Buffalo Bills General Manager Doug Whaley
Monday, January 2, 2017

Opening Statement: First off, Happy New Year. I want to thank you guys for taking time out of your busy schedule to spend some time with me today. 7-9: not good enough. From ownership to players to this whole organization: not good enough. I’ll say this much: it starts with me. I have to do a better job. But after today, we will wrap up the 2016 season and we’ll get started on [the 2017 season] right away. With that said, I’ll take questions.

Q: There’s an overriding sense that this franchise is plummeting into dysfunction. What gives you the belief that you are the person capable of righting the ship?
A: Belief by ownership by tagging me as the person to lead the head-coaching search. Also knowing that this job and this organization is stewarded by an ownership group that is willing to give the resources to not only myself, but the coach to be the best they can. Add it to the fact that [we have] a loyal fan base. I just think that all those things combined together with the belief that we’re 7-9. We’re close; we just have to get over the hump.

Q: A press conference of this consequence, why do we not have ownership or the team president here with you and why are you out here on your own?
A: As season-ending review of the football operation department, I speak for the ownership and the team president, and I speak for our football operation department.

Q: This is also about the firing of a head coach. Why? Don’t you think that makes this a little bit more significant?
A: Ownership did issue a statement.

Q: When you say that it starts with you and that you need to be better, how, in your opinion, have you fallen short in your role?
A: I mean, you are what your record says you are. We’re 7-9. Anything that encompasses the football operation falls on my shoulders and I take full responsibility. We have to get better in every aspect of it.

Q: Doug, you said that you represent ownership so we haven’t had a chance to hear from Terry or Kim [Pegula] regarding Rex Ryan’s firing. Walk us through. Why was he fired? What was the thought process?
A: We had just finished our weekly phone conversation with Terry, myself, and Rex. Rex asked to speak to him privately. After that, I was informed that Rex would no longer be our coach. I wasn’t privy to the conversation so I cannot get into those details.

Q: Did his not making the playoffs have anything to do with his firing?
A: Again, I was not privy to the details of the conversation.

Q: Doug, with all due respect, you’ve had two cracks at head coaches. You’ve had cracks with quarterbacks. A lot of people are just a little bit skeptical that you will be able to do it on your third try. Why should everyone believe you? What will you do differently, possibly?
A: Well, this search will be different. The first one, I was an assistant [General Manager]. The second one, we did by a committee approach. This one will fall squarely on my shoulders with the help of Jim Monos. We’re going to approach it that way and I have full confidence in myself and the plan that we have in place that we’re going to go out and get the best guy for the Buffalo Bills.

Q: Does that mean that you make the final decision on who is the next coach?
A: No. [The] Pegula’s do.

Q: Doug, there have been reports regarding dysfunction or an inability on your part to work with your previous two head coaches: both Doug Marrone and Rex Ryan. Both of whom, you’ve had a hand in firing. Not saying that you had the final decision, but why are those reports continuing to come out and why do you have an inability to work with your head coaches?
A: I look at it this way: any time there’s something that a coach leaves or a coach gets fired, the automatic thing that people point to is the relationship between the coach and the GM. I’ll say that I have a healthy respect and working relationship with those guys – I had it with Doug Marrone as well as Rex Ryan. I would disagree with those reports.

Q: Doug, you mentioned the last coaching search was done by committee approach. What was your personal recommendation in January of 2015 on Rex Ryan?
A: I will not get into that.

Q: Don’t you think it’s fair to get into that if you’re going to be the man in charge of leading the next head coaching search here?
A: I mean, that’s a fair question but for us and the way we’re going about our coaching search, I don’t want to devolve too many details because we are up against other teams that have openings.

Q: So are you not responsible for the hiring of Rex Ryan? Was that not your guy?
A: It’s a Bills hire, so I’m part of it. Yes.

