Friday, May 12, 2017

Opening comments from Bills owner Terry Pegula: Welcome as we at the Buffalo Bills introduce our new GM Brandon Beane. Brandon embodies everything we at the Bills want in our front office. He’s worked under two fine GMs in Carolina, Marty Hurney and Dave Gettleman, as well as working very closely with Coach Ron Rivera. He’s a 1998 cum laude grad from UNC Wilmington. He joined Carolina in ’98 and quickly rose through the ranks to become their assistant GM by 2015. Here’s the things we learned about Brandon; he was highly regarded around the NFL. The Panthers loved him. He’s versatile, he’s done it all in the front office. He’s dedicated, as evidenced by his 19 years with the franchise. He’s smart, humble, a hard worker and a team-player.

Opening comments from Bills GM Brandon Beane: Thank you all for being here. It’s a very exciting time. I have a few points, I want to make sure I don’t leave anybody out, so bear with me. First of all, I just want to thank Terry and Kim and the entire Pegula family for believing in me and to bring me from Carolina up here to Buffalo. This is an awesome opportunity and I can’t wait to get started. It’s been a long road. As Terry said, 19 years in Carolina, born and raised there. You never know when you’re going to leave but this was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up and so thrilled to have it. I want to first of all thank Mr. Richardson (Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson) for believing in me, for promoting me, for growing me and for making me the man I am today. I also want to thank Marty Hurney. The same thing, he taught me, he pulled me by his side, and Dave Gettleman. Dave came in four years ago and he didn’t kick me to the curb, he grew me even more, and Ron Rivera. Ron’s an awesome coach, two-time coach of the year, and I learned a lot from him. Hopefully Sean (McDermott) and I will have that type of relationship here.

There’s countless other folks in the Panthers organization that I want to thank. There’s so many, I’m not going to list them all, but I’m telling you all out there, I’m going to miss Carolina, I’m going to miss the people and I wouldn’t be here without each and every one of you. I want to thank my family for all the sacrifices they made. My wife Hayley is here and she’s excited to join the Buffalo family. I’ve got two boys, Tyson and Wes, and one’s going to high school, one’s going to middle school, and they’re excited as well.

Beginning today, I’m a Buffalo citizen and I can’t wait to get started. My sole focus is to jump right in [and] as soon as we get done with this press conference, go watch practice. I’m excited we got a mini-camp and get to football and get this thing going. I went through the interview process with the Pegulas and I had never met them, and so that’s the first thing you do – you’re trying to figure out, alright, who’s the owners, who’s leading this ship? And I was blown away. You go into something, you’re kind of like, eh, I don’t know what it’s going to be like. When I left the interview, I wanted to be a Buffalo Bill. So when I got the call for the second interview, Hayley and I had already talked about it and it was just a dream come true and they (Terry and Kim) undoubtedly are going to do anything they can to help me and Sean and the rest of this team build a winner to what this team used to have back in the ‘90s. As I’ve done every step of my life, I’m just going to hit the ground running. You’re going to find that I’m a hard worker, I’m humble and I just want to do what’s best. It’s not going to be my team, it’s not going to be Sean’s team, it’s not going to be Terry’s team and Kim’s, it’s going to be the whole Buffalo Bills, a collaborative approach, and I think that’s what wins. I’ve seen that in Carolina and that’s what you’re going to see here. That’s it, so I’ll take any questions please.

Q: Talking about the collaborative effort and your past relationship with Sean, does that help smooth your arrival here to Buffalo?

BB: It definitely was huge. Knowing Sean, Sean got to Carolina in 2011 and obviously he had a great career in Philly, but he’s a great man. We built a good, trusting relationship in Carolina. You can never predict the future, so it’s not like Sean and I said, “Hey, we’re both going to leave the same year.” You don’t know what the opportunities are going to be, but I trust Sean and I think Sean trusts me and I think you’re going to see a heck of a partnership between the two of us.

