The Detroit Lions’ last offseason was defined by the status quo. Coming off a 10-6 season and the franchise’s first playoff berth since 1999, the Lions did little beyond re-signing their own free agents as 21 of 22 starters returned for the 2012 season.
Rather than taking another step forward, or even stepping sideways, the Detroit Lions took a major step back in finishing a disappointing 4-12. The Lions don’t appear to be on a path to repeating their mistakes from a year ago, instead choosing to invest in the areas that need investment.
That has happened on the coaching staff with some solid hires, including veteran defensive line coach Jim Washburn. Changes are also coming to the front office with today’s announcement that the Lions have hired former Broncos general manager Brian Xanders.
The Denver Broncos and Xanders had a mutual parting of ways a year ago when John Elway officially assumed the duties of the general manager. Elway credits Xanders with aiding in his assimilation back into the NFL and with the success the Broncos have enjoyed lately, Xanders certainly deserves some credit for laying the foundation on which Elway has built.
Xanders’ task will be to change the way the Lions scout and grade players. His official title will be senior personnel executive, a title he will share with Shack Harris who will remain in the Lions’ front office. Both men will report to Martin Mayhew.
Mayhew has admitted to possibly overrating the players and one of Xanders’ primary roles will be changing the way the Lions scout and grade players. His ability to identify talent is exactly why he is joining the Lions:
Mayhew on Xanders: “A guy who has a background as a GM and did a good job acquiring talent in Denver and I know he’s a great evaluator.”
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) January 28, 2013