Making sense of the new Buffalo power structure

AP

Plenty of questions remain regarding the new-look football operation in Buffalo. Some of those questions officially will be answered on Friday, but those answers could result in even more questions.

As Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News explains it, new G.M. Brandon Beane will control the 53-man roster, while coach Sean McDermott otherwise controls the entire football operation. McDermott, per Carucci, will have “final say.”

Carucci reports that the situation will “pretty much replicate” the structure in Kansas City, where G.M. “John Dorsey, has a significant say in the assembling of the 53-man roster, but there is no mistaking that coach Andy Reid is in charge of the entire football operation and has final say.”

Here’s the problem with that explanation. If McDermott has “final say” over the football operation, Beane won’t really control the 53-man roster. If McDermott has “final say,” then he runs the show — and necessarily has final say.

The distinction takes on some significance given that league policy permits a front-office employee under contract with another team to be hired as a G.M. only if the position entails “the authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, contract terminations, and related decisions.”

“The authority” over those various categories is another way of saying “final say.” If Beane doesn’t have it, the Panthers could have attempted to block the move.

It’s entirely possible that the Panthers opted not to create a problem. Beane has been a loyal employee for 19 years, and it’s not as if he’s taking over the Falcons, Saints, or Buccaneers. Still, the end result suggests that a guy who has never worked a game as head coach of the Bills has managed in roughly four months to persuade ownership to give him Belichickian power.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters is the ability of McDermott and Beane to work together in an effort to find the players who will help the Bills win football games. That relationship will be tested during inevitable stretches of adversity, when one may become tempted to blame the other for the inability of the team to perform the way that the fans and the owners expect.

31 responses to “Making sense of the new Buffalo power structure

  1. Why fight it? The Panthers probably just figure they can have them BOTH back in 2 years and have the Bills pay most of their salary for a little while to boot.

  2. The whole key is the ability to “work together.” Since they did that in Carolina, the chance of it repeating in Buffalo is strong. Yes, the owners seem to have given their new Head Coach “Belichickian power” and the overall organization appears to mimic Kansas City’s. Those are not bad models.

  3. Man…McDermott sure must have strong powers of persuasion if he has been given final say at this stage of his career, because his career up to this point certainly doesn’t warrant it. He didn’t exactly distinguish himself after inheriting Jim Johnson’s top 5 defense in Philadelphia, and in Carolina, he was a DC under a head coach who oversaw the defense, which is nowhere near as impressive as being in complete charge of the defense. The Carolina D was Ron Rivera’s baby before McDermott was hired, while he worked there, and it still is.

    Even great coaches like Walsh and BB did not receive final say in their rookie year of coaching.

  4. The rules need to be changed to acknowledge the new reality.

    The new model is moving towards the Seattle Seahawks model, Pete Carroll and John Schneider.

    49ers new setup with Shanahan and Lynch reflects this.

    The head coach gets some say on getting the groceries, a la Bill Parcells, but the coach and GM share power. Another Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren, helped show how there’s too much involved for one person to try and perform both jobs.

  5. Uh, Carucci is dead wrong.

    John Dorsey and Andy Reid answer to Clark Hunt, period. Reid doesn’t have “Final Say” about the roster: That’s all Dorsey. Reid coaches the team and while he gives Dorsey his thought on players, it’s Dorsey’s decision ONLY as to whom he drafts, cuts, adds to the 53 (or 90).

    Carucci’s almost as bad as the Bills organization.

  6. “Since they did that in Carolina, the chance of it repeating in Buffalo is strong”

    Most of Carolina’s seasons were sub-500…the chance of repeating that is strong.

  7. Another Seahawks coach, Mike Holmgren, helped show how there’s too much involved for one person to try and perform both jobs.
    ————————————————————
    Unless they are Belichick.

    I would also point out that giving a coach Belichickean powers does not guarantee Belichickean results.

  8. Someones gotta have final say, and no one in the organization out side of “McBeane” is qualified. So who cares which one it is?

    Is the coach really going to bully Beane around and make him take bad players? Coach is too busy coaching to know everything he needs to about college players. Where do you think coach gets the information he needs to even form an opinion?

    From scouts and the GM.

    He just wants final say, and thats cool with me. Im sure the coaches biggest concern is the positions they draft, not so much the actual player.

  9. Focus on working together to build a team and playing the right way rather than internal power struggles and manipulating to point blame on others. This goes for all teams, not just the Bills. The teams that are consistently competitive find ways to do this regardlesss of the org chart.

