User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Bills GM Whaley approaches rebuilding

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Pardon Doug Whaley for using a baseball analogy when discussing his all-in approach to transforming the Buffalo Bills into something he hopes will finally resemble a playoff contender.

Advertisement
''You have equal chances of missing when you play it safe as when you try to swing for a home run,'' the Bills general manager said. ''So why not go for the home run?''

And Whaley didn't blink when reminded that home-run hitters generally strike out a lot.

''Yeah,'' he said. ''And a lot of single hitters stay on base.''

The Bills prepare to open training camp in suburban Rochester on Sunday featuring a new-look offense. The changes reflect the swing-for-the-fences philosophy Whaley put into motion this offseason in a bid to end the franchise's 14-season playoff drought - the NFL's longest active streak.

Whaley's biggest move came in May while overseeing his first draft since taking over as GM.

Whaley mortgaged a portion of the team's future by trading next year's first-round draft pick to move up five spots and select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall.

It was a risky move, and yet one Whaley believed was worth the gamble by adding a dynamic piece to a passing attack that had sputtered during quarterback EJ Manuel's inconsistent and injury-troubled rookie season.

Whaley didn't stop there in a bid to improve the supporting cast around Manuel, the team's 2013 first-round pick.

The Bills used three of seven draft picks on offensive lineman. Whaley shuffled his receivers by acquiring Mike Williams from Tampa Bay and trading starter Stevie Johnson to San Francisco.

Whaley even tinkered with the Bills already strong running attack. He added experienced depth behind co-starters C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson by acquiring Bryce Brown in trade with Philadelphia and signing Anthony Dixon in free agency.

''It is our duty to do what we can to get this team into the playoffs. And I have no problem in saying that,'' Whaley said. ''That's a goal. I'm not guaranteeing it, but that's a goal.''

Whaley's win-now objective comes at a most uncertain juncture in the franchise's 55-year history.

The Bills are for sale after team founder and owner Ralph Wilson died in March, and a new owner could be identified within the next month.

There are concerns of the franchise eventually relocating under new ownership.

And there are shorter-term questions as to whether the next owner will consider cleaning house if Whaley and the rest of the Bills front-office fails to deliver a winner.

''That's out of my pay grade,'' Whaley said, regarding his job security. ''I have nothing to do with that stuff.''

Ownership change aside, there is a distinct sense the franchise is entering a new era ushered in by Whaley, second-year coach Doug Marrone and team president Russ Brandon, who took over daily oversight of the team in January 2013.

Despite a 6-10 finish last season, the Bills showed signs of being competitive following a major top-to-bottom overhaul. While their defense improved in several areas, their offense remained a weak spot in large part because of Manuel, whose development was stunted by three separate knee injuries. He went 4-6 in 10 games, with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Given the new additions on offense, the pressure is on Manuel to begin carrying his fair share of the load.

Whaley maintains his faith in Manuel, saying he has confidence the quarterback can build on last season.

''I wouldn't say concerned. I'd say I'm optimistic. I'm eager to see him get out and perform for 16 games,'' Whaley said. ''I think this year is going to be a big leap for him and for us.''

Whaley's series of offseason moves caught the players' attention by refocusing their commitment to win.

''This is a desperate franchise with desperate players and coaches to win,'' center Eric Wood said. ''I'm not using desperate in a negative way. I'm using desperate in a positive way. Desperate like: Willing to do whatever-it-takes mentality. This is probably the most positive energy I've felt since I've been here.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2016
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Nelson: AFC North Outlook
News: Win Total Outlook - NFC
News: Win Total Outlook - AFC
Franco: Season Win Total Predictions
Nelson: AFC East Outlook
Roberts: Contests Galore in Vegas
Rogers: Time Zone Trends
Rogers: Back-to-Back Road Games
Rogers: Primetime Cheat Sheet
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NFL Pro Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NFL Pro Football Expert Sports Picks
2015 NFL SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Andy Iskoe + 2608
Marc Lawrence + 2270
Antony Dinero + 1655
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Andy Iskoe 63 %
Marc Lawrence 62 %
Zack Cimini 62 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Kyle Hunter + 715
Marc Lawrence + 620
Kevin Rogers + 597
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Andy Iskoe + 1090
Michael Black + 796
Antony Dinero + 591
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1401
Chip Chirimbes + 715
Gary Bart + 626
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership