Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Mar 2008

Denver Chooses Curious Time to Fire GM

Most teams go out of their way not to shake up their front office during the free agency period and the run up to the draft, but apparently the Broncos are not slaves to convention, as they've announced the firing of general manager Ted Sundquist. No explanation was given for the timing of the dismissal, and at this point no successor has been named.

Posted by: Sean McCormick on 12 Mar 2008

31 comments, Last at 16 Mar 2008, 3:03pm by JeffD

Comments

1
by PaulH (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 12:12am

The more that I read / hear about the Broncos, the less I am surprised that they have missed the playoffs five of the last nine years, and only gotten past the wild card round one time since Elway retired.

It's "curious" to put it mildly.

2
by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 12:15am

12:14 EST: I start the watch for RJ to post on the superiority of the Raider's front office.

3
by morganja (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 1:36am

It's should be pretty obvious. They have signed two (2) ex-panthers.

4
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 4:17am

the less I am surprised that they have missed the playoffs five of the last nine years

Actually, that's better than average: in a perfectly average NFL, teams would miss the playoffs five out of eight years.

5
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 4:42am

No raiderJoe here but Shanahan is going full Al Davis Mode now (firing DC every year, changing GM, "rebuilding" the D every year, drafting or signing "measurables", not regarding character flags...).
Not to worry Broncos' fans but...maybe could we start calling the Broncos the Mountain - Raiders ?

6
by Torn (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 7:39am

This firing is all on Bowlen...unless Shanahan holds that kind of power.

7
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 8:12am

Maybe they think that their running back strategy - insert a new one at will and have the same success - also works for GMs.

8
by Hummingbird Cyborg (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 8:34am

#1: That's a pretty selective stat. You choose your years to maximize your point. And the stat still points to the Broncos being above average.

The Broncos have only had a losing season twice since Elway retired.

Which makes what, four losing seasons in the last thirty years?

The fact that Denver has been above average after losing a hall of fame QB should be heralded, but meh.

#6: Shanahan outranks the GM in the Broncos organization. He is only outranked by Bowlen, but Bowlen has usually taken a back seat approach allowing Shanahan to run the organization.

9
by Waverly (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 9:11am

Don't forget bringing in Cleveland's defensive line, and coaching changes there too.

FO defensive line rankings for 2004-2007: 6, 15, 22, 27

10
by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 10:14am

If they were indeed like the Raiders, then they would definitely be the Snow Raiders, not the Mountain Raiders. Or maybe the Mile-High Raiders. I like that one too.

11
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 10:17am

Or the Hihg-Mille Raidas...

12
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 11:21am

Well, it's not not Sundquist really had any power in the organization anyway.

I've actually been pleased with what the Broncos have accomplished thus far in FA and I thought that Sundquist was a good guy, but he really didn't have much say in the decision-making process.

13
by Fan in Exile (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 11:37am

Sundquist had to go, there's a reason that they pulled the plug on his TV show and on his blog. He was causing problems with the players, and the Goodman's are better at drafting. I'm surprised that it took him this long.

14
by MarkV (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 12:11pm

RE12
That was my thought. He is not really all that involved for a GM. My impression was that he handled contracts and coordinating scouting, and if thats the case, although its unusual, its certainly not going to be that detrimental to fire him at this stage.

15
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 1:27pm

12 and 14, the way I had always heard it was that the last few drafts (the ones under Shanahan that haven't been awful) coincided with Sundquist taking on a larger and more hands-on role as GM. Honestly when I first read this story, the thing I thought of when I read this was Shanahan as that "I AM THE LAW!" guy from South Park, and now I can't get that image out of my head.

16
by afc west guru (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 1:43pm

Shanahan is easily one of the best coaches in the league. He is also the worst GM aside from Dan Snyder. Denver needs a strong and established GM (a Bobby Bethard, Ron Wolf type) to take over as GM and just let Shanahan coach with a LIMITED input into personnel decisions.

Sunquist had no real authority and was in reality a salary cap manager and scouting coordinator and whoever replaces him will do the same.

17
by FullmoonoverTulsa (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 3:38pm

I didn't even realize that the Broncs had a non-Shanahan GM.

18
by Chris UK (not verified) :: Thu, 03/13/2008 - 4:25pm

#16 Matt Millen anyone?

