Inside The Bills

Whaley comments on EJ, Cassel

Posted by Chris Brown on May 23, 2015 – 8:32 am

Bills GM Doug Whaley made an appearance on the Jim Rome Show this week and naturally was asked about the quarterback competition, which will ramp up again when OTAs start on Tuesday.

First, Whaley was asked about the speculative story that Manuel was potentially on the outs with the club this season absent improvement or if he’s unable to win the starting job. Much like offensive coordinator Greg Roman, Whaley dismissed that notion.

“I look at it this way, in this business controversy sells,” Whaley said. “The more controversy that you can drum up then the more interesting people are going to be with whoever brought this idea to the lexicon of thinking. So for us we’re excited about the future of all three of those guys. It’s going to be a great competition. And we can keep three quarterbacks. So I dismiss that as just someone trying to get something stirred during this down time and lack of media stories for the NFL.”

As for his expectations for Manuel heading into the throes of the competition as more of the work moves to the field this spring, Whaley is only anticipating Manuel’s best.

“I look for him to come in and compete and try to take the job,” he said. “Everybody has got an equal footing. It’s a clean slate for all four of our quarterbacks. We’re not tied to anybody. We just want the best man to start. It’s exciting for us.”

Whaley also had good things to say about how Cassel has transitioned to Buffalo following the offseason trade from Minnesota.

“He’s been exactly what we expected,” said Whaley of Cassel. “A veteran force who can galvanize the team and he can teach the young guys the intricate things that quarterbacks do that doesn’t take place on the field. Bringing receivers in and talking about preferences and what he’s seeing. Basically a lot of the things that people on the outside don’t see. He’s done that and he’s not afraid of the challenge. He’s ready to compete.”

Whaley also confirmed that the quarterback competition is more than just a two horse race between Manuel and veteran Matt Cassel, mentioning both Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel. Head coach Rex Ryan has made sure to mention Taylor when asked about the competition as well.

“The way they’re structuring practices everyone is getting a run with the ones,” said Whaley. “So it’s a fair shake. In this system that we’re trying to figure out who is going to be the number one it’s all about competition. That’s why everybody involved is excited about it.”


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Report: Bills hope to lock up Dareus by camp

Posted by Chris Brown on May 22, 2015 – 12:29 pm

While the biggest news concerning Marcell Dareus right now was the one-game suspension handed down by the league Thursday for his off the field incident last year in his native Alabama, the Bills intend to provide much better news concerning the Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s future with the club.

That according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who said the club would like to have Dareus signed to a contract extension before training camp.

Dareus is entering the fifth-year of his rookie contract. Buffalo picked up his fifth-year option last year. Absent a contract extension Dareus would become an unrestricted free agent.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in the wake of their free agent acquisitions this spring stated that getting Dareus signed to a long-term extension was the team’s top priority. With the 2015 draft class under contract, it’s likely that the focus shifts almost solely to getting the Pro Bowl defensive tackle locked up for years to come.

Negotiating a new deal is going to be complicated in the wake of the giant free agent deal signed by Ndamukong Suh with Miami that reportedly totaled $114M over seven years.


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Whaley: drafting to beat division a factor

Posted by Chris Brown on May 4, 2015 – 6:30 pm

In the wake of the 2015 NFL draft Bills GM Doug Whaley talked about how the actions of dIvision opponents can impact draft decisions at times. 

Appearing on NFL Network Whaley in explaining the Bills’ choice of CB Ronald Darby in round two had a couple of reasons. First and foremost Darby was the top player on their board at the time. Second the NFL has largely become a passing league. His last point however, dear with the AFC East clubs the Bills will face twice a season.

“I think when you look at your board, if everything is close between the two players, you’ll go with a need player or a guy that helps you win the division,” said Whaley. “Because to make the playoffs for sure, you have to win your division. So that’s the first stated goal of our team.”
With the Dolphins and Jets both reloading at receiver this offseason and the Patriots one of theist productive passing teams in football, grabbing a highly touted cornerback capable of playing press man could prove valuable should injury strike the position. 


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Whaley says OT ranks “thinned out”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 1, 2015 – 6:10 pm

There were seven offensive linemen selected last night in the first round of the NFL draft. Five of them were tackles.

And as he gets set for Buffalo’s first two picks in the draft Friday night, Bills GM Doug Whaley says the ranks of the top offensive tackles have been depleted.

“It’s thinned out a little bit,” Whaley told the John Murphy Show late Friday afternoon. “There’s still a couple there.  The next core of tackles will go pretty early in the second round, in my opinion.”

