Bills waste no time moving on, fire GM Doug Whaley

Photo from CBSsports.com.

It didn’t take long for the BIlls to announce they are moving on from general manager Doug Whaley. As customary this time of year, they waited until after the draft to make the announcement.

It also appears many scouts may also be looking for a job after anonymous reports that many expected to be relieved of their duties this week. Because scouts and GMs know the draft board and strategy they are often released immediately following a draft so they can’t share information with other teams about the Bills’ intentions.

Whaley’s tenure in Buffalo was fraught with missteps and a turnstile at the head coaching position. During his four years as general manager, the Bills cycled through head coaches Chan Gailey, Doug Marrone and Rex Ryan before hiring Sean McDermott in January.

Photo from UPI.com.

It’s widely believed this draft was McDermott’s show all the way, and judging from the way it played out, it’s easy to see there’s definitely a new sheriff in town.

While Whaley was resoundingly criticized for giving up two first round draft picks to select Sammy Watkins, his difficult relationship with the media and obvious discomfort speaking in public didn’t help.

Many of you who have read my babble about Whaley over the years know I was incensed by those who went out of their way to shame him because he was clearly uncomfortable speaking in public. His discomfort was like blood in the water, and the media quickly seized on it and sent his public image into a death spiral.

I even suggested several times that the Bills should hire a consultant to help him deal with his difficulty with public speaking, which they did… but apparently too late to save his job in Buffalo. Whaley’s introverted personality left him vulnerable to criticism.

Photo from buffalobills.com.

As a full-fledged card member of that club myself, there were many cringe-worthy moments when it was painfully obvious there was not a good “job-personality” fit with Whaley as a general manager in the NFL. Not because introverted people don’t make great managers (in fact some argue they have distinct advantages), but the challenges of being socially awkward are amplified in the highly visible role of GM in the NFL.

Whaley’s departure likely comes as little surprise to most who closely follow the ills of the Bills. It’s pretty clear the Pegulas have entrusted Sean McDermott to lead the organization moving forward, so I expect to see Whaley replaced by someone McDermott feels more comfortable with moving forward.

While placing that much power in one person to turn the enormous burden of 17 years of failure into success is risky, it makes sense to give McDermott the power to bring in the people he’s most comfortable with… and there will be no lack of clarity about who is to blame if the whole thing blows up.

As a fan, I think the move was inevitable, and likely necessary. But as a fellow introvert, I’m sad Doug Whaley had to endure such an enormous amount of stinging criticism about his discomfort with public speaking along the way.

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Robyn Mundy

About Robyn Mundy

Robyn Mundy is a retired oncology nurse and psychotherapist who loves to write about her life-long passion for the Buffalo Bills, and occasionally something of clinical or social relevance. She lives with her husband Gary and their dogs in the shadow of the glorious Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. Robyn is also a proud founding sponsor. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynMundyWYO.

16 thoughts on “Bills waste no time moving on, fire GM Doug Whaley

  1. Awesome! I was married to an individual who had issues with their speech and public speaking. She was brilliant, but because she couldn’t convey her thoughts, people thought less of her. Good luck to Doug Waley, there is a place for you in the NFL and some organization will be lucky.

  2. Personally I never put much stock into the media drama surrounding Whaley’s questionable off the cuff comments while speaking to the media, in fact I empathize with him and don’t see it as a basis to judge his performance as Bills GM.
    The fact that the Bills had the absolute worst in the league percentage of home grown draft picks on the roster is what really mattered.

  3. There is now more speculation that Whaley wanted out of his contract after the draft. Maybe we will find out sooner rather than later.
    In defense of him, 3 different head coaches with different schemes they wanted to run. The back breaker was the Rex hiring which he had nothing to with.

    He won’t be out of a job for long but not as a GM.

  4. I’m fine parting with Whaley and whoever made the decision to trade up twice in the second round…hopefully that was Whaley’s fired arse. If the Bills bring in Carolina Beane, though, I can’t say I’m encouraged any. The Panthers have have two good seasons the last 7 this dude has been a part of and McD has done nothing to earn the ridiculous influence he seems to have. Why don’t they hire me if they just want to empower people that haven’t done anything to earn it… They can even fire me two days later instead of waiting two years and let me walk with my nice, fat contract to go away.

    I hope Choad Kelly pans out…I’ve always liked the Broncos. I need a competent team to root for for a change.