Q: Along those lines, why do you think they didn’t have faith in you to make that hire yourself? You’re the General Manager, that’s one of the jobs that a General Manager does. What gives you any more credibility now?
A: Back then, we’d have to talk to the Pegula’s but we decided, as a group, that we would make it a committee approach and they would have the final say. This time, I have faith – the ownership has faith in me and I have faith in myself. We’ll see where it goes. And I understand the gravity of the situation and I understand that it’s falling square on my shoulders and I accept the challenge.

Q: But you not taking ownership of the previous thing, you know part of that committee – you said you don’t want to get into it. If you agreed with the hire –
A: I did.

Q: You agreed with it?
A: I did. It’s a Bills hire. Correct.

Q: Does that give you even less credibility now, then, considering what happened with the hire?
A: I’ll let you debate that but I would say that it was –

Q: Well, there’s a lot of debate about it.
A: Then we won’t debate it.

Q: Doug, there’s been not much change in a lot of the football operations here at the Buffalo Bills over the past decade – whether it be pro personnel, the scouting department, the medical staff, strength and conditioning, salary cap analysis. It’s remained relatively unchanged. Why?
A: I have to disagree with you. Our strength and conditioning staff has been here since Chan Gailey, so that was less than ten years. Jim Monos has been here less than ten years. Kevin Murphy has been here less than ten years. All of these guys in our pro personnel [department] – Gerald [Dixon] has been here less than ten years. So I would disagree with that. Now, there are people that have been here for those ten years but we’ve mixed in some new blood.

Q: Doug, I guess to clarify my question, there have been a couple of changes here and there but by and large, it’s a lot of the same people who were here that pre-date you.
A: Correct.

Q: They pre-date Buddy Nix. As the General Manager, you have chosen to keep them on. Why haven’t there been more changes to whether it be installing your blueprint or whatever your vision is for this team?
A: I have done it, systematically. I don’t believe in coming in and wiping it out and starting anew. I think there are some people here that are very qualified – highly qualified. Obviously, it’s a fair question because we haven’t had results to ask that, but working with these guys day-to-day, I have faith and confidence in those guys.

Q: Who was part of that committee two years ago?
A: It was myself, Russ Brandon, Kim and Terry Pegula.

Q: Will Russ be part of the committee this time?
A: With Russ’s expanded responsibilities with [Pegula Sports Entertainment], he will not be.

Q: Two things then: first of all, do you believe you and your personnel department supplied a good-enough roster of players for this team to have made the playoffs in 2016?
A: You are what your record says you are. We weren’t good enough.

Q: My follow-up is because you just made a reference to Russ’s expanded role with [Pegula Sports Entertainment]. Is something new or are we just talking about the fact that –
A: Yeah, he’s in charge of all – yeah, I don’t even know what he’s in charge of. I just know he’s in charge of a lot.

Q: Given reports regarding the – as I was referring to earlier – the working relationship with your previous head coaches. True or not – you said that they weren’t true – are you worried that there is perception in the league that a head coach would not want to come here and work with you knowing that the previous two head coaches had not been able to do it?
A: I have full confidence in my reputation in the league circles. Obviously, not in the media circles, but in league circles that that would not be prohibitive.

Q: Since you’re going to be in charge of the search, will the head coach’s relationship, in terms of who he reports to, change from what it has been in the past?
A: That will all be hammered out in the interview process.

Q: Would you like it if it was based on your coach, your choice –
A: I like whatever system helps us win.

Q: Doug, moving ahead towards the coaching search, a lot of people have reported that Anthony Lynn is the clear favorite for the job. What can you say about that as far as your plan going forward with Anthony Lynn?
A: It will be an open search and I can understand why people would connect the dots because he is a familiar face but it will, again, be an open search.

Q: So you don’t believe that it’s his job to lose, as some people have said?
A: I’m leading the search. It is an open search.

Q: Would your control of the 53 man roster remain intact with the new coach you hire?
A: Again, that will be talked about during the interview process and again, I’m all about whatever it takes for us to be winning.

