Buffalo Bills Make a Whole Lot of Noise but Only Minor Changes in Front Office

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IJanuary 1, 2013

July 26, 2011; Orchard Park, NY, USA;  Buffalo Bills chief executive officer Russ Brandon (right) and general manager Buddy Nix during a press conference at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Bills general manager Buddy Nix has preached "staying the course" to Buffalo fans, and it appears that's exactly what the team will do.

Going through massive overhauls every three years is no way to build a contender, to be sure, but with a 16-32 record over the past three years, it's fair to wonder whether this front office is the right group to get the job done.

There have been changes, for sure. Head coach Chan Gailey and his staff have been relieved of their duties. Owner Ralph Wilson announced that he has promoted CEO and former general manager Russ Brandon to the position of president.

Other than that, things will largely stay the same for the Buffalo Bills.

That includes Nix's role as general manager, despite reports (via The Buffalo News) which speculated that he would be stepping back and assistant GM and pro personnel director Doug Whaley would be taking on more responsibilities.

Neither Whaley nor Brandon will play a role in diminishing Nix's role in 2013.

Brandon: I will not be drafting people. I will not be making the final decision on free agents. I will empower the GM to do that

— Joe Buscaglia (@JoeBuscaglia) January 1, 2013

As president and CEO, though, he will have authority and say in those decisions. Where Brandon's impact will be felt is in the day-to-day operations of the team, and with regards to the coaching search. Brandon did not have final say in the hirings of Nix or Gailey.

That's big news for Bills fans who may have been worried that Ralph Wilson might be too involved this offseason, after Brandon said Wilson had his "finger on the pulse of the team."

The reason for concern had to do with the previous coaching search, which got off to a tough start and never lived up to the big-spending promises of Wilson.

Brandon said it was the media that said the bills would spend big on a coach 3 years ago. John Wawrow of ap reminded him that Ralph told him

— Jerry Sullivan (@TBNSully) January 1, 2013

There are plenty of big-time coaches available this offseason. Former Bears head coach Lovie Smith has reportedly expressed interest in the job already, and he would be a perfect candidate for the job.

The Bills defense has a lot of talent and potential and is built for a 4-3 front, his preferred scheme. Fans who were upset with Gailey's misuse/underuse of running back C.J. Spiller would be thrilled with Smith's love for running the ball.

If the Bills want him as their head coach, he's the only guy they have to interview. (Doing so would fulfill the Rooney Rule.)

Instead, they have already embarked on a journey to Arizona to interview former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, defensive coordinator Ray Horton and offensive coordinator Russ Grimm.

They may get tired of listening to the idea that they don't spend money, but this offseason, they have a big opportunity to change the perception by changing the reality.

The Bills were 17-31 with Brandon as the general manager from 2008-2010. To put that in perspective, Chan Gailey was just fired for coaching the Bills to a 16-32 record from 2010 to 2012. Nix shares that 16-32 record as well.

If you listen to the words being uttered at One Bills Drive, you might assume there's a lot of change taking place. 

As it turns out, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.