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A look at Dolphins GM candidate Brian Xanders

People I've been talking to about Dolphins GM candidate Brian Xanders generally have positive things to say about him: He's experienced. He knows the ins and outs of the NFL rules for player acquisition, salary cap, and other personnel matters to the point he served as John Elway's tutor on the topic -- obviously they didn't cover faxing. And he apparently dabbles in the idea of using a sort of sabermetrics to speed information gathering on players, something Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is certain to appreciate because he enjoys being confused by such things.

[Update: Three NFL people and two others who apparently read this post either texted me or emailed me to say Xanders is not all that. The pushback was so overwhelming that I decided to add this update. Anyway, I was told other scouts don't think very highly of Xanders' ability to pick players. And as for his experience, they say he has none actually picking players. So there is that. I was also told Xanders fits Ross in that he's calm and very willing to play nice with others. A more balanced outlook.]

Xanders completed his interview with the Dolphins on Wednesday. He was the sixth candidate to interview. But immediately he stands out because he is the first candidate for Dolphins GM who has been an NFL GM before.

Xanders was the Denver Broncos GM from 2009-2012. He was the team's assistant GM in 2008.

It's unclear how much personnel say Xanders truly had in Denver. He didn't have final say under coach Josh McDaniels. And he certainly didn't have it after McDaniels was fired and the Broncos hired John Elway. But he was obviously a resource.

After Xanders was fired from the Broncos after the 2012, the Denver Post recapped his time with the team and what personnel decisions were made under his watch. Here it is:

2009

Draft: Xanders’ first in Denver, was one to forget. The Broncos used their two first-round picks to select running back Knowshon Moreno and defensive end Robert Ayers, neither of whom have lived up to first-round billing. But it was the second round of that draft that was particularly poor. None of three players drafted in that round, cornerback Alphonso Smith, safety Darcel McBath or tight end Richard Quinn, was on the roster in 2012.

ree agency: The first free-agent class of the McDaniels-Xanders era was a big one, and included veterans such as safety Brian Dawkins, wide receiver Jabar Gaffney, cornerback Andre Goodman, running back Correll Buckhalter and longsnapper Lonie Paxton.

Trades: Xanders helped orchestrate the blockbuster trade that sent quarterback Jay Cutler to Chicago. The Broncos received two first-round picks, a third-round pick and quarterback Kyle Orton in exchange for a fifth-rounder and Cutler, who began feuding with McDaniels shortly after the new coach was hired.

2010

Draft: The Broncos made a splash in the first round of the draft by making two trades down and two trades up and ultimately winding up with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas at No. 22 and quarterback Tim Tebow at No. 25. The Broncos also drafted starters Zane Beadles, J.D. Walton and Eric Decker in the second day of the draft.

Free agency: The Broncos’ big free agent signings were defensive tackles Justin Bannan and Jarvis Green, who both received big-money contracts. Green, who had $3.25 million guaranteed in his contract, did not make the 53-man roster. Bannan was released in a cost-saving move in 2011 before re-joining the team this year. Later, the Broncos signed defensive end Elvis Dumervil and guard Chris Kuper to contract extensions.

Trade: The Broncos traded troubled wide receiver Brandon Marshall to Miami for two second-round draft picks. The other notable trade of the offseason came when Denver shipped fan-favorite running back Peyton Hillis to Cleveland in exchange for quarterback Brady Quinn. Quinn never took a regular-season snap for the Broncos.

2011

Draft: With the highest pick in team history, Denver drafted linebacker Von Miller at No.2, and he was an immediate star. The Broncos drafted three other players who started in 2011 — safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, and right tackle Orlando Franklin.

Free agency: The biggest names in the Broncos’ post-lockout free agent class were running back Willis McGahee, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 2011 and made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, and defensive tackle, who suffered a season-ending injury in training camp.

Trades: The Broncos traded for defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley in August, and he went on to start 13 games. The team was unable to re-sign Bunkley this spring. Denver also traded wide receiver Jabar Gaffney to Washington for defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, who did not make the team. In October, the Broncos traded unhappy wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to St. Louis for a fifth-round draft pick.

