In his first public comments since the Buffalo Bills fired him as general manager on April 30, Doug Whaley made no attempt to deflect blame for his fate.
"I said this as soon as I got in this business, it's a production-based business and we did not produce well enough when I was in the head of the football operation department and I take full responsibility for that and I don't blame anybody but myself," Whaley told SiriusXM NFL Radio Monday. "And I wish the Pegulas and the Buffalo Bills all the luck in the world, and I don't look at anybody else in that mirror except myself in the mirror for not being the head of that organization today."
What did Whaley see as his biggest failure?
Not delivering a franchise quarterback, which, without mentioning his name, was a clear indication he does not consider Tyrod Taylor to be in that category.
"I think the easiest way to try to get that production up is finding the quarterback," Whaley told co-hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan. "I've always said, it's an easy business, but it's a hard business. It's an easy business, because if you get a franchise quarterback, everything else is a lot easier. But it's hard finding that franchise quarterback.
"But I think putting all your efforts into trying to find that franchise quarterback, but also building that team until you get that, that's a tricky business and it's not easy. And if I get a shot again, I'm going to try to map out a road map to accomplish both at the same time, but try to get that franchise quarterback as quickly as possible because, as they say, when you have that guy under center, you need only one guy that's on every day.
"But if you don't have that guy under center, you need 45 guys on every single game and that's tough to do in this type of field that we're in because you're dealing with individuals. And to get 45 individuals working together as one and everybody being on every time you go on the field, that's tough."
Whaley insisted there was nothing awkward about working with coach Sean McDermott during the Bills' draft last month, despite the fact there was rampant speculation Whaley's firing -- which happened the morning after the draft -- was imminent.
He also described extra first-round choice for 2018 that the Bills acquired as part of their trade with the Kansas City Chiefs a "parting gift." The deal, which allowed the Bills to move from the 10th overall pick to the 27th spot (where they selected cornerback Tre'Davious White), also resulted in Buffalo receiving a third-round choice that was given up in another trade for an additional second-rounder this year.
"It wasn't uncomfortable at all (in the draft room)," Whaley said. "I mean, we worked well together and it was a great working relationship, not only with the coaching staff but with the Pegulas and our personnel department, and I think what came to fruition during draft day was a testament to how well we worked together in that short amount of time. Not only did we fill needs with guys at the right value, with (first-rounder) Tre'Davious White as a corner since we lost Stephon Gilmore, with (second-rounder) Zay Jones as the receiver since we lost two receivers (Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin) and we didn't have a No. 2.
"And then they have some question marks at tackle and Dion Dawkins in the second round as well. To be able to move around and fill those needs and not overpay, I think, again, is a testament to all of us being on the same page. And not to mention, setting the Bills up in the future by having two first-round picks next year. Obviously, we gave up one to go up and get Sammy, but I'll have to say, as a parting gift, we left them with two going into next year."
Here's what Whaley had to say about other topics covered during the interview:
On what he learned about McDermott during their brief time together: "I'll tell you this much, the guy's methodical. And the one thing that really impressed us through the interview process was how detailed he is and methodical in his approach to everything he does. So the one thing I feel very confident that the Buffalo Bills, he will have them in position to win a lot of games. They won't be beating themselves. He will have them prepared as well as any coach in the NFL, and the game won't be determined on them beating themselves because he will have them prepared."
On his greatest achievements with the Bills: "I think one of the guys that we really take a lot of pride in was Ronald Darby. It was after we obviously traded up and then lost the first-round pick for the Sammy Watkins trade. Sammy is poised to make a big jump. But to find a talent in Ronald Darby in the second round, when we didn't have a first-round pick, and I think he ended up being No. 2 in the defensive-rookie-of-the-year voting, that was really impressive. And we're really excited with not only last year's draft, with Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland, we just feel that that's going to have two first-round picks and basically three second-round picks on the field for the Bills this year because those two last year, most of their year was cut short because of injuries."
On what's next for him: "Well, right now, I'm reconnecting with the family. It's been 20-some years of just all out focus on football and this time of year thinking about OTAs, so I get up in the morning, take the daughter to school, reconnect with my wife. I'm just going to take a deep breath, sit back, relax and just listen to things that come my way. I don't have anything in mind. It's one of those things where I talked to (former Ohio State coach) Jim Tressel. He sent myself and Jim Monos, our player-personnel guy with the Bills that also got let go, he sent us a text (that read): 'The next chapter could be your best chapter.' So I'm excited to see what's around the corner and if I stay in football, I know that like the back of my hand and I wouldn't be opposed to that. But if other opportunities come my way, I'm definitely going to listen and try to figure out what's best for me and my family going forward."
On Terry and Kim Pegula: "Great owners. Great people and great owners. There's nothing that we asked as a personnel department that they said no to. If you ever get a chance or can get on the (Bills') website and look at our draft room, it is state of the art and it's the best, I would probably say, in the league."