Whaley may be talking about Pittsburgh’s T.J. Clemmings and Oregon’s Jake Fisher who went undrafted in last night’s first round.

Whaley thinks there’s a potential for a run on guards during tonight’s second round of the draft. And he believes runs on positional groups usually occur around the offensive line positions.

“It’s one of those things—once one goes, everybody gets kind of nervous thinking, ‘If I wait out this round, I don’t know if I’ll be able to get him next round.’  So you have to jump and pull the trigger,” he said.

“That’s the type of position, that if you like something about the guy, you might as well go ahead and get him and work with him. If he pans out, great. If not, you get one next year.”

The entire interview with Bills GM Doug Whaley will air tonight at 7pm on The John Murphy Show.

 

 

 

 

 


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Whaley says phone action on trade is picking up

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 1, 2015 – 5:55 pm

Hours away from the start of the second round of the NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills are still interested in trading down from their 2nd round selection.  GM Doug Whaley indicated yesterday the Bills are interested in talking to teams who want to move up to Buffalo’s spot in the second round, 80th overall.

Late Friday, Whaley said unlike yesterday when the phones were quiet, the trade-down talk is picking up.

“Today, the action is starting to pick up,” Whaley told The John Murphy Show. “I’m sure once the draft starts and we get closer to our pick, about three or four picks before us, we expect a heavy volume of calls.”

Whaley and the Bills laid the groundwork for trade-down talks yesterday, by talking to teams they suspect might be interested in moving up to the 50th overall pick.

“We’ve canvassed the whole league,” he said, “but at least we know we can narrow our focus once we get closer. We can pick the teams we know have an interest, and just be more efficient with our time.”

The Bills have two picks tonight, 50th overall and 81st overall (3rd round).


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Bills don’t re-stack board between days 1 & 2

Posted by Chris Brown on May 1, 2015 – 12:45 am

With the advent of round one of the NFL draft standing on its own on day one of the three-day saga, it leaves NFL GMs and their personnel departments time to mull over what has come off the board and what’s left to grab at the start of round two. Some might think if certain prospects came off the board sooner than a team anticipated that they might feel compelled to re-rank their board in preparation for day two. Buffalo doesn’t subscribe to that line of thinking.

Bills GM Doug Whaley in an appearance on the John Murphy Show explained that once the board is finalized that’s it. The reason Whaley and his staff are confident that their board holds up no matter what happens is because of the way they stack it to begin with.

“For us, we’ve done this the last two years, we stack the players as if we had the first pick all the way down to our second-round pick (50th overall). So we’ll stack one through 50. So after round one we won’t re-calculate the board (Thursday night). We’ve already got them stacked. So we’ll keep peeling them off.

“We’ve done the work already, so names will go and when we pick at 50 we might say, ‘Well we’ve got our guy still up there at 50, but our guy at 35 is also still on the board, let’s pick him.’”


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Whaley expected OL run—and it happened

Posted by johnmurphyshow on May 1, 2015 – 12:15 am

When the dust settled after the first round of the 2015 draft, there were seven offensive linemen off the board. And for Bills fans looking for the team to get help up front on day two of the draft, that’s probably not a good thing.

General Manager Doug Whaley knew going in there would be a run on o-linemen. In an interview with The John Murphy Show late Thursday afternoon, Whaley was asked what positions might see a run.

“Probably offensive tackle,” he replied. “That’s usually a position where when one goes, the other ones start going.”

That’s how it played out. Five of the offensive linemen came off the board in a 16-pick span from Ereck Flowers (9th overall to the Giants) to D.J. Humphries (24th overall to the Cardinals).

When he wrapped up the draft, Whaley sounded like it played out just as he expected.

“You always get a run,” he said. “Once one goes, you’ll get a run on offensive linemen. That many—we kinda thought that so we weren’t surprised at all.”

 


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Routine, quiet night in Bills draft room

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2015 – 11:45 pm

Without a first round pick, the Buffalo Bills draft room in Orchard Park had a subdued, businesslike atmosphere Thursday night.  GM Doug Whaley emerged from the room after round one concluded and said there was very little drama, and very few surprises in Buffalo’s draft headquarters.

“The names came off pretty much the way we thought they would,” Whaley said. “We’ll take some time tonight, go back up there and see what names are on the board and we’ll stack them. We’ll be ready to make a pick tomorrow.  Pretty cut and dried right now.”

Whaley was asked if the Bills fielded any phone calls from teams looking to deal during the first round.

“Only State Farm called, other than that, nobody,” he joked. ” Seriously we did not get any calls. We did not. It was more trying to predict who’s going to go next.  We were betting M-and-M’s on who would go next.”

