Doug Whaley leading Bills search necessarily limits it

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The Bills are looking for a new coach. Their current General Manager will be leading the search. And that necessarily will limit the search to those candidates who will accept working with, and ultimately for, their current G.M..

It’s an important factor to consider when making lists of potential candidates for the job. Big names will emerge, but some of those big names will want to run the show and/or to nudge Doug Whaley out of the way. That will make those candidates less inclined to take the job.

The same dynamic applies with respect to the two other existing vacancies. In L.A., COO Kevin Demoff surely won’t be recommending candidates who would be inclined to recommend neutering or firing Demoff. In Jacksonville, where G.M. Dave Caldwell is leading the search, he won’t be giving the thumb’s up to anyone who ultimately would want the ability to give Caldwell the thumb’s down.

It’s arguably the most applicable to the Bills, given rampant rumors of conflict between Whaley and Ryan. The conflict is understandable; with reports emerging a year ago that both Whaley and Ryan would be out if the team didn’t make the playoffs, both men had a clear incentive to position the other to take the blame for another lost season. Whaley won. The next time around, he likely will want to avoid that kind of turmoil

Whaley’s status with respect to the search could be a factor, then, in the question of whether Western New York native Tom Coughlin becomes a serious candidate for the job. When ownership, team president Russ Brandon, and former coach Rex Ryan met last year with Coughlin, Whaley wasn’t involved; unless Whaley simply wasn’t available at the time, his omission from the meeting could make him inclined to omit Coughlin from Whaley’s personal wish list.

Offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn, whose early-season promotion to offensive coordinator sparked a four-game winning streak, could become a viable candidate — especially if the players aren’t thrilled with the decision to fire Ryan after only 31 games on the job. That decision also could make the job less attractive to external candidates with options elsewhere, since they will want to know why and how ownership went from loving Rex less than two years ago to wanting to get rid of him now.

It’s also possible that the Bills already know who they want, and that they pulled the trigger on Ryan after developing an appropriate degree of confidence that they will land him. Few coaching searches begin with a blank slate; whether it’s ownership or Whaley or the officially-not-involved-but-unofficially-very-involved Brandon (who also won’t want to be undermined by the next coach) calling the shots, the process most likely will be starting with a preferred ending point in mind.

The challenge will be to keep that preferred ending point close to the vest, so that whoever eventually takes the job can be sold to the fans and the media as the team’s first choice. And then everyone can hope that new ownership won’t be dumping its first choice before he finishes his first two years on the job.

24 responses to “Doug Whaley leading Bills search necessarily limits it

  1. Lynn was named interim so people don’t get upset about the Rooney Rule not being followed. They know exactly what they’re doing. They already have someone. Which shows what a true sham that rule is.

  2. The Pegulas are proving to be terrible fan driven owners, no different than Ralph Wilson before them, more worried about seeing the illusion of progress than actually having the patience to progress and build. Firing a established , fairly respected HC after back to back 8-8 seasons from a perennially losing franchise was the wrong move especially after Pegula does the USA Today interview not 8 weeks prior gushing about continuity and that hecan not believe “false rumors” of Rex being on the hot seat. They keep the GM, whom fans universally (and wrongly) are calling to be fired and I’m 100% sure that he will be gone by the end of the season to placate the fans yet again, bad decisions all around.

  3. Or the new coach realizes that the next change is likely to be at the GM level and not the coaching if draft picks don’t pan out.

    Then they can make the push for more control.

  4. Coughlin? Let’s see, work down in Florida for a patient owner, or in Buffalo for this clown show of team management?

  5. Pegula should hire football man to run the whole show who would hire GM who would hire a HC, that’s not going to happen though.

  6. Drama behind he scenes or not, Rex is who we thought he was. A below average head coach with an above average ego. 10 guys on the field giving up the game-winning play in OT is unacceptable.

  7. They keep Lynn as HC he is going to keep the entire Defensive staff which are his buddies from the Nets who run Rex impossible to run defense. It looked like the entire defense was confused most of the time. Still no excuse for ooor tackling. Lynn will want to keep the current coaches and nothing will change.

    It’s Greg Romans offense Not Anthony Lynns. They did not change offenses in one week.

  8. geophile2015 ,
    Taylor was the QB he asked for from his contacts in Baltimore. You surely don’t think Whaley was searching up and down and said yep, I’m going to go after Taylor even though he’s barely played. Furthermore, even though I’ve been a skeptic from the beginning on Taylor after seeing lots of him in college, he hasn’t been the problem. Rex’s defense has. If his defense played like his early Jet teams, Taylor would have been more than adequate to do what Mark Sanchez did for those teams with less turnovers. By the way, Rex admitted in public that his first choice to bring in was Geno Smith. Now, think about that for you people trying to defend him, and I’ve always been a fan of his, but I think that it’s clear by now that just like his famous Pops, he doesn’t possess the big picture view to be an HC. Being a good coordinator isn’t being HC because they are responsible for everything on the team, managing players, preventing situational hiccups like the too many or too few players on the field gaffs, etc. It’s more than just calling plays for your scheme, but rather it’s about making the whole team work together and figuring out how to win regardless of what you do or don’t have on the roster. In the end, he was successful at doing that once in nearly 10 years of being an HC, that year they were 11-5 and beat the Patriots in the playoffs and lost the AFC championship to Pittsburgh. I think that’s sufficient to know what he is.

  9. Although Whaley has proven to be an incompetent GM (signing Percy Harvin, drafting Manuel), Rex can’t develop a QB to save his life.

