105.5 The Team – For the better of two weeks Bills head coach Rex Ryan has been hung out to dry, left to field questions about his future all by his lonesome, without any sort of public support from the front office. While Ryan affirmed as recently as Tuesday that an endorsement isn’t necessary, he also at one point admitted it would be nice. On Friday, Bills general manager Doug Whaley finally made an attempt at some damage control breaking that silence in an interview with WGR 550.
“Fellas, lets put it this way, nobody knows out future” Whaley said of Ryan returning in 2017 to begin his weekly appearance with Howard Simon and Jeremy White. “Look where we are. We owe it to our fans and our owners to keep the focus on Miami, cause we’re still in this. As small a chance as everyone says we have, we still have a chance.”
“We’re focused on the games. Obviously the speculation is out there that you guys have to talk about to fill content with, but with us we’re all about what’s ahead of us and this week it’s Miami.”
That non-answer was followed up with a question about the rocky relationship between Ryan and himself, which several reports have cited as a major determinant in Ryan’s pending firing.
“First of all, [our relationship is] constant communication,” Whaley remarked. “During the year I know that he’s always busy so I wait for him to come into my office. Now in the off-season I kind of take the lead role. It’s one of those things, I have the 53 [man roster], he has the game day 46. Any stuff out there about the contrary that we’re at odds with each other is totally ridiculous.”
Whaley went on to explain that there is a “process” that goes into hiring and firing a coach, but that ultimately ownership has the final say. He also expressed no concern over his own job security.
Later on the conversation transitioned from Ryan’s job to evaluating quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who is due more than $27 million at the start of the 2017 league year and shown little progress in his second year as the Bills stater. From the sounds of it, Taylor will get the remainder of the season to prove he’s worth the money.
“That [decision] will be determined in the off-season,” Whaley explained. “We’re gonna take this whole season to evaluate and I’m a big believer in ‘the information makes the decision.’ So why not give yourself a chance to get as much information that you can, so you can make an informed decision.
“We will evaluate him as his total body of work, and where we want our quarterback of the Buffalo Bills to be next year. We want to make sure the movie’s final credits are rolling before we make a decision on it or put a review on it.”
Asked sarcastically whether he’s ever walked out of a movie, Whaley responded, “no, I paid money I’m gonna get my money’s worth.” He went on to say that if the value for a QB is there, they won’t hesitate to draft another one in 2017.
There is no media availability at One Bills Dr. on Friday, so neither Ryan or Taylor will have a chance to respond to Whaley’s comments until after tomorrow’s game against Miami.
First off, props to WGR for asking the questions that needed to be asked. For the better of two weeks they’ve been the only media outlet with access to Whaley and needed to at least get responses from him on these subjects. Bravo to them, but not so much for Whaley. No one who listened to that interview should walk away feeling reassured about Rex Ryan or Tyrod Taylor being here next season.
Whaley was a sly as a politician, dodging questions and provided listeners with more fluff then actual content. The “none of us know our future,” response, which he coincidentally took from Ryan’s post game presser last Sunday, is the PR way of not committing to his firing. Outside of saying that rumors of he and Ryan’s contentious relationship are “completely ridiculous,” and advocating that the lines of communication are constantly open, Whaley didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement of the head coach, either.
The same goes for his comments on Tyrod Taylor – it’s about what he didn’t say, not what he did. He certainly didn’t commit to Taylor long-term, constantly hinting at evaluating him at the end of the season before deciding on his option, and using the metaphor about not writing a review until the movie credits are rolling, to which Jeremy followed up brilliantly with that walking out early question.
Here’s the thing though, if the credits are rolling that also means the movie is over, much like Taylor’s time in Buffalo could be after these final two games. To Jeremy’s point, you don’t always need to get to the end of the movie to realize it’s complete garbage, and if analysts and even fans of the game can notice Taylor hasn’t made progress through 27 games as the Bills starting QB, then Whaley and his staff, which is paid to notice it, surely does as well. He doesn’t need these last two games to know what Taylor is.
While it may seem like the Bills GM said a lot in his 15 plus minutes on WGR, he actually said very little, which only raises the red flag higher for both Ryan and Taylor. It also doesn’t erase the fact that no one from the front office even broached these topics until nearly two weeks after they first surfaced.
Based on the Bills silence on the subject and even Ryan’s tone, he’s as good as gone, regardless of what happens the rest of the season. Two wins won’t change the Pegula’s minds if they’ve already been made up, as it seems they are. As for Taylor, should they bring him back – which is still a possibility from what I understand – it won’t be on the deal the two sides agreed upon in August.
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