Q: Does that mean you’re open to relinquishing that to a candidate?
A: As an open search I’m open to anything that will help us win.

Q: Might as well get into Tyrod Taylor. What’s your thoughts after two years? He seemed to be upset after not playing last game.
A: I would be upset if he wasn’t upset. He’s a competitor, that’s what you want in your starting quarterback and he had a tremendous year. We sat him down as a business decision to look at the other people at the position, the quarterback position, because EJ Manuel’s coming up as a free agent and we have a young guy (Cardale Jones). So it was a business decision for the betterment and absolute evaluation process of the position going forward. So that was it. I’m sorry, what was the other part of your question?

Q: Did the injury clause have any impact on the decision?
A: Again, if we were playing in the playoffs or trying to get to the playoffs and the Jets game meant something, he would have played.

Q: Did you lose confidence in him?
A: No.

Q: The decision to fire Rex, I’m told, was made weeks ago even though it was made official just before last game. Why was it that he wasn’t let go when that decision was made and why, at that point, when you were realistically out of the playoffs, did you not bench Taylor then? They both kind of coincide with each other.
A: So what was the first part of your question?

Q: The decision to made Rex Ryan was made weeks ago I was told.
A: I’ll answer that one; then you have a lot more information than I did. I wasn’t privy to any part of Rex Ryan being fired until I was told by Terry Pegula.

Q: Really? Not even as the general manager?
A: We usually have those discussions at the year-end evaluation along with all the players, all the staff, all my staff. So again, I wasn’t privy to that information so I can’t answer that and maybe you can shed some light on that. Now, according to Tyrod, we’re still in the playoff hunt and until it’s zero, we’re trying to win every game so we’re trying to put the best team out there to win.

Q: Back in 2013, on EJ, you said you want to get another look at him and you said, “We think this guy’s going to be our quarterback for a long time. In three years maybe he’s not and I’ll be sitting there saying, ‘does anybody have a job for me?’” He’s not your quarterback, safe to say. His contract’s up. Why should fans believe you’re the guy to find the next quarterback and do you feel fortunate that it didn’t cost you your job?
A: Well first of all, being in the NFL is a privilege, it’s not a right and you have to earn your stripes every day. So yes I said that, but obviously we’ve gone out and procured another quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. So to hang your hat on one guy, that was a mistake for me to say. Absolutely.

Q: The reports that maybe you don’t get along with your head coaches—there just always seems to be reports of dysfunction with this organization when things go wrong. How concerned are you with the sheer amount of leaks that seem to come out of this organization?
A: That’s not something that I subscribe to. I don’t think that our organization wants to be someone that has reports coming out of their own building. We can’t confirm that the reports are coming from our building, maybe you guys can and please do confirm it with me. But that’s not the modus operandi that we subscribe to and we’re going to investigate it and try to shut it down as quickly as possible.

Q: Tyrod has played all the games he’s going to play for the moment, so has the decision been made in terms of evaluation? What needs to be done, nothing can be done on the field, to make this a decision on this contract in such a short time?
A: Well you got to understand it’s going to be a decision by myself and ownership along with the new head coach, so we have to finalize that part of the script before we can write the end of it. So it’s going to be part of the evaluation process along with everybody else on the team. Our new coaching staff’s going to come in and evaluate every single player on this roster.

Q: Do you feel he’s done enough to convince you he’s a franchise quarterback?
A: That will be part of the evaluation process and when we make a decision we will let you know.

Q: Regarding an explanation to the fans, how can you speak for ownership if you were not privy to the details?
A: I can’t give you the particulars of what happened in that conversation. I can just tell you that I was informed that he would not be our head coach going forward.

Q: How does that happen though? You’re the GM.
A: Because, again, we usually hold those conversations after the season. Season-end evaluation of not only coaching staff and my staff but players.

Q: You had no input?
A: Again, I was not privy to that conversation.

