The Denver Broncos parted ways with General Manager, Brian Xanders on Monday. On the surface, this looks like a big deal and everyone from the media to the fans are going to tell you it is. In reality, though, there’s not much to this other than Xander’s desire to have the final say on personnel matters. That wasn’t going to happen in Denver, John Elway is running the show and everyone knows it especially Xanders. There are reports that the recently completed draft was all Elway with input from both head coach John Fox and the new Director of Player Personnel, Matt Russell. Xanders, again from reports, had a very limited role especially on draft day.
Xanders is well-respected around the NFL and will eventually get his shot to be “the guy” but if it wasn’t obvious before Monday that Elway is in charge, it is crystal clear now.
Elway spent the first year + in his new role learning the ropes and relying on those around him, but he is now putting the organization together the way he feels is best. Elway brought in his own salary cap guru, Mike Sullivan, earlier this year and also fired long time strength and conditioning coach, Rich Tuten after the 2011 season.
No real reasons were ever given but one can assume that Sullivan was brought in because Elway was not happy with the salary cap mess that he walked into when he was hired. The change from Tuten to Luke Richesson was most likely made because Elway was sick of watching the Broncos get off to fast starts, and fading in November and December. The fast starts and late-season fades happened under Mike Shanahan, Josh McDaniels and last season under Fox. It’s fair to assume that Elway looked at that and saw the common denominator as the strength and conditioning program under Tuten, and made the change to Richesson.
Elway as a player wanted the ball in his hands with the game on the line and he wants the ball in his hands now as the Vice-President of Football Operations. He will succeed or fail but this much is true, he will do it his way.
There’s a new sheriff at Dove Valley and his name is, John Elway!