

The Broncos’ complaints started after the game Sunday when Denver quarterback Kyle Orton verbally berated Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan for punching Denver guard Chris Kuper after he had his helmet stripped off.

"If that's the type of player Cortland Finnegan wants to be, well then he's a cheap player, not a good player," Orton said. The quarterback then ripped the Titans as a whole.

"You always hear about how tough they are and all that stuff,” Orton said. “I don't think they're tough. I think they're cheap."

Those are strong words. Clearly, McDaniels wants to show he was in lockstep with his quarterback and he felt strongly enough about it to go on the record with a similar comment.

That will surely score points for McDaniels with his players. McDaniels, a 34-year old second-year NFL coach, also showed he is not afraid to stand up against other coaches. McDaniels took on the godfather of NFL coaches. Fisher is the longest-tenured coach in the league and he is a respected member of the league’s prestigious competition committee. Most coaches just don’t take on people like Jeff Fisher.

But McDaniels did. It’s just another example of McDaniels' complete confidence in himself and his team.