Q: You said a number of times this usually happens at the end-of-the-season discussion and that it was off-script this time. Why was it off-script this time and why would ownership even allow that to happen? You are the GM, it’s an integral part of the role to be involved with that regardless of the timetable.
A: I look at it this way; I’m the GM of the football operation. I was told by my boss that I would no longer be working with a certain person. My role is not to figure out why, my role is to take the information and go forward and put this organization in the best possible way to win football games. So for me, I did not ask.

Q: I don’t want to know if you were privy to any conversation, I want to know if you had any input whatsoever in the decision to fire Rex.
A: No.

Q: Based upon that, is it safe to assume Rex reported to ownership…
A: Correct.

Q: …and will the next head coaching structure be the same or will he report to you?
A: We will determine that structure in the interview process.

Q: Are you worried at all with how Week 17 went and with Tyrod is that the relationship with him and the organization is strained?
A: No. He’s a competitor but he’s also a professional.

Q: Last week Anthony Lynn said he was not involved in the decision to not play Tyrod in that game. Why was he put in a position to go out there and speak for the organization on a decision he was not part of?
A: I understand the narrative out there and I totally get it. Anthony and I have talked and we’re fine.

Q: So if he wasn’t involved, why did he speak for a decision that he didn’t make?
A: I just said, I understand the narrative. We’ve talked, we are fine.

Q: It’s not a narrative though, it came right from Anthony. He said he wasn’t in the room. He was pretty direct with us in the same chair you’re sitting in right now.
A: Terry and I talked. We brought Anthony Lynn in, we discussed it with Anthony Lynn. He wasn’t in on every conversation we had about Tyrod that day, but the final one was consulted with Anthony Lynn.

Q: Why haven’t you spoken until now?
A: Because the ownership put out a statement and I address things at the year-end review.

Q: Why didn’t you feel you needed to address anything beforehand?
A: Because ownership put out a statement.

Q: There have been several requests from several outlets to hear from you regarding the state of this football team. This dates back to training camp. Outside of your appearances on WGR, why haven’t you been accessible to the media?”
A: We have a policy that we have one singular voice, and that’s the head coach during the season. Now once the season’s over, I’ll take the singular voice.

Q: But your voice is heard on a contracted show.
A: It is a contracted show.

Q: There were times where you’ve spoke. You spoke when Percy (Harvin) was signed, you spoke when Marcell (Dareus) was suspended. So there have been times so it’s not a policy if you’re breaking it.
A: It’s not policy if we’re breaking it, I agree with you. But with ownership’s statement, I didn’t feel the need to come out.

Q: Is it your choice or ownership’s choice to limit you to the mass media as opposed to your contracted appearances?
A: It’s an ideal that I’ve brought with me where I came from. And it’s one singular voice unless obviously contracted and that’s the head coach during the season.

Q: A little clarification on how contract work, Russ Brandon and Jim Overdorf meet with free agents at the combine, the Bills were up against the salary cap this year how does it get to be this process where you have so many people involved in the process, and whose fault is it the Bills were up against the salary cap with a losing record?
A: I set the plan, and at the combine Russ (Brandon), and JO (Jim Overdorf) and Kevin Meganck divvy the duties up to talk to different agents, especially are own free agents, perspective free agents. As for up against the cap, depending on what we do I think we will have $10-30 million, so I will have to disagree with you on that.

Q: What can you tell us about who should be at fault for the Marcell Dareus contract for him not giving up any of his guarantees when he got suspend?
A: Well his guarantees get paid back for games that he missed.

Q: It is a pretty heavy lift to get this team into contention with all that needs to be done this offseason, what do you say to fans who say you might be as far away from making the playoffs as you have been this whole time?
A: Well I say at 7-9 we are close, but not good enough. If you look at the majority of our free agents a lot of guys that we brought in for backup roles for one year contracts that we were trying to see, hey let’s see what they can do and we can sign them again after next year for longer-term deals. So it seems a daunting task, but if you really break it down we do not…it is not daunting, as you would say or think.

