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Bills scouts handle Senior Bowl, coaches stay back

MOBILE, Ala. − The Buffalo Bills' decision-makers have decided to divide duties this week.

Rather than have General Manager Doug Whaley and coach Sean McDermott at this week's Senior Bowl practices, Whaley is here watching the college all-stars working out in person while McDermott is back at One Bills Drive getting things sorted out with his coaching staff that's still being assembled.

Director of player personnel Jim Monos and members of the Bills' scouting staff are also on hand to watch the North and South squads practice.

"We wanted them to stay back and just immerse themselves in our team, so that we can get there, find out what their vision on these players are and then we can formulate a plan together," Whaley said.

It makes sense for McDermott to remain at the team's headquarters considering he only recently became head coach and needs to get plans in place for the players' offseason program, training camp and the regular season.

On a lengthy to-do list, McDermott is also studying video of the personnel on the roster and meeting with his coaches about the best way to fit offensive and defensive schemes with the talent.

Meanwhile, Whaley and the rest of the scouting staff can see how the members of the North team, under the direction of Chicago Bears coach John Fox and his staff, and the South squad, led by Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson and his staff, go through NFL-style paces Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

As a rule, scouts find watching how the prospects handle the practice week more valuable than seeing them perform in Saturday's game. Numerous substitutions and an uneven level of competition against fellow collegians limit their ability to get a true picture of how the players will perform in the NFL.

McDermott and the rest of the coaches will be able to study video of the practices and the evaluations of the Bills' scouts.

"They'll have plenty of time," Whaley said. "As soon as these practices are over, (video of them) is uploaded in our server back at home, so those guys can watch it and they'll have plenty of time to get immersed in the college guys."

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