When Head Coach Josh McDaniels and Daniel Graham are on the same NFL roster, the results have been fruitful.
Eleven playoff games. Nine victories.
Two Super Bowl appearances. Two Super Bowl trophies.
After a two-season hiatus, McDaniels and Graham have joined colors once again, hoping to bring the same rewards they experienced in New England to Denver.
For Graham, the arrival of McDaniels injected a boost of life into his offseason.
“It’s good just reuniting, getting back in this offense,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun since he’s back here.”
That fun revolves around the presence of an offense that makes great use of Graham’s position.
In his one season with McDaniels as his offensive coordinator (2006), Graham hauled in 21 catches for 235 yards, with two touchdowns in 11 starts. In McDaniels’ final season as New England offensive coordinator (2008), the team rushed for 2,278 yards, marking the highest NFL single-season total since 1985.
In turn, the eight-year veteran knows being a tight end in this system requires great knowledge in both the running game and passing game. But with previous experience under his belt, Graham is transitioning with relative ease.
“I’m just refreshing my memory,” Graham said. “When you’re in that offense for five years, you really can’t forget much.”
McDaniels has no reason to forget the corps of tight ends he’s inherited here with the Broncos.
Coming off a season where he started all 16 games for the first time in his career, Graham also knows he’s in good company with his fellow tight ends. Last season, he and Tony Scheffler grabbed a combined 72 catches for 1,034 yards.
Coupled with the return of veteran Jeb Putzier and addition of rookie Richard Quinn, Graham expects the position to make a substantial impact on the offense this season.
“We’ve got some good depth on this team,” he said. “Everybody has a certain strength that we all bring to the table. As a group, we’re pretty good.”
-Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com