Q: Who made the call to promote Anthony Lynn to Interim Head Coach? Who made that call. I am just trying to figure out the chain of command here? I am just trying to figure out what you do despite your job title? I would like to know what you do.
A: Can I answer?

Q: Yeah go ahead.
A: Rex Ryan actually recommended that Anthony Lynn to be the interim head coach.

Q: During the 17 years this organization has be unable to get the right head coach and quarterback, during your time how would evaluate your handling of the quarterback situation?
A: Trying, and constantly trying, to find the right one. And we are evaluating the guy on the roster right now and he may be the right one. I would say it is not an easy thing. It is one of the hardest positions to play in sports. If it was an easy thing there would 32, 64 quarterbacks that everybody wants. So it is not an easy thing. We understand that and I understand that taking this job and that is what I have been ordered and tasked to do. I am going to work as hard as possible to get that done.

Q: I wasn’t trying to be crass when I asked what you do for a living, but it seems like how that role is defined because it seems like it is defined differently here than it is at other places? The head coach gets fired and the general manager doesn’t speak, Rex gets fired but apparently makes the call for Anthony Lynn and the contracts Tim mentioned. I am just trying to find out what your specific role is?
A: Well I spoke earlier about the structure. The head coach reports to the ownership group. I report to the owners. The head coach doesn’t report to me.

Q: But not any more moving forward?
A: That has not been determined yet. We will address that with the coaching search.

Q: Will the Pegula’s have any input in the next coaching search?
A: Oh absolutely. No doubt about it, yeah.

Q: So it is not just your call?
A: Yeah.

Q: You said you understand the narrative earlier when Rex was fired and you or ownership didn’t speak. Do you worry about how that makes the organization look when you are trying to appeal to perspective head coaches?
A: I don’t because there was going to be a narrative no matter what we had done that day. That painted us any picture that you guys wanted to paint us.

Q: You mentioned that you were not in on the conversation in which Rex Ryan was fired and Anthony Lynn was not part of the conversation to bench Tyrod. Is that communication an issue, is that how you want this organization to be run?
A: That is we have it set up with the reporting of the head coach to ownership. Again with Anthony Lynn, we had discussions before that with ownership that if we are out of the playoffs what are we going to do. So again he wasn’t in it. The ultimate decision when we decided, he was in there. It was myself, Anthony (Lynn), and Terry Pegula on the phone.

Q: Was that meeting that included Anthony, was that after he spoke to us on Wednesday?
A: It was before then.

Q: Who had those discussions about benching Tyrod, you, Rex Ryan and the Pegulas?
A: Myself, and the Pegula’s and Rex (Ryan). We were saying, ‘hey listen these are things we got to think about as an organization.’

Q: So when Rex said on Monday barring any unforeseen injuries?
A: No, we had discussions we didn’t come up with a firm stance of what we were going to do.

Q: How much of an advisor has Russ Brandon been to you?
A: He has been more of an advisor to me more on the administrative side of football matters and he will be a good sounding board. But again with his duties taking him away it will probably be less and less.

Q: We talked about him at the Combine, and Rex has said he is involved in the weekly conversations with the Pegula’s and sitting next to you in the draft room, can you clarify what we have been told that he has no input in the football operations?
A: He is the president of the organization and he needs to be privy to information, but he is not in on the decision making progress or lending any advice.

Q: Before or moving forward?
A: Moving forward and before.

Q: You said you are the voice of ownership, but you said you were not privy to information about them firing Rex Ryan, I guess I feel it should be information they should share with you for you to come out here?
A: They put out a statement.

Q: What did the statement say that shed any light on the situation?
A: You have it.

