PITTSFORD,N.Y.-Bills General Manager Doug Whaley met the media Saturday. The Bills officially kickoff training camp Sunday evening at St. John Fisher College. Whaley addressed a number of topics concerning the Bills.
I just want to thank all of you for coming out and covering us. I also want to thank Dr. Bain and St. John Fisher. This camp set-up is by far the best I have been around. We are really excited to be here and get this thing kicked off in the right way and get things going.
Q: Can you talk about the decision to cut Mark Anderson?
A: He was released healthy. He signed off and we thought it was the best opportunity for him to get out (before camps start) and hopefully get another job at this time with camp starting. But we made the move that we thought was best for us and best for him.
Q: How do you feel about your pass rushing talent on the roster?
A: We feel pretty good about it. We think that the competition will make people better and it makes the cream rise to the top. And before Mario (Williams) was in the league, he didn't have any sacks. This is going to give guys the opportunity to show what they have and maybe become the next Mario.
Q: What are your thoughts on Jerry Hughes' progression from the spring to now?
A: We are very excited about Jerry (Hughes). He was a high pick and we think that this fresh start will be good for him and a bonus for us.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Jairus Byrd situation?
A: I know it's a story that you guys are going to have to cover. We respect him as a player and as a human being. Hopefully he comes in, and when he does, we will welcome him with open arms. However, at this time, he is exercising his right and we respect that.
Q: How much do you feel your perspective has changed in your new position as General Manager?
A: I tell people all of the time that it doesn't change because every time I walked onto the field in my old role, I had the mindset of being the GM and how I would approach different situations. The mindset does not change, but the responsibilities have changed.
Q: How much of a setback is Jairus Byrd's absence?
A: That's to be seen. I think there are a lot of guys on the roster that will step up and try to fill that role until he gets back. We'll go from there when he gets in, but it's hard for me to predict that.
Q: How excited are you to see EJ Manuel on the field?
A: I tell everybody that the teams that consistently compete have a franchise quarterback, and we think EJ can be that franchise quarterback. We are excited to see him grow and we are excited to see him compete with Kevin Kolb. Let the best man win.
Q: Do you plan on changing your roster numbers?
A: We have a sufficient number, we think. We looked at it, and a couple of years ago, we came into camp with 80. So right now, we are constantly evaluating free agents out there to see if they can come in and help us. We will give it some flexibility by leaving it at that without having to cut somebody if we do see someone that we think could help us.
Q: Compare the enthusiasm and preparedness of this coaching staff to previous years'?
A: I just think it's a different mindset. I don't think one is better than the other; it's just a different mindset. They approach things a little bit differently than other coaching staffs, and we probably do things differently than other teams. It's just different.
Q: What is one thing that they do differently in their approach?
A: I think their main goal and focus is that we want to go out and be able, on offense and defense, to dictate to the other team and not be reactionary. They want an aggressive, attacking approach and that's what they've been preaching. They can do it different ways by speeding up the tempo, slowing down the tempo and stuff like that.
Q: Is it better to practice at St. John Fisher College or back at Orchard Park?
A: I think when you get a group of guys staying together, eating together, practicing together and watching film together, without too many outside distractions, it just brings the cohesiveness of this team together. I don't think there is a better set-up in the league. It helps us to reach out to our fans in Rochester and the Central New York area