  5. Joma- I know you are pissed about the moves up in the draft, but McD said that they knew there was at least one team ahead of them with needs at the position they moved up to get Zay. There is a lot of stuff you and I don’t see, but part of the reason for moving back on day 1 was to have the extra draft picks to be able to negotiate and move to get the players they really wanted.

  6. I wouldn’t go as far as pissed, but I have no confidence in anything this team does…and they don’t appear to know wtf they’re doing. Lose Gillislee then give away the pick they got for losing him, trade down a half round, but then trade up a few spots and give away half of what they got, give the GM an extension, then fire him a few months later twelve hours after the draft, and give a guy with no experience whosoever all the power in the world… I though the incompetence was going away with senile Ralph. The only difference now is they spend a lot of money while making their random moves.

  7. let’s see how many of the players drafted stay on the team as starter or backup. looks like at least 3 or 4 out of 7 instead of Whaley’s average of 1.6 players on the team for every 7 drafted.
    pretty hard to get anywhere when your team is 78% free agents that their former teams didn’t want to pony up to keep.

  8. As opposed to Bills drafted players that are worth keeping, but not ponying up for. Just ask the Pats…

  9. The blame should be shared between Brandon telling Pegula on how to hire a coach (don’t have any preconceived notions, you’ll just know when you have the right one) and the Pegula’s for hiring Rex instead of letting the GM [Whaley] be the one that hired the coach. Constantly switching coaching schemes and not having the right personnel to run those schemes doomed this team. No vision/plan for this team doomed it. Not building the team to win the division also doomed it. Any sensible GM would have watched all the games the division winner [Patriots] played the previous year, seen what their strengths and weaknesses are and developed a road map on how to build a team that can beat the division winner. Hopefully now McDermott is doing that.

  10. The one constant in the long long Bills losing seasons is Russ Brandon! President of both the Bills and Sabres. And he’s leading the search for the new Sabres GM, give me a break.
    Also the Pegulas said they will ask Russ for advice, if needed on their GM search for the Bills. I guess he is Teflon Russ.

    The Pegulas also have said they will leave it up to the new Bills GM if Overdorf should stay or go. Overdorf should have gone right after Whaley. He is the guy that writes a Lot of bad contracts.

    As far as the draft goes, it looked pretty good on paper but we will really start finding out in September.

  11. Sounds like McD was the trade-up happy slappy…

    It was funny listening to WGR this morning, Potsie Capotsie-O was on talking about how McD’s big philosophy was how the players need to earn their spots and contract renewals, etc….lololololololz. The guy that hasn’t earned a damn thing and is handed over the reigns, his big philosophy is earn your job? Hilarious.

    • Joma,

      We’ve heard this before from previous Bills coaches. Right now, it means Jack Schitt!

  12. Good morning…

    I have to get in the habit of checking for new articles as I wondered where everyone was…

    It was an exciting draft, it had a little bit of everything going on. On paper it looks like the Bills did well but so does every draft.

    The new sheriff in town is certainly helping move a rebuilding process along… Hopefully, the Pegulas aren’t over loading McD as he is a first time coach and needs to concentrate on coaching and getting the Bills ready. I’m sure he will have input on the new GM and scouting department but he needs to be the coach first and not pulled in too many directions…

    They upgraded the defensive backfield, WR and O-line and drafted LB’s that can play special teams.. Peterman can be a sleeper at QB and has a chance to develop.. Cardele Jones can throw the ball a mile but he is lacking in reading defenses (a guy that just had a handful of starts in college and it shows)…

  13. “The new sheriff in town is certainly helping move a rebuilding process along… ”

    Rebuilding process? No, they’re going all out to win their 6 games. Considering they were firing Whaley anyhow, I don’t understand why they didn’t just let Kyle move on, pass on Tyrod, maybe even part with McCoy, and get a top pick and QB next year instead of going all-in for their typical Billsy 6, 7, 8 wins. Wait, I do understand…because Bills. It would probably be a good time for them to ditch their unis and get rid of the only good thing they have going for them. Maybe McD is color blind and will choose a nice 12 tone navy blue get up for them.

  14. Good morning….

    Joma Joma Joma so they should just tank the season? Maybe they should just forfeit all their games now, hell with being competitive… Maybe they only win 3 or maybe they win 10 what does it matter as we all know they are not SB contenders. Just keep losing and eventually they may stumble upon a legit franchise QB..

  15. “Just keep losing and eventually they may stumble upon a legit franchise QB..”

    Until the latter happens the former will continue to happen…may as well do it the right way rather than drag this out to 25 or 30.