2012

Draft: Denver traded out of the first round of the draft before selecting defensive tackle Derek Wolfe at No. 36 and quarterback Brock Osweiler at No. 57 in the second round. Denver drafted seven total players.

Free agency: Other than the Peyton Manning signing, Denver otherwise has been relatively quiet in free agency. The team signed veteran free agent Mike Adams and re-signed linebackers Joe Mays and Wesley Woodyard.

Trades: After Manning signed on as the team’s new starting quarterback, the Broncos traded Tim Tebow to the New York Jets in exchange for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks.

So clearly there were bombs. But there were highlights. The 2010-2011 drafts produced the most starts (155) and playing time (more than 12,000 snaps) of any NFL team.

Xanders is said to have unearthed cornerback Chris Harris, who was an undrafted free agent.

Xanders is currently Detroit's senior personnel executive under Martin Mayhew. Xanders was hired by the Lions in January 2013 and one of his responsibilities was to develop an internal scouting database to help the team better process information during the draft. 

So what does Xanders look for when he scouts?

"We're looking for guys with football instincts, which is wide vision, anticipation, savvy angles, quick recognition of what's going on," Xanders told Fox Sports Florida in 2012. "What instincts and speed lead to is production. If you have that and some athleticism and strength, you tie it all together and all you have to have is some competitive toughness. You get a productive player.

"And off the field, we grade a player in four different areas. Injury and durability, and that's just a function of how they made it through college. Number two is mental and learning. The third thing is personal character, the dependability, the leadership, the off-field issues or no issues, and then their family. The fourth is football character, which is effort, work ethic, passion for football. It all blends into this scouting process."

Comments

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im all set on xanders. this guy has picked and traded for a bunch of losers. ill take farmer any day over this guy. the point is to pick great players, which farmer does. xanders picks players that play, but who cares is they such. thats what i got out of this article.

jordan, the people on this site who talk about that obviously don't know the NFL. It amazes me how ignorant half of these posters(or one guy) are when it comes to the NFL. They/he spends every day in a football blog and learns nothing.

Most teams in the NFL, the percentage is up near 90, use this structure. Everyone reports to the owner. And why? BECAUSE HE SIGNS THE CHECKS! Hahaha

But where the posters go wrong is in assuming that means when the gm wants to make a trade or draft someone they need to ask Ross first. This is not true. They only tell Ross what they are doing so he is aware. Very rarely if ever does an owner step in and say "don't sign that guy or make that trade" unless he's Jerry Jones.

These "fans" should know this. They either do know it and are just trying to get attention or they are clueless and shouldn't be talking football. Welcome to Dolphins in Depth.

I dunno, his resume of picks and acquisitions sounds weaker than our former GM. Just reviewing the list makes me feel very uneasy.

Posted by: JJ | January 16, 2014 at 10:09 AM

That's not what I'm indicating genius. Your a typical blogger who wants to post, not read or understand. You are the best of the best of dumb bloggers....

"Gamble, who was one of the favorites, changed his mind and decided not to interview with the Dolphins.

"Salguero reports Gamble didn’t like the structure that Miami’s general manager and head coach would be equals."

Are you quoting yourself MCC? I don't get the post, please explain? Anyone understand this one?

mark
tditzs rental was a
Nissan * rogue *
she reads this blog and was looking
4 me and the other
sect members.
lol
and y hasn't
tcheap bought her a car?
.lol

Xanders' record of drafting and free agency sounds way too much like Irelands.

The draft is always iffy but seem to do better than others.

I would go with Farmer over Xanders. There are other canidates as well.

The Dolphins need to hit the 2014 and 2015 draft out of the park to make up for many misses in the past (possibly the entire 2013 draft and nearly all of the 2012 draft if Tannehill does not progress).

Phins78....naa, they're Texans'. I live in Texas but aren't a real Texan. I have my share of guns but I don't hunt. Just go from the house to the range and back again. If they're not members of the NRA it would be surprising. That's the organization that claims that the UN (the UN?)because of Obama is plotting to take their guns away from them. I have no clue as to the IQ or personality of Mrs. Tannehill but leaving an AR-15 in a place where someone with bad intentions has access to it is almost the height of irresponsibility. A person can lose their wallet, car keys, the odd golf club or whatever, but an AR-15? Sounds like a young irresponsible person who wears their a** is a hat! I'm very fearful of guns for I do know just what exactly they can do! In the wrong hands there a life changer and Mrs. Tannehill's hands are in doubt!