The Bills have two picks Friday, one in the 2nd round and one in the 3rd.


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Jets get better where they’re already good

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2015 – 11:35 pm

The Bills brain trust spent round one of the draft watching names come off the board, no doubt paying particular attention to the picks by their AFC East rivals.

And when it comes to the New York Jets, it looks like they got a major influx of talent to their already talented defensive line.

The Jets chose USC DE Leonard Williams with the 6th overall pick in the draft. Some draft experts regarded him as the “safest” pick in the draft, others thought he was one of the most talented player available.

Williams doesn’t even turn 21 for another couple of months. At 6-5, 302 pounds, Williams joins a big, physical Jets defensive line that already includes Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison, and Sheldon Richardson.  Wilkerson and Richardson were also first round picks by the Jets.

Bills GM Doug Whaley says the Bills thought highly of Leonard Williams and are sorry to see him land in the division.

“Good player. I wish he didn’t go to the Jets in the division,” Whaley said after round one ended. “Good for them.  He’s a heckuva player. We thought he was the best defensive player and probably the best player in the draft.”

Veteran Muhammad Wilkerson is entering the final year of his contract and the selection of Leonard Williams has ramped up speculation that New York might put Wilkerson on the market.

“”Right now, Muhammad is on our team,”  Jets GM Mike Maccagnan told NJ.com Thursday night.  “Again, I’m not going to speculate. We’re not actively trying to shop Muhammad. Right now, he’s part of us. Obviously, at some point in time, we’re going to talk to him and his agent, and kind of proceed forward.”


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Bills draft room plans for round one

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2015 – 7:15 pm

It’s not likely to be buzzing with activity, but the Bills draft room will be fully staffed and operational Thursday night, even though the Bills do not have a first round draft pick.

GM Doug Whaley says Buffalo’s draft room will not have the usual urgency, without a first rounder in play, but the Bills will be following the first round closely.

“We are approaching it the same way,” Whaley said in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. “We want to see how the board falls, who picks what.  We have friends throughout the league and we want to see who’s going to gain an advantage for their team. And it also sets the tone for us-let’s see who will possibly be there for us at fifty.”

The Bills first pick in the draft is scheduled to be the 50th overall pick, in the second round Friday night.

Whaley was asked if he anticipates a run on any position groups during tonight’s first round.

“Probably offensive tackle,” he said. “That’s usually a position where when one goes, the other ones start going.  And then in subsequent rounds, usually when one running back goes, the other ones start falling in line behind them.”


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Whaley: “Bills would like to trade down”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on April 30, 2015 – 5:55 pm

It’s very likely the Bills will be little more than spectators tonight in the first round of the NFL Draft. And if GM Doug Whaley has his way, the team may wait even longer Friday night before making its’ first selection.

Whaley says the Bills would like to trade down from their spot in the second round (50th overall) and pick up some extra draft picks. And the Bills GM says  he’s already discussed the possibility with other potential trade partners.

“We would like to go down from fifty and gain some more picks,” Whaley said in an appearance on The John Murphy Show. “Going up would be really tough.  We don’t want you guys (media) sitting in this position next year and be bored.”

In his second draft as the Bills GM, Whaley says the Bills have reached out to other NFL clubs and let them know they are open for business.

“We’ll stack our board after tonight and we have a line where we say we can go down to this bar,” said. “We’ve contacted some teams already as part of the due diligence we do every year. We’ll get an idea of would they be willing to move up to where we are.  We have the framework of, not a deal, but a framework of ‘all right-they’ll listen and we can call them,'”

The entire interview with GM Doug Whaley will air tonight at 7pm on The John Murphy Show.


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Does the draft board see changes this late?

Posted by Chris Brown on April 30, 2015 – 10:03 am

Buffalo’s draft board is essentially finalized after the last pre-draft meetings over the past week. This late in the game many wonder if there are late risers or draft fallers on NFL draft boards in the final meetings to set the board for good. Bills GM Doug Whaley says there are a percentage of prospects that are moved.

In an appearance on the John Murphy Show last week, Whaley admitted that in their final draft board meetings they do tweak some things and some late incoming information can impact a player’s rank on their board.

“You’ll tinker here and there. We have 200 to 250 guys on the board,” Whaley said. “By the time we hear from the coaches and listen to their final reports and hear the final medical reports there will be about 35 to 40 guys who may move.

“Are there drastic movements? Only physical or character things that may move a guy really far down, but mostly with the playing aspect they may move a round or two up. But it’s tinkering.”


