The days of dotted lines are over. As are the days of gray areas and blurred lines of responsibility. All roads lead one direction, now, in Denver - right to Owner Pat Bowlen's door. After 14 years watching someone else make most, if not all, of the football decisions for his franchise, Bowlen doesn't want it any other way.
The dismissal of Jim and Jeff Goodmen yesterday has removed little doubt on who will be calling the shots, and I mean ALL the shots. In a move that seems to be about 1 part streamlining, 1 part office-unity and 1 part financial, Bowlen has sent a clear message to everyone involved -- staff, players and fans -- I'm the man when it comes to all things orange and blue.
In one statement, Bowlen talks of wanting a streamlined approach to his front office -
"Really, what I was interested in doing was resetting the way we do business around here. Brian Xanders was what I considered a true general manager."
Then, in another statement, Bowlen all but acknowledges the petty in-fighting that seemed be created by the huge power void left by the dismissal of Mike Shanahan -
"The decision to make Brian Xanders the general manager, reporting back to me, was an important decision. It was not going to be a workable situation between Jeff (Goodman) and Brian. And I think they would say the same thing.
We've really changed the complexion of this organization, I think it's going to help big-time."
That does lead to a question, however. Does Pat Bowlen become a louder voice in terns of tough personnel decisions on the field?
I like the idea of having of having a general manager report directly to me and he has a good relationship with the new head coach as well. I don't know that I'll suddenly become a great personnel guy, watching film all the time. But I'll listen to Brian, I'll listen to anyone in the back of the building (the personnel and scouting departments) and I'll listen to the head coach.
Let me put it this way, we'll make an informed decision that we all agree on.
Of course, in these tough financial times, I'd be remiss if the thought that money - nearly $7 million that Bowlen will pay Shanahan this year - wasn't a factor in some way, shape or form.
Personally, while this does leave the franchise in a bit of chaos, I thoroughly agree with one thing. If Pat Bowlen wants to recreate the franchise, set the Broncos on a completely new direction, than CLEAN HOUSE. Xanders has been with the Broncos since May of last year, only 9 months, so he qualifies, along with the new head coach and a entirely new coaching staff(for the most part).
Mike Shanahan became extremely good at deflecting blame when things went wrong for the Broncos. Pat Bowlen has created a direct line of accountability that heads directly for his door. In a way, it's refreshing, but it certainly is unsettling as well.