The Broncos announced several promotions within their team’s human resources division on Friday, led by the appointment of Matt Russell as vice president of player personnel.
The chief advisor to general manager John Elway for nearly a decade, Russell was previously the scouting director of Broncos’ university (2009-12) and director of the player staff (2012-20).
Russell, brought to Broncos in 2009 by then-coach Josh McDaniels, will continue to organize the team’s daily college and pro-scouting efforts and will be deeply involved in trade negotiations.
Elway remains the last word on all personnel decisions.
According to the Broncos, only New England and Dallas have maintained the continuity of staff for longer than the eight-year Elway-Russell partnership.
“Matt gets better every year and I try to give him more responsibility every year,” Elway told The Post earlier this year on the scouting combo. “He’s doing a great job with the scouts. He is great to work with and has helped me a lot. “
Russell has built a great reputation around the NFL for his work as a scout for the Patriots and Eagles and his development within the front office of the Broncos.
“Well deserved,” said a team manager on Friday. “He has been with the Broncos for a long time and is loyal to the organization and has an excellent ability to identify players and understand what it takes to build a champion team because of his gaming and scouting experience.”
Russell helped Elway flip a grid that has become younger on the depth chart. At the end of 2019, the Broncos had the third-youngest selection in the league (25 years, 264 days) and topped the NFL in number of offensive players (14) and combined starts (88) among players with two or fewer years of experience.
The Broncos have been widely acclaimed for their concept work over the past three years; As many as six offensive starters from week 1 were added to the concept.
Russell, 46, played college football in Colorado (1993-1996) and was a fourth round from Detroit. After retiring due to a knee injury, Russell graduated as an assistant at CU in 2000 before joining NFL scouting, working for New England (2001 and ’03 -05) and Philadelphia (2006-08) . He was part of four Super Bowl-winning teams.
Russell’s career was in doubt in July 2013 when he was arrested on DUI charges, no evidence of insurance, careless driving with injuries, and having an open container when he put a Breckenridge police SUV on the back. He was suspended for a month by the Broncos and sentenced to seven months in prison in May 2014. His work release allowed him to do business in the team’s facility.
The Broncos also announced several other promotions / title changes, led by a merger of the team’s football technology and research departments.
Mark Thewes was promoted to vice president of football operations and compliance. He remains the team leader of the NFL office in collective labor matters, roster management and planning. Thewes initially joined the Broncos in 2009 as an assistant to the head coach (McDaniels).
Tony Lazzaro has been appointed senior director of football technology and research and will lead the newly merged technology and analysis departments. Lazzaro is in the Broncos in his 19th year.
Darren Mougey was promoted to assistant director of college scouting in partnership with Russell and college scouting director Brian Stark. Mougey, who joined the Broncos in 2012 as a trainee, was their Western regional explorer for the last three years and will continue to hold those duties.
Karl Schreiner was appointed director of football information systems, responsible for building and maintaining the team’s internal systems. A graduate of Highlands Ranch High School and Metro State, Schreiner is in his fifth year with the Broncos.
Scott Flaska was appointed senior manager of football analysis. He entered his fifth season with the Broncos, graduated from Colorado and previously was a professional development program engineer for Northrop Grumman.
Richard Hildebrand was appointed a senior software engineer and contributed to the software development of the technology / research department. He is starting his third season with the Broncos.
And Emily Kuehler, a trainee with the Broncos last year, was promoted to full-time status as a data scientist assisting the technology / research department.