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Bradham stunned by Alonso trade

Posted by Chris Brown on April 28, 2015 – 4:19 pm

Knowing the Bills trade opportunity for LeSean McCoy even caught GM Doug Whaley off guard, it’s not surprising to know that Bills LB Nigel Bradham was floored by it as well. The only difference for Bradham however, was his close friendship with Kiko Alonso.

“It’s a tough business man,” said Bradham. “Obviously he’s a close friend of mine and we still talk. I just wish the best for him. He’s going to excel, we all know that he’s a great player and just keep wishing the best for him.”

Bradham said he was surprised by the trade, but understands why the move was made.

“It’s all about making our team better, but it’s just something we’ve got to deal with that,” he said.

On the bright side Bradham understands that with the front office feeling comfortable enough to move Alonso in a trade it was also a direct reflection on the talent the personnel department feels they have in Bradham and Preston Brown.

“It says a lot. It definitely says a lot,” said Bradham. “Obviously that was probably one of the main reasons why they did it. But me and Preston we’ve just got to keep stepping it up and keep getting better every day.”


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Whaley: Really lucky with draft’s OL depth

Posted by Chris Brown on April 27, 2015 – 10:01 am

There’s little debate that Buffalo needs to add to their numbers on the offensive line, particularly at offensive tackle. Fortunately for the Bills this year’s draft class offers some uncommon depth at the guard and tackle positions.

Bills GM Doug Whaley, who made an appearance recently on the Howard Simon show on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550, believes the depth of offensive line talent is quite good in the 2015 class.

“We’re really lucky,” Whaley said. “Guard and the depth of offensive line is something we would be looking at, and this is a deep draft, not only on offensive line but at offensive tackle. Like the coaches have said, we’re going to tinker and put the best five out there. We’re not going to limit yourself to an interior guy, but we will go best offensive lineman. There’s a possibility at pick 50, a possibility in the third round, and a possibility of adding two.”

Buffalo currently has just three offensive linemen on their offseason roster.


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Bills have rep of being open for business

Posted by Chris Brown on April 24, 2015 – 12:48 pm

In our second installment of our ‘On the Clock’ Series presented by BENRUS, we outlined how an influx of new general managers in the NFL has changed the conversation on how to build a roster and acquire talent. Bills GM Doug Whaley has been one of the more aggressive deal makers in the NFL over the last league year (March to March) making eight trades. Whaley feels in the NFL draft that could serve as an advantage for the Bills.

“We’ve built a reputation that we’re open for business any time, any day, anywhere,” said Whaley. “When we’re looking to make a trade it’s a little more difficult because in the end they hold the cards. They hold the assets you’re trying to acquire. So you’re going to probably have to give up a little more than you want, hopefully not.”

Whaley said earlier this week that Buffalo is more likely to trade down than up due largely to the lack of assets to swing a trade. In an interview with Buffalobills.com, Whaley explained the key to a good deal.

“Just the part where everybody in the deal feel comfortable and no one feels slighted,” Whaley said. “That’s where the negotiation comes in and that’s the art of the deal. I rely heavily on (Bills Sr. VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf because he’s been doing it for so long because a lot of it is numbers with the draft chart. A lot of it is gut feel too. A team might come to us and say, ‘We want this guy and we’re willing to give up this.’ And we might say, ‘Well that doesn’t quite work for us, but how about this?’ So you just go back and forth.”


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Whaley on 2nd tier of QB prospects

Posted by Chris Brown on April 22, 2015 – 12:49 pm

Just about everybody knows that Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota are the top two quarterback prospects in this year’s draft class, but how NFL clubs stack the quarterbacks after that on their draft board is a matter of personal preference.

That’s Bills GM Doug Whaley’s opinion. In an appearance on the Howard Simon show this week on Bills flagship WGR Sportsradio 550, Whaley laid out some of the QB prospects he thinks belong in the second tier.

“You’ve got Bryce Petty, Garrett Grayson,” said Whaley. “Those two guys are pretty good. (Sean) Mannion from Oregon State. Theres a clump of those guys where we say, ‘Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.’”

When asked specifically about UCLA’s Brett Hundley, who some clubs have ranked in that second tier, Whaley said the following.

“Guys like Brett Hundley are going to have a longer shelf life to try and get in and produce because he is more of I like to say an athletic thrower where Bryce Petty is more of an athletic passer,” said Whaley. “Those guys will take a little longer, like a Brett Hundley. But he’s in that group, it just depends. (For example) Brett Hundley in the Seattle Seahawks offense might be more attractive to Seattle, so that’s why I say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

In contrast to Petty, who Whaley believes will have to adapt to a pro-style offense.

