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Inside The Bills

Brandon on chain of command in front office

Posted by Chris Brown on March 6, 2014 – 10:46 am

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon thought it was ridiculous to even question how it functions, but when asked how personnel and contract values are set in Buffalo’s front office, he provided an in depth answer to eliminate any doubt as to how things trickle down from GM Doug Whaley when it comes to football and salary cap decisions.

Appearing on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 Brandon explained how personnel and salary cap decisions are delineated.

“I have great belief in our structure, and let me be real clear about this,” said Brandon. “When Doug Whaley was brought in as general manager he was given sole responsibility for the 53-man roster and the value equation on each player. So the composition of the roster and the value on players are totally his responsibility. So he directs the ceiling on each negotiation and he has full salary cap at his disposal and he’s empowered to deploy it as he sees fit.

“My belief is the general manager position is all about personnel and all about player acquisition. (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf is our lead negotiator on each contract. He takes his direction from the GM chair. He is one of the most respected individuals at his craft in this business.

“Every team has a lead negotiator. Jim and I and (Player Personnel Analyst) Kevin Meganck and Doug Whaley sits in on that as well. Quite frankly I don’t want Doug worried about which legal clause to put in a contract when he’s at a pro day, which he is (doing now). But make no mistake he sets the ceiling on each player and how the composition of the roster looks.

“I will tell you this, this organization has never been in more lock step. To offer any other commentary on that is really nonsense and sophomoric in my opinion.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer sheets going out to Bills FAs soon

Posted by Chris Brown on January 21, 2014 – 11:02 pm

Bills GM Doug Whaley is actively scouting prospects at the Senior Bowl, but before he left Buffalo, he along with President and CEO Russ Brandon and Senior VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf put their priority list together of their own free agents. The ones at the top of their list are likely to receive offer sheets soon.

“We ranked them and prioritized them and put a value on each guy,” said Whaley. “With our cap space it shouldn’t prohibit us from doing what we need to do. In this business you can’t get everybody, but we have a priority list and we’ll go down that list.

“We’ll get to work on our guys before that (March 11th) deadline because we have exclusive negotiating rights. Jim Overdorf is at home crunching the numbers right now to get some offer sheets ready to send out to their agents.”


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 8-23

Posted by Chris Brown on August 23, 2013 – 11:48 am

Camp is over and the third preseason game, the most important for the starters is the next on the docket. Now to your questions from AskChris@bills.nfl.net and on Twitter @ChrisBrownBills.

1 - Chris –

Thanks for keeping us updated daily with what we hope is a little bit of inside information.  I have a question about the management structure in the front office.  Over the past three years Buddy Nix made no bones about the fact he did not negotiate contracts — that was the exclusive bailiwick of Jim Overdorf, who presumably got his marching orders from Mr. Wilson.

With Russ Brandon taking over as President and Doug Whaley assuming GM duties, is this still the mode of operation?  Does Doug as GM have any authority to say “I want this guy” to get a deal done, or is he beholden to the number Overdorf (who reports to Brandon) says is the Bills’ top dollar?  Does Overdorf have any obligation to take the sides’ respective “final positions” to (preferably) Whaley or (probably) Brandon for a final decision?

Personally, I like the stance Buffalo took with respect to the Byrd situation, but I’m curious as to who has the final say in contract negotiations.

Appreciate any insight you can provide.
Thanks again and Go Bills!

Eric Haase
Season Ticket Holder since 1990

CB: As Doug Whaley outlined the other day in a radio interview Jim Overdorf, the Senior VP of Football Administration takes the lead on contract negotiations. He keeps Whaley and Russ Brandon in the loop on developments and consults with them on the state or direction of negotiations.

I don’t know this for sure and Whaley did not spell it out, but I think going into the negotiation all parties involved in the Bills front office know where the line is on a specific contract, so I don’t believe the checking back with decision makers needs to happen. I think the line is drawn in the sand with respect to their budget beforehand.

