It has been a little over six months since we have had an approval poll and discussion centered around Buffalo Bills president and chief executive officer Russ Brandon. His name has been in the news a bit lately, so today seems like as good a time as any to re-visit this particular topic of conversation.
John Wawrow of The Associated Press reported on Monday evening, after speaking with Brandon, that the Bills have employed a clean slate mentality with regards to pending contract negotiations between the team and safety Jairus Byrd.
"It's a process and there's no carryover," Brandon told Wawrow. "You start over again and you try to get something done. We just weren't able to come up with a solution that worked for both parties, so you reset it and start again."
You can catch up on the nearly year-long saga between the Bills and Byrd in our dedicated StoryStream.
Wawrow also confirmed that Brandon has held discussions with Rogers Communications about the team's Toronto series. Brandon told reporters as early as December 4 that he would be reviewing the series, with the Toronto Sun confirming that meetings were forthcoming earlier this month. We are not privy to any details or thought processes beyond the review, but Brandon has not ruled out the possibility of finding a way to bring the deal to an end.
A benefit of the Toronto series for the Bills has been outsourcing a potential blackout game, which Brandon and the team had to dance around three times at Ralph Wilson Stadium this past season. In two cases - Week 6 against Cincinnati, and Week 11 against division rival New York - Bills owner Ralph Wilson bought out the remaining tickets to ensure the game would be televised locally. One game was blacked out: a Week 16 shutout win over Miami.
During the season, Brandon announced that the team had hired Mike Lyons to head up the organization's new department of analytics. He was careful to note that Lyons' input would not supersede any of the processes already in place with the team - instead, they'll supplement them - and really, we haven't heard much more about Lyons' role beyond the day the announcement came down.
Bills head coach Doug Marrone credited Brandon in the team's recent defensive coordinator turnover, as well. Brandon made it clear that the team would not stand in the way of any coaches getting promotions around the league, and held to that when Mike Pettine left to become the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns (and took several assistants with him). Marrone credited Brandon for giving him the latitude to make a swift and notable strike at a replacement; former Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was hired to replace Pettine less than 30 hours after Pettine's departure. Both Marrone and GM Doug Whaley mentioned that Brandon was involved in the planning process when the team was preparing for the possibility of Pettine leaving.
Even with a weekly radio appearance during the season, Brandon spends most of his time in the background, with Marrone and Whaley taking center stage for the football operation while he concentrates on higher-level aspects of the organization. Brandon has now been in his current role, as the leader of the Bills organization, for a little over a year. How do you feel about the direction the franchise has charted under Brandon's watchful eye?