Bills President Talks Role, Whaley, Marrone

When Terry Pegula and Kim Pegula officially became the new owners of the Bills, Terry assumed the CEO title that Russ Brandon had previously held, but Brandon retained his role as the team’s president. As the club transitions into a new era, Brandon sat down for a Q&A with Tim Graham of the Buffalo News and touched on plenty of interesting topics during the course of their conversation. While the whole interview is worth checking out for Bills fans, we’ll round up several of Brandon’s more notable comments right here:

On why Brandon is the right fit for his current job despite the Bills’ 14-year streak of no playoff berths:

“I’ve only been president since January 1, 2013, and have hired only one coach, Doug Marrone, and one GM, Doug Whaley. They have complete autonomy to run the football side of the operation. If someone wants to grade me since I was hired in 1997, it should be for building our business model and keeping the franchise financially competitive. I have a passion for what I do, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can for this franchise and continue to build this business. My credentials stand for themselves here.”

On the job Whaley has done since taking over as the club’s general manager:

“When you look at the Jerry Hughes trade, Ty Powell off Seattle’s practice squad, Stefan Charles off Tennessee’s practice squad and some of the other moves [Whaley] has made, he’s put us in a very good position moving forward. He’s revamped the personnel department since he took over by bringing in Jim Monos from New Orleans to oversee player personnel and Kelvin Fisher from Pittsburgh to oversee college scouting. He has not sat on his hands since he took over as GM, and whether people did like the move or didn’t like the bold move to trade up for Sammy Watkins, it shows a lot of conviction on his end. I give him a lot of credit for that.”

On Brandon’s comment that 2014 was Whaley’s first draft, which some viewed as an attempt to distance the GM from 2013’s E.J. Manuel pick:

Buddy Nix completely ran the football operations [in 2013]. You have your scouts and your personnel, but at the end of the day the responsibility of every draft is the person pulling the tag. I was just stating the facts. In the 2013 draft, Buddy Nix was general manager. My responsibility is to empower people, and Doug Whaley is empowered to run the football operations. This year was his first draft as general manager.

“That being said, no one is running away from anything. Doug was very involved in that 2013 draft. There’s ownership across the board, but my point was that was Buddy’s draft. At the end of the day, the general manager makes the decision, just like Whales made the decision to move up and take Sammy Watkins. That was his job, his responsibility, and that’s what he’ll be graded on down the road.”

On the futures of Marrone and Whaley in Buffalo:

“I will sit with Terry and Kim, and we’ll discuss and evaluate everything regarding the organization. I think we’re 22 games into their collective careers. I’ve stated it often that Coach Marrone was brought here in early January 2013 to change a culture and build a franchise that everyone’s proud of, and Doug Whaley took over in May of that year. They’re in their infant stages of building that process. We’ve had a lot of change here since 1998, and that is not a formula for success. Obviously, everything is a discussion at the conclusion of the year.”

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