What do the Denver Broncos want in their new general manager?
President and CEO Joe Ellis wants someone who's an expert in "player evaluation." President of Football Operations John Elway wants someone with a fresh "perspective." Coach Vic Fangio wants someone with a clear "vision."
And Broncos Country, well, they just want to win again.
"There’s a lot of frustration and it boils over to anger, and I’ve witnessed it in the locker room after some losses this year," Ellis said. "It carries over to when the players leave, and the staff and the coaches leave the building, and it carries over into the community."
With Elway announcing Monday that he's giving up his duties as GM and moving to an elevated role, the Broncos will need a GM who isn't afraid to restructure the relatively young roster. Someone who can find hidden gems in free agency, not miss on impactful players in the draft and can work hand-and-hand with Fangio while not stepping on each other's toes.
“The guys that have a vision of what the team should look like in conjunction with the coaching staff and never veering from that vision," Fangio said. "It’s always easy and sexy sometimes to veer away from what you think is your ultimate blueprint for a team and sometimes you got to resist that. Then by the same token, maybe there is a chance or two that you might be able to take, but you have to be educated and they have to be good chances that everybody’s on board with.”
The Broncos general manager will have complete control over the Broncos' 53-man roster. While they'll report to Elway — who will be a part of "big decisions" — it'll be their team and their decisions.
Ellis said Elway "won’t meddle and he won’t get in the way."
"The responsibility of the 53-man roster and picking the players and being the general manager and all of the decisions that come with that will be that person that we choose," Ellis said. "I know people question some of the performance of the team and that reflects on John. I believe he knows what it takes to win. I believe he knows what needs to happen to make our team better at a big level, but he’s going to let the decisions lie in the hands of the new general manager, Vic and others. I’m not at all worried that he casts a big shadow over this next person."
As for Elway, he will be part of the hiring process along with Ellis and Fangio — they will be the only three to handle GM interviews, with Chief Communications Officer Patrick Smyth sitting in as a note taker.
Elway said Monday they have to be someone who can evolve with the game and be able to connect with the many people who help run the Broncos organization.
"I think that with hiring a GM and with the way the game is today — the GM role has grown so much, especially on the administrative side, because as we've added people and the staff has continued to grow," Elway said. "I think that what we do is really go into this thing with our eyes wide open and see where the strengths are with different people, and then we have to make a determination of which person with the strengths that best fits what we need."
Ellis and Elway gave no real timetable on when they hope to hire a GM, but did say they want to move fast. They've already requested permission to interview Chicago Bears assistant director of player personnel and former Broncos executive (2007-14) Champ Kelly, who is considered the front-runner for the position and is a person of color, which Ellis said is something that will be "very important" when interviewing candidates.
Whether or not Kelly will be the Broncos' next GM has yet to be determined, but one thing is certain: Ellis knows Broncos Country is frustrated and is hoping to hire the best person to bring an end to the Broncos' failures.
"I listen, I watch, and I read, and I know what’s going on, and all of that is justified," Ellis said. "We have to do something to stop that, and there’s one thing you can do to stop that and that is win, and we've got to win."