Q: How disappointing is it that a pretty significant portion of draft classes will not be represented next year?
A: We look at it this way, can we be better at the draft? Absolutely. We want all seven or any number of our picks to be starting and Pro Bowlers, but the reality of the situation is you can build your roster between drafts, trades, free agency. You don’t want to back yourself into a corner.

Q: Repeatedly saying the owners put out a statement does not answer why you were not privy to ownerships decision. We hear you were shut out of the process, so square that because saying they put out a statement doesn’t answer that?
A: Well that is the way you think. I look at it this way. My boss gave me a directive. He said that we will not be having Rex Ryan as our head coach anymore.

Q: With no explanation to you?
A: I didn’t need any. I am trying to tell you the way I approach my job and it may be wrong to you guys, and you can write how you want. My thinking is when I get a directive from my boss it doesn’t matter how he came up with that directive, I am here to execute the directive.

Q: The point was you are speaking for ownership, so what is your message to the fan base that has a lot doubt, what is the organizational message to fans about where this team it headed?
A: The organizational message is if you look at the season in totality. We did some good, we did some really good things. We weren’t consistent. If you look at the Seattle game, if you look at going out in Oakland. We were in a lot of games, there was probably New England game is the one we really got blown out. Other than that we were highly competitive and then this last game. So we are closer, we are not a 4-12 team, we are a 7-9 team, now do we need to get better? Absolutely. But we are not that far away we don’t believe.

Q: Now you’re in charge and knowing how the structure is going to be, would you hope in your role, that would be different going forward? Because you’re the one out front now finding the next head coach and it would be your choice with their approval.

A: It’s not all about me. It’s about the Buffalo Bills and winning. So whatever structure comes that helps us get over the hump, so that we’re not sitting here talking about a 7-9 season again, I subscribe to it.

Q: That seems to be a structure in many places, especially places that it’s worked, and it seems to be where you’re headed now. Wouldn’t that be a better structure for you as the general manager?

A: Again, it’s not about me.

Q: There have been a few voices in the locker room that said maybe the team needs to go in a direction, maybe more disciplinary type coach. Somebody that pays more attention to detail and accountability. Would you be looking for that type of coach next? Do you even agree with that assessment?

A: I’m looking for the best coach for us moving forward. We’re going to take everything into consideration, but we’re not pinpointing just one characteristic.

Q: When you lay out the fact that the team was close, and 7-9, and we were consistent and some positives that came out of this season, why were you unable to make the case for continuity? Then if you’re that close, you got this close with Rex Ryan, coming from a Steelers organization where continuity has been key, and the ownership talk about continuity going forward, could you make a case for continuity with ownership? And why did it not fall on them?

A: Well I look at it this way John (Wawrow), we’re searching for that continuity. We’re searching for that coach that can be here for 10-15 years. And at this time, the search starts as soon as I leave this stage.

Q: Did you ever get the sense that Rex was in trouble with the Pegulas? Were you ever moved to maybe come to his defense?

A: I’ll have to say this again, we hold those conversations at the end of the year, usually for the evaluations. So I had no need to go and talk to them about Rex. We were focused on the season. We always focus on the game ahead.

Q: You had no word that he was in trouble though?

A: No.

Q: You didn’t know that he might get fired?

A: No.

Q: Regarding the Marcell Dareus contract, any other team, if a player breaches a contract, his guarantees in future years are voided. The Bills had a clause in their contract that is considered unique to any other team in the league that if he breached the contract again, putting the team on the hook for all of these guarantees. Who is responsible for that?

A: Again, like you said and we said before, we do not discuss details of a contract in the media.

Q: So who actually presents the contract? When there’s a finalized contract, does it come from you or Jim Overdorf?

A: Presents it to actually sign the guy?

Q: When you have all the legal terms in there, when you give a contract to a guy, who’s responsible for the language of the contract?

A: It’s me.

Q: I understand that you say you didn’t have any influence in Rex’s firing, but looking at the big picture, what’s your opinion of how the football operations were run under him? It looked like a disorganized matter, especially on defense. And in light of that, talk about what you’re searching for in a new head coach.