2 – What’s up Chris

I have a question about the usage of E.J Manuel in year 1. If he doesn’t win the job out right do you think that Nate Hackett will install a package for him so he can get some game experience and slowly work him into the starting role. Or do you see him doing more of the holding the clip board work.

Brian in South Carolina

CB: I think this QB competition is an all or nothing thing. You’re either the starter or you’re not. So if Kolb moves forward as the starter whether by earning it or due to Manuel’s injury, I’m not sure they switch things for a series or two just to get EJ some exposure.

 

3 – Chris, camp is coming up, very quick. I am very excited!

I noticed a parallel between the way Zimmer in Cincinnati uses hybrid linebackers (Maualuga), the way Pettine is starting to with us. I believe the two systems will have a lot of similarities in disguising looks, etc. Do you see the same and also, think that is becoming a trend in 3-4 schemes? What is your opinion of hybrids or twiners, in general?

Thank you for your excellent coverage over the years. The fans appreciate it.
Nick

CB: The similiarities are not by accident. Marvin Lewis and Pettine were both schooled under aggressive 3-4 defensive principles. Lewis in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher and Pettine in Baltimore under Rex Ryan. Zimmer first learned the 3-4 defense under Bill Parcells. Both have morphed into hybrid-front schemes. Disguising looks is more effective when you have hybrid players because the opposing offense cannot identify whether a certain player is a linebacker or a safety (e.g. Bryan Scott), or a DE or an OLB (e.g. Jerry Hughes). As Pettine has said himself, versatility is the strength of his defense. I would imagine Mike Zimmer feels the same.

 

4 – Hi Chris. Thanks for all the information you provide for Bills fans that live outside Western NY. I have always enjoyed reading all your posts. My question is:

With the Bills analytics dept using GPS to better monitor performances during practice, how will they measure these same variables when it comes to full contact games? Are the players allowed to wear these devices during games, or will they only be used during practice? As the season progresses I would imagine that analyzing data from each game from each player might help training staff find potential for injuries and keep them out a couple days of Practice that next week to give them time to recover before they go out and hurt themselves in a practice or other setting.  Thanks again for all the info you provide.

Larry in Tucson

CB: Unfortunately as it’s been explained to me the NFL prohibits GPS tracking devices to monitor performance in games. You’re right they would certainly help in matching the data to the results, or determine based on player load whether resting them is warranted. We already saw an example of that in training camp when Kiko Alonso was held out of the Minnesota game and a couple of practices because his player load was through the roof.

5 – Hey Chris,
Appreciate all the work you do and insight you provide. I remember Stevie saying at one point that under Chan Gailey the receivers were able to have some freedom with running their routes just as long as they got to their spot at the right time. I was curious if Doug Marrone will still allow Stevie to run his routes as he has been.  I feel like Stevie has a unique skill set with the way he gets open and shakes defenders. I see the other receivers gearing towards running more quick crisp routes which matches their skills. I’m hoping the staff does recognize Stevie’s abilities and can get creative with him. I was curious of your thoughts or if you had any insight regarding Stevie and how he fits in their offensive plans. I’m really looking forward to his season. It’s about time he gains some respect around the league. One last thing do you know if the Bills are sticking with the blue away pants this year?

Thanks for your time, Jillian CT

CB: Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett shed a little light on this subject. He and receivers coach Ike Hilliard have reined Johnson in a bit in some areas with his improvisational route running. Hackett emphasized the timing of the quarterback’s footwork with the precision of the route as the reason why.

Johnson will still have opportunities to go with the ‘herky jerk’ as he calls it, he just won’t make use of it as often.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Background on coach search from Doug Whaley

Posted by johnmurphyshow on January 7, 2013 – 7:45 pm

It was a whirlwind six days for the Bills four-man coaching search committee and it wound up Sunday, with the decision to hire Doug Marrone.

