Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Xanders to interview for GM gig; OC candidates dwindling

Add a sixth man to list of Dolphins general manager candidates, as Chris Mortensen reported Tuesday that Detroit Lions executive Brian Xanders is expected to mean with the team.

Xanders was GM of the Denver Broncos
from 2009 to 2012.
Xanders joined the Lions in 2013 as a senior personnel executive following five seasons (2008-12) with the Denver Broncos, including the last four as general manager. The Broncos and Xanders agreed to part ways following the 2012 season with executive vice president John Elway controlling personnel decisions.

Xanders originally played linebacker at Florida State under Bobby Bowden (1989-92) before joining the Atlanta Falcons' personnel department, where he worked under various titles from 1994 to 2007.

The 42-year-old Xanders joins Lake Dawson (Titans), Ray Farmer (Browns), Omar Khan (Steelers) Jason Licht (Cardinals) and Dolphins assistant GM Brian Gaine as those that have interviewed with the Dolphins thus far.

Xanders holds the distinction as the only one of the six candidates to have prior GM experience in the NFL. While his tenure is often remembered for the selection of "quarterback" Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, it's important to note that head coach Josh McDaniels had personnel control at that time and was Tebow's biggest advocate.

Among the other players drafted when Xanders was GM of the Broncos are wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (1st), Zane Beadles (2nd), Eric Decker (3rd), Von Miller (1st), safety Rahim Moore (2nd), tackle Orlando Franklin (2nd), tight end Julius Thomas (4th), defensive lineman Malik Jackson (5th) and linebacker Danny Trevathan (6th). Xanders also saw the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver, though I'm thinking John Elway had a lot to do with that.

Two OC candidates out of the running

As the Dolphins continue their search for general manager, the pool of candidates for the also-vacant offensive coordinator position on Joe Philbin's staff is thinning rapidly.

Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor opted to take an offensive coordinator position in Detroit under Jim Caldwell, while Packers quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo has opted for the play-calling gig in New York under Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.

That leaves the only known candidates as former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak and former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. However, Kubiak seems more interested in pursuing other opportunities and Shanahan's interview with the Dolphins reportedly did not go well.

Considering the instability of the Dolphins' organization and the very possible situation of Philbin being out after one season with a new general manager, the coordinator position might prove difficult to fill from the outside, which could lead to a very unsexy promotion of receivers coach Ken O'Keefe, who called plays at Iowa.