Broncos GM Enters Survival Mode

Less than two weeks after the dismissal of head coach Josh McDaniels, Denver Broncos general manager Brian Xanders has entered survival mode.

"The dynamics were he (McDaniels) had final say on player personnel issues," Xanders said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I was respectful of that, and I was going to work under those parameters. We did our best to build our draft board and free-agency ranking lists and match the player personnel fits with scheme requirements we have.

"We have a 17-person personnel staff that had been going through all those processes. But he had final say," said Xanders. "I'll just say I was respectful of the organizational setup."

McDaniels wasn't dismissed solely because of his 11-17 record, clashes with his coaching staff, and the SpyGate II issue that cost him and the club $50,000 apiece and another public relations hit.

Under McDaniels' direction, the club made several questionable personnel decisions, beginning with alienating, and then trading Pro Bowl quarterback Jay Cutler to the Chicago Bears for Kyle Orton and a pair of first-round picks. That same month, McDaniels traded the team's 2010 first-round pick (which would turn out to be the 14th overall pick) to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2009 second-round pick that was used on Wake Forset cornerback Alphonso Smith.

After one season, McDaniels traded Smith to the Detroit Lions for tight end Chris Gonkowski, a 2009 seventh-round pick now on IR.

The first-year head coach also benched Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall and talented tight end Tony Scheffler in a must-win regular season finale, then traded them in the off-season. Denver also traded running back Peyton Hillis to the Cleveland Browns for current third-string quarterback Brady Quinn.

During the 2010 NFL Draft, McDaniels traded three draft picks--in the second, third, and fourth rounds--to move back into the first-round to select University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who was used sparingly during the 13 weeks McDaniels coached him.

Despite inheriting quality talent on offense and a porous defense, McDaniels dismantled the offense and stocked the defense with veterans over 30 who, unsurprisingly, have not held up as the seasons have worn on.

Xanders, 39, added that he would like to remain with the Broncos for the long-term, even if it's not as a general manager.

"Right now, everything's uncertain until the end of the year," Xanders said. "The organization's going through a lot of change, and I hope I can be here. I love being with the Broncos, and we'll see how it ends up."

Xanders' fate depends largely on who owner Pat Bowlen hires to run the organization. But whether that's John Elway in an executive role, or a high-profile head coach who'll retain executive power, Xanders has more than enough plausible deniability to remain with the organization in some capacity.

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