“You like his deep ball and his short game. You don’t like that it seems everything (in his offense) was pre-determined,” said Whaley. “He’s done some things on the field, but we’ve not seen him do things that we’re going to ask him to do. That’s where the question mark comes, and that’s where the balancing act of where do you have that value, can he do it, can’t he do it, you think he can and can’t’ so where do you put that value?

“Some people think he should go in the second round. Some people think he may take longer or may not be able to do that, and that’s why its harder now to scout these quarterbacks, because you can’t see them do what you want them to do.”

 


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Bills won’t be free agent players next year

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 1:02 pm

The Buffalo Bills made some exciting trades and some aggressive moves in free agency this offseason that has the team poised to bring an end to their playoff drought. But don’t expect the flurry of activity to happen again in 2016.

Bills GM Doug Whaley all but confirmed that with the high-priced players they signed (McCoy, Harvin) and the high-priced players they re-signed (Hughes) or extended (Kyle Williams) they won’t be in a position to spend like that again next March.

“Next year the Bills fans should take vacation during free agency,” Doug Whaley told the John Murphy Show. “Our free agency now, because we’ve drafted so well turns to our own players. Marcell Dareus, Cordy Glenn, Nigel Bradham, Stephon Gilmore that will be our free agency next year. We’ll turn into the Green Bay Packers.”

Whaley knows Dareus and Gilmore will command high price tags based not only on their production, but the position they’ll play with Glenn and Bradham not far behind. That’s why the personnel department is hopeful they can land a contributing player or two late in the draft, who will be far more affordable knowing a lot of cap dollars will be tied into the elite core of players.

“With the guys we’ve paid this year and brought in and the guys we’re going to try to re-sign next offseason those guys are going to be high-priced players,” said Whaley. “So to balance that out you have to hit on some fifth, sixth or seventh round players to have that, for lack of a better term, cheap labor and balance out that top heavy end of the price structure in the cap situation with our top end players.”

 


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Whaley on why moving back in draft makes sense

Posted by Chris Brown on April 21, 2015 – 12:45 pm

Each year every draft is different in terms of the caliber of players it contains. Bills GM Doug Whaley stated at Monday’s pre-draft press conference that they’re more likely to trade back than trade up if such an opportunity arose during the draft. Yes, part of the reason is because they’ve got limited ammunition to swing a deal with just six draft choices. But there’s another factor.

In this year’s draft pool, there’s a healthy consensus among league personnel executives that the difference in the caliber of the prospects from 25 to 75 is not significant. So an opportunity to move back is something that NFL clubs, including the Bills, would be open to discussing in that range.

“I will feel more sure about that after we finish setting our board this week,” said Whaley on the John Murphy Show this week. “But in a preliminary look at it we would have no adverse effect in the caliber of player we get if we move down some. Then we can pick up picks for later on this year or possibly next year.”


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Whaley on tight end need

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 5:21 pm

The Bills held their pre-draft press conference Monday. During the free agent period the Bills signed TE Charles Clay, released Scott Chandler and let Lee Smith sign with Oakland. With four tight ends on the roster, Whaley was asked if there was a need to add one or two more heading into training camp.

“From talking to Coach (Greg) Roman, he’s a multiple tight end guy, so the more tight ends you get—he says sometimes he might use four on game day being active,” said Whaley. “It would not affect us. We have some young guys who are on the squad now that we’re excited to see how they progress. But if that tight end is the guy sticking out there in the second or third round or whenever, and we want to get him—it’s like a salesman.  When you’re a salesman, your boss never says, ‘Stop selling.’  Coaches never say ‘Stop getting me good players.’”

More important than a versatile tight end like Clay, the Bills would appear to need an in-line blocker type for their power run game.

 


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Rex’s role in draft decisions 

Posted by Chris Brown on April 20, 2015 – 2:54 pm

Bills head coach Rex Ryan and GM Doug Whaley are two men that see eye to eye when it comes to building a football team from personnel to playing style. So what does that mean for the level of input Ryan will be asked to provide when it comes to draft prospects?

Whaley at the team’s pre-draft press conference Monday indicated that Ryan will be able to weigh in just like the other coaching staffs.

“We always want to incorporate the coaches scouting process and their thoughts on players into what we’ve done,” said Whaley. “We started this process last May. We value what the coaches’ opinions on players and especially how they see them using them once they get to be Buffalo Bills. So we’ve done that with every coaching staff we’ve been a part of.”

 

 

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