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Doug Whaley end-of-season press conference recap

Wheeeeeeeeew... that was fun.

Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley spoke to the media on Monday afternoon, and it was, well... interesting.

Here’s everything you need to know from his end-of-season press conference:

On the Bills’ 2016 season:

This is up for debate. I, personally think the Bills are closer to making the playoffs than they are to being a legitimate bottom-feeder, but there are definitely people out there who’d disagree with that sentiment. And that’s fine.

On the hiring and firing of Rex Ryan:

On the surface, this was the most troubling and unusual takeaway from Whaley’s press conference.

The fact that he was basically kept in the dark about Rex being on the hot seat and wasn’t involved (or in the room) during the firing is extremely unusual for a GM and proves the Pegulas were the essentially the sole decision-makers in giving Rex the axe.

Even when pushed on multiple occasions, Whaley made sure he didn’t say anything damning about the decision made by the Pegulas — you know, his bosses — which is frustrating for those who want answers directly from Terry and Kim but completely understandable.

On Tyrod Taylor’s future with the Bills:

This shouldn’t be surprising, and makes plenty of sense. It’s why I think Tyrod was kept on the sidelines for Week 17.

The Bills didn’t want to force Tyrod on the next head coach. An injury in the final game would have done that.

On the Bills’ current head-coach search:

This is good news for the Bills, as it’s logical for the senior-most football guy to be the one leading the search for the next head coach. Those tweets provide more evidence that Whaley didn’t exactly “lead” the head-coach search in 2015.

This also indicates exactly what I was suspecting and wrote about a week ago — Whaley kept his job as GM because the Rex hire was, almost entirely, a Pegula/Brandon hire.

More to that -- Brandon’s expanded role with Pegula Sports and Entertainment will keep him out of this coaching search, so when the new coach is hired, we won’t read a “don’t let him out of the building” line from Brandon.

Whaley repeatedly called the hiring of Rex a “Bills decision” but also made mention of Rex reporting directly the ownership during his time as Buffalo’s head coach.

The fact that the Pegulas have the final say on the hire is normal.

On rumors his “reputation” may limit Bills in head-coach search:

This was a non-starter for me. If a head coach wants full control of the 53-man roster, he won’t like a GM being in the way, regardless of what team it is.

But that demand is quite bold, seeing as though just a few head coaches have that power in today’s NFL, and Bill Belichick is one of them. Over the past few years, head coaches who were given full control of personnel have flopped. Miserably. See: Josh McDaniels and Chip Kelly.

On Tyrod Taylor not playing in Week 17:

Really nothing to see here. The “business decision” makes perfect sense and it’s what the Bills have been saying ever since news broke of Tyrod not playing in Week 17.

Of course, if Buffalo was in contention on Sunday, Tyrod would have been the starter. That’s really not a revelation of any kind.

On EJ Manuel selection in 2013:

Whaley took ownership of the bad Manuel pick and the confident comment he made soon after that pick.

On reported “leaks” coming from inside the Bills’ building:

It’s never good when there are leaks from within an organization, and Whaley is correct in saying the team should do whatever it can to stop them from happening. Remember, though, agents can provide “inside” info too.


This end-of-season press conference was what has become the norm during Whaley’s tenure as the Bills GM. It was a contentious and awkward.

We learned Whaley was not involved in the decision to fire Rex, which is strange given his title as GM. No question about that.

Then again, although Whaley labeled the Rex hire “a committee hire,” he somewhat distanced himself from being the guy banging the table to hire him in the first place, therefore, it’s not so ridiculous to find out he wasn’t in the room when Rex was fired.

During his time as Bills GM, Whaley clearly hasn’t had nearly as much power as other GMs around the league, particularly when it comes to dealing with the team’s head coach. Will that change? We’ll see. It should. Keep it mind though, he’s in charge of the Bills’ draft and endeavors in free agency. Those two job responsibilities are the most important of any front-office employee. Whaley said a decision has yet to be made regarding whether the next head coach will report to him or directly to the Pegulas.

It sounds like, without Brandon’s presence, Whaley will be the central figure in this head-coach search, as ownership has realized the lapse in judgement made in 2015. Lastly, a final decision on Tyrod Taylor will not be made until the Bills have a new head coach.