Doug Whaley is going to lead the search for a next coach.
He, apparently, had very little to do with the hiring or firing of the last one.
Whaley, Rex Ryan and the Pegulas held their normal Monday conference call after the loss to the Dolphins Christmas Eve.
According to Whaley, Rex requested a private conversation with the Pegulas. The next thing he remembers is being told that Rex Ryan was being fired.
Whaley did not ask for an explanation. He says he did not have an inkling that Rex could be fired.
“I’m not going to question it. I’m going to execute it,” Whaley said.
As a result, the Pegula statement–which discusses the timing of the firing, not the reason–will stand as the only Bills comments on Rex’s dismissal.
Whaley often pointed to the Bills power structure with Rex, where the GM and head coach report to the owner, but not to each other, as reasoning for being left out of the loop.
That power structure could change when the new head coach is hired.
Whaley would not hint at what he’s looking for with the next top coach, saying he wants the best guy to help the Bills win.
He did confirm the Bills have requested an interview with Cardinals offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin.
Whaley would say the team is searching for continuity. “A coach for the next 10-15 years.”
Anthony Lynn isn’t quite continuity. Whaley labeled him “familiarity” and would not say he’s the favorite to get the job.
“It’s an open search,” he said.
Whaley opened his press conference by saying 7-9 “wasn’t good enough. It starts with me.”
However, he said more than once that the Bills are close and referenced close losses to Seattle and Miami.
“If you look at season in totality, we did some good things. We were highly competitive,” Whaley said. “We’re not a 4-12 team. We’re not that far away.”
This coaching search seems to be a step up in responsibility for Whaley. He was one voice in a chorus when Rex was hired. The final decision rested with the Pegulas.
Ownership will again make the final call on a new coach, but Whaley says he’s in charge of this search alone.
Whaley called team president Russ Brandon a “sounding board”, but said Brandon’s added responsibilities as president of both the Sabres and Bills has forced him away from adding input to football decisions.
Outside of head coach, the next most important decision Whaley has is with quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor was pointed and unabashed expressing his displeasure for being demoted last weekend. Whaley was not bothered.
“I would be upset if he wasn’t upset (about benching),” Whaley said. “We sat him down to look at younger guys.”
Whaley addressed the injury guarantee in Tyrod’s contract by saying, “if we had something to play for against the Jets, (Tyrod) would have been out there.”
Whaley’s absence from a microphone was also discussed Monday. He said it’s by design, not to impede the authority of the head coach.
“We have policy that we have one voice during season and that’s the head coach,” Whaley said. “After the season, I am that voice.”
Whaley says he speaks for the Pegulas as an explanation why they won’t meet with media, even though the GM had precious few answers about the Pegulas’ decision to fire their head coach.
He also didn’t offer much on Anthony Lynn’s ascension to interim coach. Whaley said that was a Rex recommendation.
Whaley took responsibility when mandated. For example, when it was brought up Whaley said he wouldn’t last if EJ Manuel didn’t last, Whaley admitted it wasn’t a smart thing to say.
He then pointed out the Bills found another QB in Taylor.
Now, Whaley must find a coach and possible a quarterback.
Two of the few concrete pieces of information gleaned from the 40 minutes Whaley sat with media.