Q: I know you have experience across all platforms and that’s partially why Mr. Pegula and Mrs. Pegula said they wanted someone like you but as far as actually dealing with contracts and things like that, how involved will you be? Every GM does it differently but how involved will you be in negotiating contracts and setting that up?

BB: I’ll be very involved. Any decision we make contract-wise, I’ll be talking with our guys and talking with agents. I’m very familiar with it. All the negotiations in Carolina for the last five, six years, any guy we signed, from the 90th man on the roster to the number one, I was involved and I look forward to doing that here in Buffalo.

Q: A lot’s been discussed in the search process that you didn’t come up with the traditional scouting background. How do you square that in the qualifications because you have many that may be right for this job, but how do you square that with those who question it?

BB: Well, the first thing is I was fortunate under Marty in Carolina that even though I wasn’t immediately on the road for Marty, I did a lot of pro stuff and college stuff behind the scenes. So it’s not like when I jumped on the road in 2012 scouting college guys, it wasn’t like that was the first time I was watching players. I did a lot of behind the scenes stuff and I’ve always been involved in the draft, setting meetings. I’ve seen how it’s done, I’ve seen it multiple ways, and that’s not going to be an issue.

Q: What was it about the interview that blew you away and made you want to be with the Buffalo Bills?

BB: The passion that they have for this city, for this team – I mean we even talked about the Buffalo Sabres. We talked about resources, we talked about stability – they checked every box when I went through it. I had questions going in. You have to. When you’re leaving an organization like Carolina, you’ve been there 19 years, something has to blow you away to leave and this was a different interview. Terry and Kim – we’re going to have every resource we need to turn this thing around and build a contender here and the goal is sustained success.

Q: You and Sean obviously had a relationship for about six years. I know you’re not planning things back in 2011 this far ahead but at what point in Carolina did you two think that someday this could be possible. Was that ever in your mindset in Carolina?

BB: To be honest, we never said, “Hey, let’s work this out to go together.” The unique thing that Sean and I had was a respect. I knew what Sean’s roots were, that he had worked his way up and basically been as small as a gopher for Andy Reid, learning under him and he did some scouting before he got into coaching. So, I respected how he earned his way to be a defensive coordinator and I think, and I don’t want to speak for Sean, but I think he saw the same in me. We both started as interns and Sean and I would literally go back in his room and he was responsible for the defense – he had the depth chart up of the defense – and we would talk about players and talk about where we had strengths and where we had weaknesses and I would bounce ideas off of him of where we could get players. We were always talking about how we could make our roster better and now instead of just talking about the defense with him, I’m going to talk about the whole team with him.

Q: What’s it like to take over as general manager of a team that’s already had its draft and has most of its 90-man roster and already has its head coach? You’re coming into a time where most of the things that would be under your direction are already taken care of.

BB: It is interesting. Obviously these happen after the season, but the unique thing about this is I get to learn all these players, learn the staff before I have to make any roster decisions for the most part. We’ll get to go through a whole training camp and I’ll know them. It’s unique, but I’m excited about it. Don’t see it as an issue at all.

Q: How difficult is it to put together a staff at this point of the year because meetings are going on and the scouting season is over?

BB: Well, you know, there’s no easy time just to put together a staff when you do it after the season like the last question. Guys are really hard to get at that point, a team has employed them the whole year to scout for them so they’re not going to let them go. The unique thing is this is a lot of turnover in the personnel [department] after the draft. So, you have to follow the process, have a lot of ideas of guys around the league. I know a lot of guys, a lot of guys have reached out, and we’re going to take our time and we’re going to get the right guys. I’m not going to put a timeframe on it but we’re going to get the right guys and it’s going to be a good group.

Q: Terry, what assurances did you give Brandon about the 53-man roster?

TP: Brandon’s going to have the 53. Sean and him will obviously collaborate on any decisions but he’s got it.

Q: With regards going through the interview process, besides knowing how well Brandon’s working relationship with Sean was, what were the other qualities that stood out to you? What were his separation points?