    The key to Rex being successful hinges on an attacking defense and a stout running game with a QB who could manage the game. Mark Sanchez was great his first few seasons, but as the defense started to weaken (due to free agency/injuries) the QB couldn’t carry the team.

    Fast forward to Buffalo. Taylor is a decent QB, but if your defense is as porous as the Bills was, he was not the type of QB you would want in shootouts with another team. He has no pocket presence and although he throws few interceptions, he also doesn’t throw for a bunch of touchdowns. The kid was a backup for a reason.

    As for the defense, others have said it but it should be noted. They led the league in sacks prior to Rex and since he is a disciple of the 3-4 defense, he was determined to shoe horn his scheme with players that didn’t fit it. He tried blending the 4-3/Wide 9 with his 3-4 and when the results proved unsuccessful in year one, he opted to go full hilt into a 3-4, which as we saw this year, didn’t quite work.

  10. Gotta admit, Florio gets packs more incite, humor, and blunt facts into his writing than any sports commentator I’m aware of.

    Used to look forward to Dan Patrick taking a week off when Florio was subbing for him on radio.

  11. How many successful head coaches have also been their own GM’s? The number is very limited. This whole idea of coaches wanting “total control” is probably a bit overstated.

  12. Well Rex and his staff may not be the best in the NFL but they certainly aren’t the worst either. He led the Jets to back to back AFC Championship games without a QB. Had he taken the job in Atlanta he would have finally had a QB to win with. I’m certain this staff is better than T. Bowles coaching staff with the Jets who are headed in the wrong direction. If Woody let’s his GM select his own HC, and fires Bowles and his staff. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bowles resurface as the HC of the Bills? It should surprise nobody that the Patriots have dominated the AFC East, when 3 of the 4 teams have owners who don’t have a clue. It looks like the Dolphins may have found a HC, but the way they have won this year still makes me wonder? The Jets have regressed and Bowles has lost his locker room, largely due to the antics of SR. Bowles had his shot to discipline the problem but failed, his seat should be much hotter than Rex Ryan’s was? Ryan earned another year, Bowles hasn’t.

  13. I’m not trying to be snarky here.

    When will NFL types realize that a good coach is not necessarily a good in-game decision maker and divest the responsibility from the head coach? Again, this isn’t sarcastic – a lot of younger people who have played a ton of Madden have been involved in a lot more game situations in a somewhat competitive environment than head coaches who see those happen 16-20 times per year. People who understand win probabilities.

    The thing that irks me the most about announcers is the phrase “forced to punt/kick.” Nobody is forcing you to do anything! You can go for it on 4th & 2 from your own 41 with four minutes to go in OT, you just don’t want to. If you truly trust your defense, you’ll trust them to hold Miami to a 3-and-out with nothing more than a long FG attempt from an iffy kicker. At least you tried to win.

    I like Rex and I think he’s a good (if not excellent) football coach and an outstanding motivator – but there’s a huge difference between developing a defensive scheme/teaching trail technique and making appropriate decisions during the game that give your team the best chance to win, and he isn’t qualified to do the second part.

  14. This is the right thing to do. Marrone was Brandon’s choice (he was the de-facto owner at the time) and Rex was the Pegula’s choice as new owners.
    Whaley played along with both coaches, giving them a defensive roster that was 4th in points allowed in 2014 and in 2016 an offensive roster that produced the 7th best in points scored.

    Marrone, the offensive guru couldn’t make the offense work and the defensive guru, Rex Ryan, couldn’t make the defense work.

    It’s time to use some common sense and brings someone that is a leader of men that can adapt to the talent at hand and can develop talented players.

    Whaley, Jim Monos and the scouting department can spot the talent.

  15. 1) ibillwt says:
    Dec 27, 2016 6:11 PM

    “Used to look forward to Dan Patrick taking a week off”

    I wish Dan Patrick would take the rest of his life off! I was sick this week and I watched his daytime show (for the first time) for ninety minutes. I barely made it that long but I wanted to give it an honest try. Honestly? It sucks. And the stultifying, sanctimonious Patrick/Dungy/Harrison Desktop Dildoes show is enough to knock a buzzard off an outhouse. I turn the sound down and go in another room until I think it’s over. His intros to the half-time Toyota commercials make me want to go sit with the buzzards.

    2) If I’m not mistaken, Rex was Whaley’s third head-coaching hire. So why does Whaley still have a job with Buffalo?

  16. I’ll give Whaley a chance here. Many reports have said that he hasn’t directly been involved in the HC searches since he arrived. I read that he was pushing for Hue Jackson, but Brandon and the Pegulas wanted Rex. I’m all for keeping Lynn on as HC as I like the continuity he brings with the players. I just want to see them bring on a DC that will be flexible to recognize the players he has and not force them into schemes that won’t capitalize on their strengths. I’d love for them to bring Pettine back into the mix. I liked the direction he was going with Schwartz finishing it off.

  17. I’m not a Bills fan, but they should dump Whaley and Russ Brandon. The Bills have only seen the playoffs by watching at home with these two at the helm

  18. Stephen Ross, Dolphins owner, kept making that mistake as well–Parcells and Jeff Ireland hired Tony Sparano, who eventually faded out after playoff rookie season, so when Ireland fired Sparano he hired Philbin and then he got fired himself, and then they got GM Tannenbaum, who fired Philbin. When Ross finally figured that one out, he got Tannenbaum to hired Chris Grier as GM–and then they got Adam Gase, who should be around for a long time.

    In other words, get rid of Whaley and maybe you guys have a shot at a good HC. Because the AFC East needs good HCs–who isn’t sick and tired of the Pats? (Yeah, Pats fans…)

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