A: Well football operations or the football team? I guess that is my question I’m asking you about. Because you’re talking about the football field.

Q: Rex’s oversight as to how the team is operated and executed on the field and during the week.

A: I fully supported Rex and obviously we weren’t good enough, and he’ll be the first to tell you his defense wasn’t good enough, and we could’ve got better. All I know is though that he worked tirelessly. Everybody in that coaching staff worked tirelessly to get this thing right. And what was the second question?

Q: Along the lines, was it a tight enough ship under him? And what are the characteristics you’re looking for in a new head coach along those lines?

A: Well at 7-9, it’s not tight enough. Characteristics of the next coach, we’ll keep that in-house. Again, because we are up against some other teams and I don’t want to give them the blueprint of how we’re going after our search.

Q: Does Anthony Lynn represent continuity in your mind?

A: Familiarity and possible continuity. But most of all, familiarity.

Q: What is your general plan, to get this team where it needs to go? Whether that being a year from now, or five years from now, however long you see it taking, to get not just into the playoffs but ultimately I’m assuming to win a Super Bowl, which is the goal of every team. How are you going to get there?

A: First step is walking off this podium and trying to find the right coach. And then from there, keep on adding talent.

Q: Speaking for ownership, have they communicated or given an explanation to you why, with regards to all of this, why they would only put out a statement and do not want to directly address the fans?

A: They haven’t talked to me about it and I don’t need them to talk to me about it.

Q: Just to be clear, you didn’t have full responsibility in the hiring of Rex, you didn’t have responsibility in the firing of Rex, you said you never had a hunch that he was on a hot seat with ownership. So to you as the GM of the team, is it frustrating that you don’t have that sort of power, any sort of say in the situation? Because on the outside looking in, it doesn’t look like you have much power here.

A: Everybody has a boss, and the Pegulas, when the hiring of Rex, it was a committee approach, Pegulas had to sign off on it. This one, I will lead the search, the Pegulas still have to sign off on it. The head coach reports to the Pegulas.

Q: Earlier today, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians told reporters that Harold Goodwin, his OC, would interview with the Bills. Can you confirm that?

A: We can confirm that he has been reached out to and we sent a request form for him.

Q: As the head of football operations, it seems like you’re not making all of the football decisions. Some of those decisions are coming from the Pegulas and if they want to fire the coach, they’re the owners. Is that the owners job to be making football decisions, or do they have somebody—you—who runs the football department and if they succeed, congratulations. If they fail, you’re in trouble.

A: I mean it doesn’t matter, no matter what. It’s their organization, their franchise. So they’re going to have the ultimate stamp no matter what. If it’s on me in charge over the coach, or the coach and I at the same level, it’s still ultimately their decisions.

Q: Did you agree with the decision to fire Rex?

A: I won’t get—I’ll say this much, I haven’t even thought about it. My focus now is going ahead.

Q: You didn’t have any kind of “well ok I agree,” or “wait a minute, I’m a football guy and you’re not football people. Maybe we should talk about this?” Just to have a discussion?

A: That wasn’t in my thought process.

Q: What is the timetable on all of this? Obviously you’re also competing against other teams that are looking for head coaches, is this something that you want to get wrapped up soon, or is this something that goes as long as it needs to?

A: You don’t want to rush a decision like this. You want to make the right decision.

Q: So you have not thought about the decision to fire Rex Ryan?

A: I have not because my job is to go from the decision, and move this organization forward. So that would be wasted time, and I’d rather put that time and effort into going forward.

Q: So whether it was a good call or bad call, that never came up in your mind?

A: No. It’s onward and upward.

Q: With regard to Tyrod Taylor, can you shed any light on his groin/possible sports hernia, and the possibility of him getting a second opinion this week in Philadelphia?

A: Just like all players, they’re going through the medical evaluation process now. So further information to come.

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