TP: I think the primary thing was his all-around ability. He’s done more scouting than people – you may not know how much scouting he’s done. He’s done a good job of it. It’s his all-around, front office, contracts like he said, the whole thing. He was a GM in everything but title.

Q: How influential was Sean McDermott in the interview process and in the decision to hire Brandon?

TP: When we started this process, we – Kim and myself, Russ (Brandon) was involved, and others – we put together four or five lists of potential candidates, cross referenced them and Sean was one of the individuals. Brandon’s name showed up on most if the lists if not all of them, so from that, we picked and from discussions with people outside of the organization, we picked the candidates we wanted to interview. But Sean’s involvement was no more than writing a name on a piece paper – which he wrote seven or eight names.

Q:  Brandon, when you came here, did you have a specific idea of what your role would be? GMs are defined differently by different teams. Did you have to clarify that when you got in?

BB: We definitely discussed that in the first interview. I wanted to hear what they were looking for, they wanted to hear what I was looking for, and I think we both saw it was an easy conversation of how the setup would be here in Buffalo.

Q: Can you share that?

BB: Yeah. It’s going to be very similar to what Sean and I were used to in Carolina. I’m going to be over the football side and Sean’s going to be over the coaches, but there’s not a czar around here. Sean’s not a czar, I’m not a czar. Every decision is going to be collaborative, together. I think that’s the only way. I’ve seen it both ways and the success I’ve had is when we’re both seeing eye-to-eye. Kim and Terry are going to be involved. We’re going to do this together, other people in the building. This is not a one person approach to making the decisions here.

Q: Terry, is that the very thing that made him most attractive to you?

TP: That’s one of the items, yeah.

Q: Terry, I’m not sure who makes the decision but you referenced in the press conference here after Doug Whaley was fired that you’re going to do your best to keep Jim Overdorf in his position. Is there any status on Jim and if he’ll retain that same role?

TP: Are you asking me that?

Q: Whoever…

TP: That’s up to Brandon. Jim works for Brandon.

BB: So, I’m coming in eyes wide open with everybody. It shouldn’t be about Jim. I’ve known Jim for a long time, have a lot of respect for him, great man. I’ve never had a chance to work with Jim, so I’m going to jump in. Just spoke to Jim a few minutes ago and said hello and look forward to getting to know his process, how he does things. I’m going to kind of influence him with how I do things and we’ll see how this works and go from there.

Q: How much of a chance have you had to look at the roster and evaluate players?

BB: You know, I did turn some tape on before the interview of a couple games just to flip through. Obviously, there’s been a decent amount of turnover since the last game. I’m aware of the college guys they just drafted. So, the front-line guys I know them pretty well. Obviously some of the back-end guys, not as much, so once I get this personnel staff going, I’m going to get the film back rolling and know these guys up and down before we get to training camp this summer.

Q: Where do you see the quarterback situation right now?

BB: Obviously Tyrod’s (Taylor) going to be the starter. There’s some other guys on the roster. I’ve only watched Tyrod from afar. We had a quarterback in Carolina so we weren’t in the market a lot to be overly researching these guys. I actually got to meet Tyrod on my tour. Great young man. He’s done a lot of good things on tape and look forward to getting to know him and see how he leads this team and it’s just going to be an open competition at every position, not just quarterback.

Q: Terry you’ve had a chance to now hire two general managers in like a month here. Was it smoother, more challenging or about exactly what you expected going into the process on both sides?

TP: Did you say a month? I think its two days. Hey, we knew we had to do it. Obviously we own the teams so we rose to the challenge. We had a lot of help and the guys that we interviewed were all pretty impressive and the two that we chose, we believe are capable leaders into the future and that will blend well into a franchise.

Q: When newcomers come to Buffalo and join this franchise, the elephant in the room is the 17-year playoff drought. How do you address what this team and town are going through?

BB: Well, first of all, I empathize with it because I know how strong of a fan-base this is and this is a football town, and that was one of the attractions of coming up here. And how exciting is it going to be when we get this thing turned around and get back in the playoffs and take it from there. I’m really looking forward, as Terry and Kim, we’ve talked about that, they’ve only been here a few years. I promise you, they’re going to give us everything they can and it’s up to Sean and I and the rest of the team to get it back.