Most teams in the NFL, the percentage is up near 90, use this structure. Everyone reports to the owner. And why? BECAUSE HE SIGNS THE CHECKS! Hahaha

Posted by: Phins78 | January 16, 2014 at 11:20 AM

For someone who thinks he is so much smarter than everyone else, you are pretty f-in dumb!

Yes, many people report directly to the owner. In that regard you are correct.

However, most NFL owners know 100 times more than Ross does about football. Why do you think Sporano, Ireland, now Philbin are surviving longer than their expected shelf life with no results?

Because Ross is football stupid. That's precisely why the best candidates want nothing to do with the phins.

Perhaps if you stopped lecturing the blog about how dumb they are you could find time to educate yourself.

hey 78
class started at 11:30 AM
.
lol

Everyone here continues to ignore the reporting of SoFla's highly-rated Sports Talk Host on 640a.m.,who is reporting that his NFL sources call Xanders a joke and a poor choice.

That would be the Big O of course. Usually spot on in his evaluations & sourcing.

big o is not a homer

calm down TRUTH. Both u and Phins78 are correct for that matter but we as die hard fin fans cannot just judge and say this is how it should be done because we are on the other side of the doors. We have no clue as to what was said in that meeting room. All we have are assumptions and what "we" think of what is going on but don't know squat what "really" what was said. Anyway, i'm pretty stoked on our new hire and what the possibility's are for our offense. I can already see wallace running in motion, thill scrambling after an run option, or a misdirection! The plays for some excitement are all there for them it's just a matter of someone to implement them in the playbook and i'm confident and trusting that Lazor is our guy to do that!!! Finzup for life.......

THIS IS ONE DYSFUNCTIONAL FRANCHISE!!

"And he apparently dabbles in the idea of using a sort of sabremetrics to speed information gathering on players, something Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is certain to appreciate because he enjoys being confused by such things."


LMAOS @ this one. May be closer to the truth than we all know.


"Gamble, who was one of the favorites, changed his mind and decided not to interview with the Dolphins.

"Salguero reports Gamble didn’t like the structure that Miami’s general manager and head coach would be equals."


That was reported by James Walker of ESPN.

It fits into the ongoing debate here about whether we can land a our top choices for GM based on the existing power structure within the organization.

Some here have stated that this is an ideal landing spot, and that anyone would jump on it because GM jobs are few.

Others have disagreed.

Well, there went our top choice for GM, declining even the interview, because of the existing power structure.

Gamble took one look at this mess and said no thanks.

Yesterday's news? Yes. Still relevant today? Yes. Why? Because we're still looking for a GM.

That's why I shared the post.

Sabremetrics.

The new Go, Go-Go.

For someone who thinks he is so much smarter than everyone else, you are pretty f-in dumb!

Yes, many people report directly to the owner. In that regard you are correct.

However, most NFL owners know 100 times more than Ross does about football. Why do you think Sporano, Ireland, now Philbin are surviving longer than their expected shelf life with no results?

I'm dumb? You completely missed the point of my post and are talking about something else. No one said Ross was football smart. I was talking about how he doesn't make football decisions, he is only reported too. Which is good because he is not football smart. Get it? Was that too much for you to comprehend so you had to insult me? And you insulted me for something I wasn't even saying. Wow, you're f#@!ing brilliant. lol

Tebow > Tanny

"And off the field, we grade a player in four different areas.

1. Injury and durability, and that's just a function of how they made it through college.

2. Number two is mental and learning.

3. The third thing is personal character, the dependability, the leadership, the off-field issues or no issues, and then their family.

4. The fourth is football character, which is effort, work ethic, passion for football. It all blends into this scouting process."


I find it quite interesting "Personal Character" ranks next to last on his list. We all know it ranks 1ST on Philbin's list.

Could this alone bring controversy in the masking between he and Philbin were he hired as GM?

Also:

"1. Injury and durability, and that's just a function of how they made it through college."

