Every bit of available evidence since Sean McDermott arrived would suggest he’s the man running the show for the Buffalo Bills.
Despite saying at his introductory press conference that General Manager Doug Whaley would maintain control over the 90-man roster, it has been the coach serving as the “one voice” for every decision the team has made, including the drawn-out process that led quarterback Tyrod Taylor being brought back. Whaley won't even be present at the team's annual pre-draft luncheon April 20, which has been commonplace since he took over.
That could be because Whaley’s most recent press conferences have been painful from a public-relations standpoint. Or, it could indicate that the new coach is calling the shots, and that Whaley’s power within the organization has been diminished.
Since being hired, the Bills have released cornerbacks Nickell Robey-Coleman, kicker Dan Carpenter and safeties Corey Graham and Aaron Williams. Those are all players Whaley signed to contracts, or extensions.
Taylor has been retained – a decision that left up to Whaley likely would have been different. Several reports last season, both locally and nationally, suggested that the Bills’ general manager was ready to move on from the quarterback.
Scott Berchtold, the team’s long-time vice president of communications, was replaced by Derek Boyko, with whom McDermott had a previous relationship with from their time together in Philadelphia.
All of that suggests McDermott is calling the shots at One Bills Drive. Keep that in mind when digesting the following from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, published Thursday.
“I continue to hear that new Bills coach Sean McDermott has growing cachet with ownership and that team could be bringing in vice presidents and/or personnel figures with ties to the coach in the near future,” La Canfora writes. “Panthers director of player personnel is someone particularly well thought of who could end up in Buffalo after the draft in one capacity or another. There are already rumblings that the marriage of McDermott and Bills Gm Doug Whaley likely isn’t built to last.”
While it may seem odd on the surface to change general managers right after the draft, that is when most moves with the scouting department take place. Whaley took over for Buddy Nix shortly after the 2013 draft, for example.
The Bills’ power structure has both Whaley and McDermott reporting directly to owners Terry and Kim Pegula, so if the coach has their ears, a change could indeed take place.
Getting along with the head coach is something Whaley has been unable to do in two previous chances with the Bills. While it seemed like he was getting a third, based on La Canfora’s report Thursday, that could be coming to an end sooner than later.