Q: You’ve heard stories about how you’ve worked your way up in the Panthers organization. What are some of the most unique experiences you’ve had going through that that you can share with us?

BB: Well, obviously I got to touch a lot of areas in football operations, from scouting to contracts to logistics, budgets. I’ve seen everything that a CEO has to see and that’s how I look at this position as. Not just a scout to be a GM, not just a contract guy, not just a logistics, not just a budget. A good GM has all of those traits and hopefully I was selected for this job, that I can oversee all that and help us get back.

Q: I wanted to ask what your philosophy is – I know this is a broad question but we’re trying to get to know you here – what your general philosophy is on layering the roster. Whether it be free agency, draft – all the different things that go into it. What’s your philosophy on how you would mold your optimal roster?

BB: I’m going to build through the draft, first and foremost. You have to draft well and sign those guys. If you draft well, you sign them. You’re not going to see big splashes of free agency. Free agency sets you up for your draft. You don’t want to go into the draft needing a cornerback – needing an offensive tackle. If me and my staff do our job, we’ll look at where we have some holes after the season, we’ll plug a few holes, and then we’ll be able to draft for need when April comes.

Q: What would you say about – and I know you and Sean have worked together and you’ve discussed this – but what would you say about long-term vision and what came up in your interview with Terry regarding ‘if I’m your General Manager, my long-term vision for your team or any team would be…’

BB: Well, the long-term vision is to build a consistent winner here. I didn’t just achieve a goal or Sean and I didn’t achieve a goal if we make the playoffs once and then we’re out of it two or three years in a row. Sustained success. Year after year, we’re contending to win the division. That’s the first thing we have to do. We’ve got to go win the division. Obviously, we now have a big foe in Foxborough that’s had a stranglehold on it. We’re aware of the task, but that’s the vision that I have.

Q: Brandon, as you come in here and assess things to whatever degree you’ve been able to study this, what do you think is the biggest hurdle to overcome to get this team to be a consistent playoff contender?

BB: Well, I think you have to get the culture [right]. I know Sean – I watched some of Sean’s stuff and went back and looked – before I interviewed – at what Sean had said, and the thing that I thought he mentioned a lot that made sense was getting the culture right. The belief – this is a tough league. You guys know. Year-to-year, some teams go from first to worst and worst to first. The teams that consistently are at the top have a good culture. They know how to win, they know how to overcome adversity. I’ve been on teams that were not mentally strong, and all of a sudden you hit a two or three game losing streak and it’s hard to overcome. I’ve also been on teams that have known how to overcome that and finish the season strong and take it into the playoffs.

Q: When you came in here, I’m sure you’ve already looked at the cap and the personnel. Was there anything that stuck out at you that said ‘okay, this is a relatively easy fix here and here, but this is going to be harder here’ – if that’s not too [misleading]. Is there anything that jumped out that said ‘we need to fix this right away?’

BB: No, I think you’re looking – this team has some good parts on the roster. Anything you build, you want to build it from the ground up with a solid foundation. We have to do that, and Sean and I are going to – unfortunately, in this process, Sean’s been running a hundred miles per hour so we haven’t been able to sit down and talk about what he’s seen. I mean, he’s got a better in-depth from getting here in January than I do, so I want to sit down with Sean and we’re going to talk about it. But we’re going to build it from the ground up. We’re not trying to – Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re not trying to do this tomorrow. We’re going to try to do it the right way and when it’s meant to be, we’ll get there, and I think everybody will see success.

Q: How personally satisfying is this for you as you’ve gotten to achieve this from the bottom and gotten all the way to the top and have an NFL GM job – one of 32?

BB: It’s unbelievable. I’ve got chills in my spine just walking around the building. They showed me office and – general manager, it’s a dream come true. I can’t put it in words. I don’t want to get teary-eyed up here but it’s emotional for me, for my family, my parents – and without the support of everyone, I wouldn’t be here today. You’re going to see my excitement. I’m so thrilled to be standing up here.

