CBS Sports Jason LaCanfora recently reported about a growing rift between Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone and the front office including General Manager Doug Whaley, President Russ Brandon, and Pro Personal Director Jim Monos. There was speculation of tension back in February that Whaley and Marrone were having issues with holdovers from previous regimes, but it’s uncertain on where, and who, the tension lies with.
Football is competitive and tensions will rise here and there, but it can also be subsided with winning. The important relationship is Marrone and Whaley. They have to be on the same page as Whaley has to know what type of players Marrone needs/wants and Marrone has to know who Whaley wants to see more of. If they can’t get along than this will be another failed coaching-GM combination quickly.
After all there is currently a 14 year playoff-less stale air floating around One Bills Drive, if this tension is between Whaley and Marrone then there could be some storms ahead. Otherwise if it goes back to February’s disagreement between what the current regime wants to do, versus what the holdovers feel is best then when a new owner is appointed it will be their job to identify the issue and correct it immediate. If it’s the latter than the fans realize that the problems are most likely from the holdovers, which includes team CEO Russ Brandon.
Brandon has been a constant thorn in Bills fans’ side since he was brought into football operations in 2006. He has been consistently getting elevated despite performance showing that he shouldn’t. He was brought in as a marketing expert, and while training camp in Rochester has regionalized the team and been a success; his experiment in Toronto failed and only fueled speculation that the team would eventually move there after Ralph Wilson Jr. passed. That experiment has since been terminated, but still led to a Toronto based group bidding to buy and thus move the Bills.
However, if it’s uneasiness between coach and GM then here’s hoping it’s something that can be fix. Marrone and Whaley arguing over ideological differences will create a major fraction and threaten to derail the team before the opening kickoff on Sunday.
Here’s hoping it’s a situation like San Francisco. There has been multiple reported occasions where head coach Jim Harbaugh and GM Trent Baalke have grated at one another, so much so that the 49ers almost traded their coach, but at the same time they keep winning and have continued to have a solid working relationship. The difference between the two has been about money, not football.
Winning cures all, but in order for the Bills to be successful the right people need to be empowered to do their job, in this case Marrone and Whaley, and those that are under performing need to be removed from the equation.