Wouldn't it be great to end the era of "CONSTANTLY" shipping "Damaged Goods" in and out of Miami?

Ross drafted Tannehill.

Phins, that was a pretty interesting hypothesis, doing it on purpose to expose the story. I was kinda joking when I asked if they were being threatened, but maybe. There's some nut jobs on this blog that have probably sent Tannehill death threats.

Is it common in the NFL for HCs to have equal power with their GMs?

That's a real question because I honestly don't know, but it seems unusual to me.

isn't the Eagles owner the same guy who Ross is fueding with? Maybe they won'y let Gamble come for interview with threat of a pink slip.

let's see we took Dion Jordan and Bill Lazor away for Chip Kelly, i guess they won't let us take anybody else......

Truth Either tell me you made a mistake or you are coming off looking like a crazy person who is answering the wrong people. Did you even read my post?

"Because Ross is football stupid. That's precisely why the best candidates want nothing to do with the phins."

Where did I even touch on this in my original post? This wasn't even the subject of the discussion I was having with the other person. The subject was about who answers to who within the organization. They don't answer to him in that he makes the decisions, they answer to him in that he is the boss and they let him know where his money is being spent.

It has nothing to do with what the rest of the league think of him in your mind or about hiring a new gm. WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE STRUCTURE THAT IS SET UP IN THE DOLPHIONS ORGANIZATION AND HOW IT IS SIMILAR IF NOT EXACTLY LIKE 90% OF OTHER TEAMS INFRASTRUCTURES.

I'm stupid because your reading comprehension is that of a shelled peanut? That's priceless. Dude, I am smarter than most of the people in here because most of the people in here are you. Just accept it and move on, you're just not very bright.

Tebow > Jesus Christ

There's some nut jobs on this blog that have probably sent Tannehill death threats.
Posted by: DC Dolfan | January 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM

And there is no hiding who those culprits would be!

List of GM interview questions found on desk by cleaning crew. Questions complied by DawnJoe, Peterson and Ross:

1 - Do you have a subscription to PFF to help you evaluate players?

2 - Do you have Mel Kiper on speed dial?

3 - How do you feel about working with a career climber/back stabbing capologist and a lame duck head coach that never makes mid-season adjustments, let alone in-game adjustments?

4 - Will you promise NOT to draft a QB since Tannehill is the next Marino?

5 - Will you accept this job even thought DawnJoe cannot be fired or reasoned with?

6 - Do you enjoy working for people with multiple agendas - Ross, Dawn, Joe and maybe even Peterson?

7 - Do you enjoy being a scapegoat?

8 - Is your mother...

Lmao, so priceless. It's so funny when people get over excited about proving another poster wrong and then jam their entire foot and even the ankle right down their own throat. F%$#ing can't buy that kind of entertainment, what a dope! hahahahahaha!!!!

Yep...now we see Mando having to UPDATE his post on Xanders. Not a gem afterall. Go get Farmer!

Posted by: Mando's Cue Card | January 16, 2014 at 11:53 AM

It would all depend on the coach and GM. Lovie now has complete control in Tampa but they are looking for a GM. It varies from situation to situation. Dont listen to Armando and the Armando ball sniffers club. The complain and are negative just for the sake of it.

Ross will opt to hire the cheaper candidate.

Whatever Ross is or isn't doesn't include the fact that he has to be a real good numbers person. So anyone coming up with a system to evaluate talent based on numbers is scary. Reminds me of Ireland that lived by the rule that if your not a certain height, weight or speed person you just didn't fit the mold. I'm sure there's more to his system then a single number but how do numbers equate to whether a person is a 'football player' or not. That's the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Ireland. If you don't fit the mold you can't possibly be what we're looking for. Tell that to Lavonte Davis.

so whatcha guys think of the update, does it change your mind about him?

Sigh,

You forgot #9- Do you have a history of bullying others?

I like this young cat from Tenneessee, Lake Dawson. i say pull the trigger on that. Xanders reminds me of Ireland. So, pass.

That's the organization that claims that the UN (the UN?)because of Obama is plotting to take their guns away from them

Signal

You know what's hilarious about this signal? Remember when people were screaming about their guns being taken away and how Obama set up the school shooting and murdering of innocent children so he could take all the guns away?