Q: Was there a time that you think that this would happen? You had the interview in Carolina but did not get the permanent job – did you ever wonder if this would happen?

BB: Well, you always wonder. I’ve fought hard. Mr. Richardson, when he made me the interim [General Manager], he told me, ‘hey, this is just the interim. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m not going to kick you to the curb,’ which was great. Obviously, I would’ve loved to be the General Manager full time but everything happens for a reason. Dave Gettleman came in, and I would say he grew me more. Taught me more of the scouting stuff – he had been a lifelong scout and we spent a lot of hours, days, nights and picking his brain. I would like to say that maybe it was meant to be for me to learn even more before I had this opportunity.

Q: Piggybacking on Tim Graham’s question on philosophy, I’m interested on ‘how to play the game’ philosophy. We’ve had coaches and GM’s run through here and talk about ground-and-pound, but some talk about up-tempo football. You come from a place in Carolina where Cam [Newton] was a big part of what you do. What is your philosophy about how to win in 2017 in the NFL?

BB: You have to be able to run the ball and stop the run. You still got to be able to throw it though. People are going to stack the box. You have to look at what the other team’s giving you. If they’re stacking the box, you’ve got to be able to throw it. If they’re daring you to run it, you’ve got to be able to run. Obviously, this is a cold-weather city. I see us being a physical, tough team on both sides of the ball and if you can’t run the ball even when they know you’re going to run it, you’re going to struggle along the way. That’s kind of what I see, if that makes sense.

Q: Brandon, what, specifically, did you learn from the past two seasons where you reach such a high and lose the Super Bowl and then miss the playoffs the following year? What did you get from that experience going from that high to that low?

BB: Obviously, when you have success, everybody’s patting you on the back. Players, coaches, staff – and you have to stay focused on the prize. Nothing’s guaranteed. We finished that season after losing the Super Bowl to Denver – you don’t get to start. People aren’t going to say ‘oh you get to win through the season and jump back in [to the playoffs].’ Everybody’s zero and zero, which is what we are right now, and every season is a new season.

Q: I’m curious what you thought of Sean’s first draft here and from your vantage point in Carolina, some of the players he got and how he kind of moved around the board and jumped ahead of you guys on day two.

BB: Yeah, I thought Sean and the staff – again, I thought that was a collaborative approach, I don’t think it was just Sean from the questions I asked – I loved the draft. I thought they did a nice job, got some solid pieces. The first round kid from LSU, Tre’Davious, I actually went down with one of our coaches and we worked him out privately. He’s a great young man – you guys will realize that when you get to know him. Hard worker, and we had a similar grade on him where he was selected.

Q: A lot has been speculated about your relationship with Sean back in Carolina. How would you describe it away from the office and off the field? Did you guys go fishing together? Were your wives friends?

BB: First of all, Sean was a big wrestler and my oldest son got into wrestling last year, and I knew Sean was a big wrestler. Little did I know he had a wrestling mat in his house. He says ‘bring him over and we’ll wrestle,’ and he’s got a whole almost- WWF setup over there. Sean introduced my oldest to wrestling, he got into it this year, and when he left, I was like ‘thanks a lot. There goes my wrestling coach.’ Sean and I – we did have interests outside of the office. We would actually run on road games, we’d run at training camp with some other guys. It’s funny, I’m staying downtown and saw the path – the last time we were here in preseason – Sean and a few of our trainers and a couple other guys ran along the water by the ships down there. It was a cool memory, looking at that. It’s fun. Sometimes we’d talk about ball, but sometimes we’d talk about family and he’s a good family man as you guys have figured out and I think you’ll see a lot of similarities between Sean and I, the way we operate.

Q: Terry, how much of a whirlwind have this been, hiring two GM’s in a month? Between all the Bills and Sabres stuff and the Winter Classic and all the stuff you’re doing downtown – how much of a whirlwind has this been for you and Kim [Pegula]?

