SBD/Issue 122/Franchises

Broncos Execs Take On New Roles In Wake Of Sundquist Departure

Broncos Execs Taking On New Roles
Following Sundquist's Departure
The Broncos' plan in the aftermath of the departure of GM Ted Sundquist "calls for a team-oriented approach, with [coach Mike] Shanahan again having final say," according to Rasizer & Legwold of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. The organization "privately bristled Thursday at the notion of chaos" within their franchise, "even if no one would speak publicly" about Sundquist's departure. Rasizer & Legwold note the feeling behind the scenes "appeared to be things should be calmer" despite the bad timing of Sundquist's exit. Dir of Player Personnel Jim Goodman "lacks the [GM] title but will have his hands all over the pro and college scouting process," and his son, Assistant GM Jeff Goodman, will "put his law degree to use in contract negotiations." Broncos COO Joe Ellis seems "poised to take charge of the video, training and equipment staffs under" the new structure, and Dir of Football Administration Mike Bleum will "continue monitoring the salary cap." Sundquist had "handled many of those duties.'' On the surface, it "would be simple" to call the changes "another power play by a coach who essentially has free rein, answering to no one but [Owner Pat] Bowlen, who rarely gives him the red light." From the club's view, however, the additions "were meant to lighten the load" as Sundquist was "seen as resistant of that change." It appears Shanahan was "frustrated by what he perceived as a lack of strong conviction by Sundquist" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/14).

REAX: In Denver, Mike Klis writes the tension between Shanahan and Sundquist "was becoming increasingly palpable throughout the organization." Shanahan "ultimately felt the friction was detrimental to the team's ability to conduct business. Not that this strain was Sundquist's fault. But the strain had to be alleviated" (DENVER POST, 3/14). Also in Denver, Bernie Lincicome writes the dismissal of Sundquist "means little in the big picture." Lincicome: "Sundquist generally managed the Broncos in the same way that a flight attendant flies an airplane." At some point, however, Shanahan "is going to have to be held responsible for what the Broncos are, and these days they are NFL afterthoughts" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/14). The DENVER POST's Mark Kiszla writes of Sundquist's departure: "That's not a football team in transition. It's an NFL organization plagued by turmoil. ... The finger of blame must be pointed at Shanahan." Kiszla: "No matter how much he loves his coach, [Bowlen] should begin to wonder if Shanahan causes more turmoil than he solves" (DENVER POST, 3/14). NFL Network’s Marshall Faulk: “I never knew of a head coach to fire a GM, but obviously, there’s a fall guy. ... How can you give a head coach everything that he wants and the guy that loses his job is the GM?” (“NFL Total Access,” NFL Network, 3/13).

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