  10. Vic Carucci is the unofficial spin doctor for the Buffalo Bills. He tries hard to spin everything the team does as a terrific decision to excite the Bills faithful.
    The reality is that the team underperformed last season, as they have for most of the past 20 odd years. Time will tell if Beane’s appointment is meaningful. Handing over more power to an unproven coach isn’t necessarily the blueprint for success but the Pergulas have to learn that.

  11. “Making sense of the new Buffalo power structure”

    I admire your pluck Florio, but you should never endeavor to make sense of the senseless. It is a fool’s errand.

  12. You could have just printed the first and last paragraphs and left out all of the conjecture in the middle.

    Not all football teams have the same power structure. There is no one size fits all here. If it works out, it doesn’t matter.

  13. If they win, it won’t matter who has “final say”

    True, but if you lose, not having final say can save your butt. Just ask Les Snead.

  14. For One, stop acting like the Pegulas have been here for the whole playoff drought. It’s been 2 real seasons, not counting the season already started when they bought the team. They were left scrambling for a coach unexpectedly, and made a move. It was a wrong move. It happens. They have undoubtedly looked at what successful teams have done like NE and are starting to model themselves a bit after them. Why don’t more teams do this?

    And no this doesn’t guarantee running the org like Belichick will equal his success by any stretch but then again, who really thinks he would considered the greatest ever with out TB. Getting that position set is what will make or break this gm/coach.
    Why wouldn’t you want the coach to have the players he feels he needs to successfully run his schemes.
    Being on the same page will be far more powerful to their success then who makes the call.

  15. WOW, what people don’t get just blows my mind. Both these guys have been brought up under Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. Richardson runs a class act from top to bottom. One of fee owners you will ever see at Training Camp.

    Now all of you should understand who GM Dave Gettleman is. He started with the Bills as a scout and has been on the NYG most of his career.

    Look at his ties to coaching like Bill Belichick and John Fox whom both were DC’s with NYG.

    McDermott and Beane have the training to succeed in the NFL with the Bills.

    On game days it was McDermott was calling in the packages. Beane helped with contracts and setting up the draft board.

    If truth be known Gettleman probably helped the Bills in their draft and FA. Seriously.

    Gettleman is smarter than most give him credit for. If you were a Panthers fan and followed the struture of the Panthers is how the Bills is going to be built.

    Jerry Richardson is the last say, Gettleman gets the talent, Rivera coaches. The only time you see Rivera at any event is the combine.

    So the Bills will have a certain structure set in place that the players and staff will know there is no room for slackers. You get paid to play and play you will or there’s the door. IE: WR Steve Smith. Paid Smitty 8 million to leave. Parked Greg Hardy from day one.

  16. True Belichickian power won’t be attained until the day the mere mention of McDermott’s name inspires streams of troll foolishness and causes ulcers to flair up at 345 Park Ave.

  17. therealtrenches says:
    May 11, 2017 11:19 AM

    Man…McDermott sure must have strong powers of persuasion if he has been given final say at this stage of his career, because his career up to this point certainly doesn’t warrant it. He didn’t exactly distinguish himself after inheriting Jim Johnson’s top 5 defense in Philadelphia, and in Carolina, he was a DC under a head coach who oversaw the defense, which is nowhere near as impressive as being in complete charge of the defense. The Carolina D was Ron Rivera’s baby before McDermott was hired, while he worked there, and it still is.

    Even great coaches like Walsh and BB did not receive final say in their rookie year of coaching.
    ____
    A number of factual inaccuracies here.

    1) Rivera was hired right after the 2010 season. McDermott was hired a few weeks later. Hard for the defense to be Rivera’s baby before a single workout was conducted.
    2) McDermott ran the defense. Rivera handles the real-time decisions like whether to go for it on 4th down and go for 2 instead of the PAT. He has figured out the HC is really the CEO, while the coordinators call the plays.
    3) Rivera, McDermott and Chudzinski (later Mike Shula) took over a 2-14 team, and it took 2 years to rebuild it in year 3, they went 12-4 and lost to eventual NFC champ San Franciso. Year 4 was a down year but they still won the division and hung with eventual champ Seattle into the 4th quarter. Everyone knows how 2015 went.
    4) The Panthers defense ranked in the top 10 for 4 of his 6 years, the first and last years being the exceptions. So yes, McDermott has done enough to earn a head coaching job.

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