LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Rams reached into the Detroit Lions’ recent past to bring in a new quarterback and a new front-office member on Thursday, but the moves were more subtle than they might have initially appeared.
Dan Orlovsky, who spent the last three years backing up Matthew Stafford, will come in as a third quarterback behind starter Jared Goff and backup Sean Mannion. Brian Xanders spent the last five years as a senior personnel executive with the Lions and will have the same title with the Rams, reporting to general manager Les Snead.
Xanders and Snead worked together on the Atlanta Falcons from 1997 to 2007, with Snead serving as a pro scout and Xanders filling a variety of roles in scouting, player personnel, football operations, and at one point even coaching on defense. Xanders went on to become the Denver Broncos’ general manager from 2009 to 2012, though he never really had final-say authority on roster personnel.
The Broncos won division titles in Xanders' final two years as GM. From 2010 to 2011, Xanders helped draft the likes of Von Miller, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Zane Beadles and Orlando Franklin. Xanders and the Broncos, under executive vice president of football operations John Elway, mutually agreed to part ways following the 2012 season, prompting Xanders' move to Detroit. His role with the Lions involved working in all areas of the team's player personnel department, including college scouting, pro personnel, advance scouting, coaching research and analytics, according to his team bio.
Xanders will have a similarly widespread role with the Rams, who are also bringing in one of his former quarterbacks.
Orlovsky, 34 on Aug. 18, has thrown for 3,132 yards in 27 games over the course of a 12-year career, with 15 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 58.2-percent completion rate. Orlovsky also played for the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He got an extended run with the Colts in 2011, a season Peyton Manning missed because of neck surgery, and put up a passer rating of 82.4 in eight games (five starts). Jim Caldwell later brought Orlovsky to Detroit to help mentor Stafford.
The Rams are now hoping he does the same for Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, and Mannion, a third-round pick in 2015.