SBD/May 14, 2013/Franchises

Buddy Nix Steps Down As Bills GM; Doug Whaley Expected To Take Over Role

Nix's legacy with the Bills includes a 16-32 record and no playoff games
Bills GM Buddy Nix yesterday resigned from his position, saying that there is "logic in moving forward with a new general manager" after the team this offseason named a new team president and a new coach, according to Mark Gaughan of the BUFFALO NEWS. Nix said, "At some point you’ve got to step aside and let young guys that are qualified have their shot." The "long-anticipated move by Nix, 73, paves the way for the promotion of" Assistant GM Doug Whaley, who is expected to be named GM "within the next week or two." The Bills out of respect for Nix' 12 1/2 years of service to the organization "made no mention of Whaley’s impending promotion." Bills President & CEO Russ Brandon said of Nix, "He brought instant credibility to the GM role when he came here." Gaughan notes the Bills "spent money under Nix, a sign of the respect the owner and team president had for his judgment." Sources said that the Bills were "third in cash spending last year and 16th in 2011." Nix will hold the title of "special assistant" and will "relocate to his home in Chattanooga, Tenn., but said he will keep his home in Western New York and spend significant time here as an advisor" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/14). Nix said, "I always felt like I would know when it was the right time and I think it is the right time. There is never a good time personally, but for the Bills and for the organization this is the best time." Brandon: "He will still play a vital role in our football organization. He will assist me, coach [Doug] Marrone, and the next general manager in projects that we all work on together and discuss" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 5/14). NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported with the scouting process beginning, Nix "realized he just didn’t have it in him to begin this process all over again, so he's going to leave it to the next generation" ("NFL Total Access," NFL Network, 5/13).

INCOMPLETE GRADE: ESPN.com's James Walker wrote it is "difficult to fully gauge Nix's impact in Buffalo." The tangible evidence "so far doesn't look good for Nix," as it is "easy to point to Buffalo's 16-32 record during his three-year tenure." You can also look at Nix' "failed hire of former Bills head coach Chan Gailey." Rookie QB E.J. Manuel and DE Mario Williams also could be "huge blemishes that would make Nix's run as GM in Buffalo a complete disaster." But until then, Nix's "three-year legacy with the Bills is still to be determined" (ESPN.com, 5/13). In Buffalo, Mike Harrington writes there are "parts of the Bills' plan you at least have some shreds of respect for." Nix said that he "needed to draft a franchise quarterback as part of his legacy before he departed." Harrington: "We'll see how things go with EJ Manuel but at least the pick was finally made" (BUFFALO NEWS, 5/14). QMI AGENCY's John Kryk wrote Brandon has "a ton of respect for Nix, whose wiseacre Alabama drawl, forever-furrowed brow and snarly expression often belied the polite, pleasant-natured family man." It is "too early to give Nix a final grade as a talent collector." To be "sure, though, his drafting was not as good as he or the club had hoped." There is "no doubt Nix's biggest blunder was believing Ryan Fitzpatrick was the answer at quarterback." Presuming Whaley gets the GM job, the club's "top-to-bottom youth movement will be complete." Kryk: "Brandon, 45, is president. Whaley, 40, will be GM. Marrone, 48, heads up a young coaching staff. And the future quarterback is the 23-year-old Manuel. Out with the old, in with the new. Entirely now" (QMI AGENCY, 5/13).

ANALYZE THIS: YAHOO SPORTS' Brian McIntyre noted Whaley is a "highly-regarded talent evaluator and received a contract extension from the Bills in February." With Whaley waiting in the wings, and Brandon "eager to create a 'robust' analytics program that Nix hasn't been too enthusiastic about, Nix stepping aside this offseason does not come as a complete surprise" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/13). In Buffalo, Joe Buscaglia noted now that Nix has moved on, it is "fair to wonder if the promised analytics department will lift off for the team." Brandon on Jan. 1, "proudly proclaimed that the new-age Bills would be venturing in to the world of statistical based research in certain ways, and said it in a way that got fans excited." When the new GM is announced, it is "likely that analytics will be one of many topics of conversation for the new man calling the shots" (WGR550.com, 5/13).
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