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Buffalo Bills hire talent consultant in wake of public relations turmoil

This is actually a really smart step by the team.

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills are taking steps to improve their public perception this offseason after a rough go to end the 2016 season as met by harsh criticism from local media. The first step was to hire a new Vice President of Communications, Derek Boyko, in February. Now a month later, the Bills have retained the services of a talent consultant to work with members of the organization.

Gerry Matalon, a former talent coach for ESPN, is meeting with Bills leadership this week at the NFL owners meetings, reports Mike Rodak. While he will start with head coach Sean McDermott, he will also work with general manager Doug Whaley and other figures in Buffalo’s organization according to the report.

The Bills had a pair of disastrous press conferences in the wake of the firing of Rex Ryan. First, Anthony Lynn stumbled over timelines and the reasons behind the Tyrod Taylor benching in late December. Then Doug Whaley came out and gave a press conference so bad, people openly called for his firing over his behavior. Local mainstream media outlets blasted the Bills for their image and their lack of transparency to the point of beating a dead horse. Owners Kim and Terry Pegula had to give two interviews just to calm the waters.

This isn’t a new exercise, though. Matalon has worked with NFL players, coaches, and general managers in refining their public presentation in addition to potential broadcasters. It’s a wise move from an organization that has lagged behind in its approach with the media. In fact, it’s probably fair to ask what took so long.