TP: There’s a lot going on, that’s for sure. But it’s what you buy into when you’re in the NFL and the NHL and the World Juniors [and] with the hockey at HARBORCENTER. So, it’s part of life for us, becoming more and more a part of life.

Q: Are you starting to get comfortable with all of this? We’ve seen a lot of you lately.

TP: Yeah, maybe fifteen years from now we’ll talk again.

Head Coach Sean McDermott

Friday, May 12, 2017

Q: What are your thoughts on Brandon Beane being here?

A: Yeah, it’s good. I mean, [it’s a] great opportunity for us as an organization to bring in a quality person that’s been around the league for a number of years, and [in] a good organization in Carolina. So we feel fortunate that way, and I feel good about it. Brandon and I are aligned on a lot of what’s important in building a team and an organization, and so that’s comforting to know.

Q: It seems that this transition, especially with a first-time GM coming to a new team, might be a little smoother given the fact that there’s a connection between you and him.

A: Well, yeah – you would think. Just like anything, when there’s familiarity on the other side, it makes it a little more comfortable. That said, we’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot to get caught up on. I’ve been here roughly four months now and he’s got a staff to put together so we’ve got a lot of work in front of us.

Q: One of the things that Brandon brought up was the mutual respect that you guys developed in Carolina and he thought that was really rooted in – and he didn’t want to speak for you but for himself – knowing that you came up the intern route as he did and you kind of had that bond between each other. Give me your perspective on that.

A: Well put by Brandon, just in terms of mutual respect. I think that’s key in any relationship. I certainly came up one way, he came up in a similar fashion through this business. When you look at his foundation that he’s been able to build for around 19 years – coming up, again, through a solid organization in Carolina with great leadership and Mr. Richardson and Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera. So he’s been trained the right way, he’s earned everything he’s gotten and those are qualities, to me, that are very attractive.

Q: Brandon talked about being in your office and seeing the defensive board and going over how to address holes and fill needs. How much did you use that time to bond and get a sense of who he might be as a General Manager?

A: You look at them, we’ve had six years together so really it was a six-year interview. But it’s six years of experience and it’s how he handles losses, how he handles wins and sustaining success – just ,up close and personal, and really just a front row seat in working with one another. We had conversations about the defense when I was the coordinator in Carolina. I appreciated it – I’m sure the rest of the staff in Carolina would echo the same sentiments of his ability to be approachable and deal with a wide spectrum of people and solve problems. All attractive qualities, and he’s just got a good way about him.

Q: They interviewed several candidates for that position, but ultimately, when you were sitting at home at night, were you rooting for Brandon to get that job given the relationship?

A: I wanted the right person for the job, separate of me. I absolutely wanted the right person for the job and I feel good about the direction it’s gone. I absolutely feel good about that. I feel like Brandon’s qualified and he’s going to do a fantastic job for us. That said, we’ve got a lot of work to do as I mentioned earlier. There were a lot of qualified candidates that were spoken to and a lot of qualified candidates that were interviewed. I really appreciate the fact that Terry and Kim [Pegula] took a very methodical approach to the process and came away with a qualified individual in Brandon.

Q: Sean, on a personal level, it seems like you guys are pretty tight and he even shared a story about how you had an influence on his son. Can you just kind of speak to the relationship that you guys had off the field?

A: I would say this: one, there’s a tendency to think that we were best friends in Carolina and certainly we had that off-the-field, so to speak, relationship. To me, it really got started and is built on a foundation of mutual respect and a professional respect more so in how he handles himself in the day-to-day grind of this business. Whether it’s in the season, out of the season, the way he’s built his foundation – and then the last several years there, how he’s really rounded out his experience with the personnel and the personnel side of things. That’s been really fun to watch and watch him grow, and I’m sure he would probably say the same thing about me. Similarly, I’ve grown over the years and I’m going to continue to grow. I’ve got a lot to learn. That’s been good, and then you’ve got the intimate, off the field type relationship with dealing with his family and then him dealing with my family. The wrestling background that brought his son over and we rolled out the wrestling mat and kind of got his start and what a single-leg takedown looks like. That was fun.

