I have been quite impressed with the recent hire of Coach Fisher. I am also impressed with the staff that our new coach is quickly assembling. He has a lot of work to do. His job might have been a little easier if Spags chose another OC. I feel Spags choice of McDaniels has set our beloved franchise back several years. I feel that McDaniels negatively impacted the following areas:
In hindsight, I think it is overly ambitious to expect Sam to learn a new (an unfamiliar) offense with a strike shortened off-season. The learning curve would be nearly impossible even if Sam had a dedicated QB coach. The new system put Sam way behind and affected his confidence throughout the season. As you all know, Sam took a step back this year from a developmental perspective. I still think he will be a great QB with the proper coaching, weapons and protection. Schotty will need to restore Sam's confidence.
We all know that our 2011 draft was heavily influenced by Mr. McDaniels. I think Quinn is absolutely a keeper. I also think Kendricks has a future with our team. I highly doubt Salas and Petis are anything more than 3rd or 4th WRs. The 2011 draft was not very good. While Devaney and Spags deserve some blame, I firmly believe the Kendricks, Pettis, and Salas picks were highly influenced by McDaniels. Leadership just did not do a good job of filling needs with quality picks. Our draft could have easily played out like this -
Rd1 - Quinn - DE - I continue to like this pick. Fisher and Williams will like it as well.
Rd2 - T. Smith - WR - I think we all know what Smith is capable of. He destroyed our team. He would have added a much needed speed component to our team.
Rd4 - C. Hairston - OL - He started a couple of games for Buffalo. He would have provided much need depth and a nasty streak to our line.
Rd5 - C. Carter - OLB - Solid upside at another area of need
Rd7.1 - Hurt - OG - Started some games for Washington
Rd7.2 - Ziemba - OT - A Carolina pick. Rated highly for a 7th round pick.
Rd7.3 - E. Hagg - S - A Cleveland pick. Decent ratings for a 7th round pick.
Once could argue that we might need to address the CB position (and maybe DT). However, before the draft, we had much better depth at CB than we did at OLB and OL. Regardless, the 2011 draft did nothing to resolve OL, OLB or CB needs. It also did very little to resolve our WR issues. I think the aforementioned draft would have filled our needs much better. I would like to think that McDaniels influence on rounds 2-4 killed our 2011 draft.
I feel there are probably additional areas. But, I feel that the aforementioned areas have set us back at least a couple of years. In hindsight, Spags should have went with a low key coordinator that ran a west coast offense (instead of McDaniels).