Monday night on The John Murphy Show, one of the members of that committee shed some light on the hiring process.  Assistant General Manager Doug Whaley joined GM Buddy Nix, President and CEO Russ Brandon, and Sr. VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf in Phoenix for the six day interview process.

Whaley says the group got busy as soon as their plane landed  in the Arizona desert last Tuesday night.

“As soon as we touched down, we had an interview scheduled for that night,” Whaley said.  “And from that night, all the way until we left, we had interviews.  One day we actually had three.  We had a breakfast interview and then an interview late at night.  That was very exhausting.”

Whaley says all four Bills officials took part in the interview process, as the team talked to five candidates during their time in Phoenix.  GM Buddy Nix took the lead role in the questioning.

“Buddy headed the whole thing,” Whaley told John Murphy.  “He leaned on us for expertise for picking up different things that came from that interview that maybe he was concentrating on the next question.  Or just different nuances—my expertise on personnel, maybe I interjected on that.  J-O (Jim Overdorf-Sr. VP of Football Administration) answered if the coach had any questions on the cap or contract negotiations.  And  Russ Brandon was there to handle stadium lease questions and the ownership situation.  So we all had our areas of expertise, but Buddy was the main focal point of the interview.”

Whaley agrees with Nix’s comments from earlier Monday, when the GM said the Bills brain trust knew they had their man the first time they met with Marrone.

“I’d have to say he was what we were looking for, and the criteria that Russ laid out before we went to Arizona,”  Whaley said on the radio show.

“It was check mark, check mark, check mark on all of those aspects.  His total package.  His background, his demeanor, his resume, and what he wants to accomplish and how he wants to accomplish it.”

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills,  WGR Sports Radio 550.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Smith to interview on weekend

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2013 – 10:39 am

There have been some conflicting reports on when and where Lovie Smith will interview for the Bills vacant head coaching job, so take it for what it’s worth. But ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Bills will conduct their interview with Smith over the weekend, which really makes for a tight schedule for team President and CEO Russ Brandon and his search committee.

The Bills coaching search team, which includes GM Buddy Nix, Assistant GM Doug Whaley and Sr. VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf, is scheduled to also interview Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy this weekend. It’s been reported that Smith will interview in Buffalo, and Schefter is saying that interview will happen this weekend. Whether it’s realistic logistically remains to be seen knowing these interviews can sometimes last 4-6 hours.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Kelly to meet with Bills Friday

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2013 – 7:12 am

USA Today first reported that the Bills along with the Eagles and Browns all have interviews lined up with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly after tonight’s Fiesta Bowl between Oregon and Kansas State. If a subsequent Associated Press report is correct, the Bills will have first crack at the innovative offensive coach.

According to the AP, Kelly will interview with the Bills on Friday, a day after the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. Kelly is considered on of the hotter NFL coaching candidates in the college ranks.

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, GM Buddy Nix, Assistant GM Doug Whaley and Sr. VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf have all been in Arizona since Tuesday interviewing potential coaching candidates. The search committee has already interviewed former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt and current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.

Buffalo’s search committee is then expected to travel to Denver this weekend for a reported weekend interview with Denver offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. That report also came from the Associated Press.


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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Whisenhunt tonight, Horton Wed.

Posted by Chris Brown on January 1, 2013 – 9:00 pm

According to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, the Bills trip to Arizona was done to interview former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt this evening with one of his assistants up next.

Per LaCanfora’s report Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, GM Buddy Nix, Assistant GM Doug Whaley and Sr. VP of Football Administration Jim Overdorf met with Whisenhunt. They’re reportedly scheduled to interview Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton Wednesday.

Horton already interviewed for the Cardinals head coaching job today as he’s still under contract to Arizona.

It’s been also speculated that the Bills may catch up with Oregon head coach Chip Kelly as his team gets set to play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, AZ on Jan. 3rd.


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Posted in Inside the Bills