Q: You rolled it out, but he made it sound like you had some sort of a dated wrestling ring.

A: Oh, it’s dated.

Q: But he said it was a big setup. You have to tell us about this.

A: Well, it’s a mat that we keep out. You guys know, we all work hard at our jobs so when you don’t have as much time as you’d like, I’ve got to have a wrestling mat at home. I don’t get a chance to coach my son in Little League at times so I try and get him at home and pour some important knowledge of fundamentals on the wrestling mat. It was fun to work with his son and his son’s really gone off to really have a nice career so far so I’m excited to see what that holds for him up here.

Q: Will there be a rematch?

A: [laughs] he’d probably beat me.

Q: We’re talking amateur wrestling, right? We’re not talking suplexes.

A: Yeah, I’ve got a full ring set up in my basement in Buffalo now. The whole thing. That’s why – we didn’t have a basement [in Carolina] but we had a bonus room and we rolled it out. Here, we’re going to have a basement so we’ll probably go steel cage and get that shipped here.

Q: Sean, during the on-field stuff as you’ve worked through the first couple of phases here, this is really the first time that you’ve really been able to get on the field with these guys. What did you learn about your coaching staff?

A: That’s a great question. I’ve been very impressed with the staff so far. It’s always a little bit of a crapshoot at times – to use a word. I’ve worked with all of these men and I’ve kept a list over the years and certainly have admired their work. Like I’ve said before, I wanted to have a good blend of experience, energy, and then guys we can have in the pipeline that are learning. We’ve worked well together so far. I think that’s a big part of building this culture, is the culture that happens with the coaching staff. I’m pleased so far and really, I like to take the approach of iron sharpens iron. They make me better, I make them better and nobody has an ego. We’re all selfless and trying to do this thing the right way.

Q: Sean, the first four months or so, you were the ‘one voice’ and was directing the show, at least publicly in front of us. What is it like now, making the transition and knowing that there is another person there? Does it ease the load off of you knowing that you don’t have to worry about everything?

A: Yeah, I can’t wait for Brandon to get off the little circuit he’s on with the media and get to work. No, it’s a collaborative effort. It will be a collaborative effort. He’s going to lean on me, I’m going to lean on him, and just what I shared with the staff – we’re here to get better together. It’s never about one person. Building a team the right way is never about one person. We’re going to continue to work together. We’ll be having sit-downs in his office, my office – wherever it needs to happen to improve this football team. The great part about it is I trust Brandon and the staff he’s going to uphold their end of the deal, just like he’s got to trust us and the staff that was mentioned a few minutes ago to uphold our end of the deal. When you’re doing things the right way, you’re all pulling in the same direction with the same amount of force.

Q: Brandon said that he will not be the football czar of the Buffalo Bills and neither will you, but on second thought, you might want Quarterback X and he might want Quarterback Y. How is that going to be resolved?

A: Well, we’re probably going to get that wrestling mat out. That’s fair, right? No, but in all honesty, we’re going to work together on it and there are going to be times of honest disagreement and that happens on collaborative teams. You have to, in my opinion, you have to feel comfortable to be yourself and to express your true and honest opinion. That relationship and that dynamic not only goes for my relationship with Brandon but every member of our staff at this facility. You have to be able to tell us how you feel and then we have a meeting about it and when we walk out, we have to at least agree to disagree. The other person has to hope that, for the best interests of this organization, that they’re wrong. That happens every year. It happened with me as a position coach and a coordinator. If you have the right agenda and the right motives, everything’s moving forward in the right direction.

Q: Sean, what was your reaction on that Sunday morning when Doug Whaley and his scouting staff was let go?

A: It’s never a good feeling at all. Toughest part about this business. Got a lot of respect for Doug and I’ve had a chance to connect a little bit there and I wish him well. Obviously we’ve had to move on and it’s never a good feeling at all for a number of reasons, number one of which there’s families involved and that’s the toughest part about this business.