Today, there are fewer restrictions and more gun owners than there were under the Bush administration. It's true and anyone can research it if they don't believe it. Guns are easier to get today than they were 10 years ago and there are more gun owners and guns in general in the United States. Our country is full of idiots who base their opinions off of what the talking heads on MSNBC AND FOX NEWS believe.

Per Armando's Update: "I was also told Xanders fits Ross in that he's calm and very willing to play nice with others. A more balanced outlook."

This is the LAST reason to hire a GM. The Dolphins need someone who can pick and find talent. The dreadful drafts are the reason the Dolphins have played so badly for so long.

The update in the blog is rather interesting...

Maybe Farmer should be the guy - who knows anymore?!?!?

Yes, I left out the bullying question. Lol.

Truth, when you come back go ahead and admit how you messed up. No one will hold it against you. lol

I expect Ireland to land a job as a pimp for hooka moms....or flippin burgers at Burger King.

Have to go, Truth, seriously, slow down and read the words before you jump on someone.

Update:

No to Xanders.

Haven't vented for a while.....I am not Ireland supporting here, but on many levels, the player performance dictated our failures more than drafting/FDA choices. IF--we had not lost Keller, Gibson, Binns, Patterson,Yeatman, our offense and opportunities would have been quite different, even with a crapy OL and no running backs. Perhaps one or two more 4th quarter scoring or more dominating Red Zone throughout games could have put us over the top? One more win (Of the many games we threw away)and we are in the Playoffs and Ireland is still here and nothing has changed. Can we blame him for injuries, that destroyed his master plan? No---and YES. Every team faces injuries and needs to adjust (we all see Pats playing this weekend). Is anyone still criticizing him for letting Long go--I didn't see him finishing the season for the Rams, so how does that one feel in the long run. Not addressing not signing other FA's, but still...I actually did appreciate on some levels his sort of All_In decisions perseason for the FA's and draft proceses. And, of course, ultimately it did not work and we continue to scramble. We know the large holes we have to fill--almost as much as the hles we would like the OL to make for anyone we can try to get to run the ball and help pass block. THill may still be a gift, but he won't amount to anything if he stays on his butt and gets no chance. If he can have help, I can only hope his ability to pass accurately and for distance will improve (OK--and if Wallace can learn how to catch...--had to get that one in). The hard thing is, besides chasing Pats, we may have to worry more about the Bills going forward, too....Whomever they chose really can't be worse than what we have.....no matter the relationship with Dawnjoe and Little Stevie

Armando's Ball Sniffer's Club.....?? LOL Sounds like a bunch of elitist's to me. I do not want to join that group.

What we can all count on is for Ross to make the wrong choice. Worst owner ever?

[Update: = Exactly Why Ross Will Hire Xanders

Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 2m

Jets and head coach Rex Ryan have reached agreement on a multi-year extension, according to team and league sources.

Who the hell cares who you nitwits are "impressed" by?

The closest any of you will ever be to professional football is where you plant your obese butts on a couch to watch it on TV.

You have zero inside knowledge---zero ability to rank anybody.

You're not fooling anyone.

so a bunch of bloggers texted you to say you're a moron so you updated your lame blog to make it sound legit. You aren't Alex Marvez, you will never be mainstream or work for ESPN or Fox. Maybe you could if you actually wrote something original.

If Ross hires Xanders, and if he does not draft well (almost a certainty given his background), then the Dolphins will be subpar for several more years, at least.

realist,

I fit your description. With that being said, I have a right to an opinion

Worst owner ever?

I don't know about that, but he's off to a heck of a start!

Hopefully the PFT story was correct and they're looking at a Farmer / Xanders tandem.

CAphin, I hear there is an opening at TMZ.

Realist,

The 'pros' in Miami are not doing such a bang up job either.

As a twist on the old saying goes, "Professionals built the Titanic, amatuers built Apple, Inc."


THIS IS ONE DYSFUNCTIONAL FRANCHISE!!

Posted by: Bottom Line | January 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM

THIS IS ONE DYSFUNCTIONAL BLOG !!!!!!!!!!!

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