It’s getting close to that time of year again. Everyone is excited for the plans they have for the summer. Time to break out the Sharpe markers and think of something clever to write in the yearbook.
“Brian, I can’t believe it’s been four years already. Time really flies, man!” Brian Xanders is like the schoolmate you had a few classes with but never really knew. From the moment he arrived, he has been under someone else’s shadow.
Back in Xanders’ Freshman year he worked as an assistant GM under the shadow of Mike Shanahan. Ryan Clady, Eddie Royal, and Peyton Hillis were all part of the Bronco’s draft class that year. While Royal and Hillis certainly had some great moments, only Clady remains on the team.
After Shanahan’s firing, Xanders was promoted to GM to begin the ill-fated Josh McDaniels era. Those two years featured draft classes that could generously be described as a mixed bag. Only Knowshon Moreno and Robert Ayers remain from 2009. The next year yielded much more promising results with Tim Tebow, Demaryius Thomas, Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton, and Eric Decker. Xanders again lacked the final authority in personnel matters.
Xanders survived the great shakeup of 2011 when John Elway was brought on board to become the face of the franchise. The triumvirate of Elway, Xanders, and new coach John Fox seemed to be a promotion in authority for Xanders. Early indications are that it was a good draft. Von Miller won Defensive Rookie of the Year. Orlando Franklin was an immediate starter at right tackle. Quinton Carter showed promise at safety. It remained difficult for fans to determine exactly how much Xanders had to do with these decisions.
“Brian deserves a tremendous amount of credit and recognition for the contributions he made to the Broncos during his four years with the organization," Elway said in a statement Monday. "His hard work and dedication played a major role in the recent success of our team, most notably last season’s division title and playoff win.
The part that Broncos fans will never really know is how much of a role Xanders played. The stated reason for the parting of the ways was that Xanders desired a situation in which he could have final authority in personnel matters. It makes sense. He seems to have demonstrated reasonable skill in talent evaluation. He seemed to work well with Elway and Fox. He just lacked an opportunity to be “the guy.”
Elway believes that “a change to the structure of our football operations will be mutually beneficial, allowing the department to improve its efficiency while affording Brian the opportunity to continue his promising career with another NFL team."
Will Xanders have success at his next stop? Time will tell. Until then well…”Have a great summer. And call me. We should totally hang out sometime.”
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