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.
General Manager Doug Whaley has been relieved of his duties.
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 30, 2017
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.
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.
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.