Broncos Update Insider 2/20

The upheaval of the Denver Broncos' organization included everything: coaching staff first, then front office and the roster.

The coaching change was the most stunning, when Josh McDaniels was hired to take over for fired Mike Shanahan. The front office changes were unexpected.

Jim Goodman, who was put in charge of the personnel department after Shanahan was fired, and his son Jeff, one of Denver's two assistant general managers, were fired. Brian Xanders, the team's other assistant general manager, was named general manager.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said when McDaniels was hired that he would keep the personnel department intact. About a month later, he decided Xanders was the best person to work with McDaniels to shape the roster, with both reporting to him.

The new front office wasted little time making changes. In a two-day span, the Broncos dumped five defensive starters: cornerback Dre Bly, linebacker Jamie Winborn, defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson, defensive end John Engelberger and safety Marquand Manuel.

None of the individual moves were too shocking - Bly hadn't played up to expectations after being acquired from Detroit in a trade, Robertson had an oppressive salary-cap number, the Broncos could afford to drop Winborn because of depth elsewhere at linebacker and Engelberger and Manuel were ineffective.

The moves as a whole were jarring because of the rebuilding that must now take place on defense. Denver will also likely not re-sign free agent linebacker Nate Webster or defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban, who each started games last year.

The new regime didn't feel the need to keep many players on a defense that ranked among the worst in the NFL for two straight years. With more salary-cap room, the Broncos can be bigger players in free agency, and they will also invest heavily in defense during the draft.



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