Q: At what point did you realize that relationship might not work and you guys would probably have to go in a different direction?

A: Well really, the day the decision was made. It was Sunday morning when I got word. Again, it’s the toughest part about this business. I’ve been on the other end of that and it’s never easy.

Q: How much input did you have? Did Terry bounce that off you at all?

A: No, that was a decision made by Terry and Kim.

Q: Can you give us an update on Kolby Listenbee? I know he’s on the rookie roster but he wasn’t participating.

A: Kolby’s on schedule, he’s attacking the rehab every day. I love his attitude, love his approach. The trainers are doing a fantastic job working with Kolby. He’s been back on the field a little bit doing some rehab, so I’ve gotten a chance to get to know him and I love where he is and where his mind is right now so that’s a step in the right direction and a start for us moving forward.

Q: Do you have an update on Cyrus Kouandjio?

A: He’s on track. He’s doing a nice job and I like the look in his eye. Again, a credit to Cyrus and our medical team and he’s rehabbing similar to Kolby and doing a nice job with it.

Q: What were your impressions of the rookies on day one?

A: I was just happy – we put some good work on the field. We had walkthrough this morning and came back this afternoon with practice, many of you were out there. I thought the drafted players were solid for the first day and that’s what I was looking for. You watched some competition out there with Zay (Jones) and Tre’Davious (White) out there and that was good to see. And then Nate (Peterman) was being accurate with the football, making smart decisions, really things we saw on tape going into the draft and that was good to see. Then Tanner (Vallejo) and Matt (Milano) out there with the movement at the linebacker position. It’s the first day so it’s all new. I walked into the team meeting last night and the meeting this morning again and the look in some of the eyes is interesting. It’s the first day of school basically, so we all remember those days but it will be fun to watch them acclimate themselves on a day-to-day and practice-to-practice basis.

Q: Just to be clear on Cyrus, is that rehab from his surgery or related to what happened?

A: Just the surgery.

Q: You mentioned Tre and Zay going at it in practice a couple times there. Was that intentional or just the way the reps fell?

A: It was intentional, yeah. We wanted to play best-on-best, good-on-good and just see them compete. That was fun to watch.

Q: You spent a lot of time specifically with Tre’Davious out there it looked like. Talk about what you saw from him.

A: Tre’Davious, I thought, came out and sometimes what happens on the first day is people kind of get outside of themselves trying to play at a speed that they’re not used to or feeling like they have to do something different with their game and that’s again what I was mentioning earlier, they were solid and no different with Zay or Dion (Dawkins), with what Dion did up front with the offensive line position. So, they were under control, played with good body control, feet in good position and there wasn’t a whole lot of out-of-position, flailing around. That tends to happen on day one, so again, I though solid first day and what’s important now is what’s in front of them and that’s the afternoon and then getting back tomorrow ready to go.

Q: Who was the one claiming Shareece Wright off of waivers, Charles James, signing Carl Bradford? Who was the one actually doing that given that Jim and Doug were all gone, Brandon wasn’t here yet. Who was doing that?

A: That was a team effort, really, between myself, Jim Overdorf, Kevin Meganck and some of the younger guys in our personnel department. We met every day and we faced a transition time and we had to bridge that gap. So, credit goes to them as a team effort. And again, like I’m always going to say, everyone here at the ADPRO Sports Training Facility. This is a team effort so I didn’t – we didn’t do it by ourselves and we all count on one another and they’re counting on me, I’m counting on them.

Q: How much of that do you expect to continue to do throughout the summer and fall? In terms of the waiver wire and signing guys, you personally?

A: Well, it’s good now to have Brandon in-house. That’s going to be his primary responsibility obviously and his staff, so that will help. That said, my first job is to coach this football team and then we’re going to continue to have ongoing conversations. What you don’t want to do is operate in separate silos. His office is a couple doors down from mine, we’re going to have those meetings where I come up from maybe meeting with the team and we sit down and say, ‘where are we,’ and, ‘what do we need to do to get better?’ Those will be ongoing conversations.

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