19
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 12:35am

another sign that broncos are in real trouble. team doesn't know what to do ever since J Elway retire. team only win Superboel with J elway. Just got lucky Colts couldn't keep him you could say. Maybe when Broncos win as many Superbowls as Raiders, Broncos can say smoething. until thenn Broncos just little brother to Raiders. Raiders are big boys in AFcWest. Chiefs- annoying little handicapped brother, Broncos- little brother, Chargers- weak sister

Raiders would never do something stupid as firign GM in March. Just dumb move by Broncos, like dumbest thing of entire offseaosn. Broncos team going downhill and been goign downhill for years. Long way back to top for them. team going to be like 5-11 in 2008 and probably stay bad for couple season. raiders going up real high this year and should stay good for many year. team really be built well, Just look at roster to see for yourself. J Russell like new J Elway. Should take Raiders to multiple Superbowls. Real excited for season. Can;t get here fast engh.
Reprt about J Gruden being fired not true as it turnded out. See he stil coach. Maybe other psters need to man up and apoligixe for talking all that trash about Raiders coach and owner from January thrwads

20
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 12:39am

sorry, ment Lane Kiffin Raiders coahc had to much to drink tonugt dran a klttle too much of Sierra nevada tonifgr. going to get drunk at bar on friday night. Aby Broncos chiefs or chargers fan want to battle me I put you in plavce by listing Super bowls won by AFC West teams. nothing rrally more to be said

21
by mm (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 2:09am

sorry, ment Lane Kiffin Raiders coahc had to much to drink tonugt dran a klttle too much of Sierra nevada tonifgr. going to get drunk at bar on friday night.

Cheers, Raiderjoe.

But please don't drink alcohol by the klttle anymore. We want you healthy enough to explain why the Broncos, Chiefs, and Chargers are inferior for many years to come.

22
by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 3:15am

Raiders are big boys in AFcWest. Chiefs- annoying little handicapped brother, Broncos- little brother, Chargers- weak sister

Best Raiderjoe post ever.

23
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 4:04am

After the roboPunter jersey, I think the FO staff could sell RaiderJoe Jerseys :o)

24
by mrh (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 2:34pm

sorry, ment Lane Kiffin Raiders coahc had to much to drink tonugt dran a klttle too much of Sierra nevada tonifgr.

Why was Lane Kiffin dranning a kittle?

RaiderJoe = James Joyce

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 03/14/2008 - 4:47pm

Reprt about J Gruden being fired not true as it turnded out. See he stil coach. Maybe other psters need to man up and apoligixe for talking all that trash about Raiders coach and owner from January thrwads

I'm pretty sure that Raiderjoe was actually one of the people saying Lane Kiffin wasn't a good fit for the Raiders back in January.

26
by David (not verified) :: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 12:06pm

Raiderjoe = James Joyce
Come on... That's totally unfair to Raiderjoe. At least his stuff is enjoyable while being incomprehensible.

27
by David (not verified) :: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 12:17pm

Sorry for the double post. I put you in plavce by listing Super bowls won by AFC West teams. nothing rrally more to be said
From anyone other than Raiderjoe, this attitude is damn near unbearable. But to him I almost feel protective, like "hey, don't tell him about everything that's happened since the Tampa Bay Super Bowl, he clearly doesn't know and he doesn't need that kind of pain."

28
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 3:31pm

I do find it slightly odd that a team would fire a GM after the combine and before the draft. Surely by that point some decisions about needs and about players in whom the team is interested will have been made. When the Texans hired Kubiak, giving him final say over personnel decisions, it was quite evident that Casserly's time was up and he would not be running the draft, but he was still not fired until the picks were made.

On another note, Cutler may well be a good enough player to guarantee competitiveness in Denver for the next decade, regardless of who is responsible for acquiring the talent around him. I actually think Russell has less chance of reaching Canton than not only Cutler and Rivers but Charlie Whitehurst. Suppose Rivers suffers a career-ending injury early next season. With the ridiculous supporting talent that AJ Smith has assembled in San Diego, it's likely that any competent quarterback could post good numbers and keep the job. That same supporting talent could also win multiple superbowls with a somewhat better than average QB, who would then, in the farce that is Hall of Fame voting, stand a good chance of enshrinement.

A world in which the Raiders or Russell is good enough for him to ever even be a plausible pro-bowl candidate, however, is simply beyond bizarro.

29
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Sat, 03/15/2008 - 9:16pm

Mr. Shush is wrong. Russell going to be superstar. Will go to many probowls.

30
by raiderbloe (not verified) :: Sun, 03/16/2008 - 1:31am

raiders = old uncle who talks about his past high school football glory. fire young coaches who win SBs for other teams.

denver = team that win more games last 30 years than any team in nfl.

san diego = team that can't win a big game even when they have the best talent in league; both the fouts era and now.

KC = Annoying handicapped little brother.

31
by JeffD (not verified) :: Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:03pm

I wish that I could have some of RaiderJoe's KoolAid