The Bills have replaced Joe Schoen with a familiar face
At the top of the list, Buffalo replaced the departed Joe Schoen with a familiar face, naming Brian Gaine as their new assistant general manager. Gaine was in the Bills’ personnel department in 2017 before serving as the Houston Texans’ general manager in 2018 and 2019. He returned to the Bills after being replaced in Houston and has served as senior personnel advisor since then. He assumed several of Dan Morgan’s duties after Morgan left for the assistant general manager job with the Carolina Panthers and again when Schoen left to join the New York Giants as their new general manager.
On Tuesday when talking to the media, Beane said that while they interviewed outside candidates, they wanted someone he was comfortable with to be his “wing man” and know how the building is run. They interviewed Gaine and Terrence Gray as the two top candidates in addition to two outside candidates. They requested another interview but were blocked from that fifth candidate.
Regarding Gaine’s earlier tenure as the Texans’ GM that ended unceremoniously in 2019, Beane called it a power struggle. That struggle was won by head coach Bill O’Brien, and Gaine was forced out.
“The thing that I loved about Brian was we’re adding a guy that’s not just strong on one side, he’s strong on both,” said Beane. “And he has sat in this seat, and he knows some of the challenges that you face. And then ultimately, you think you’re ready, but until you sit in this seat, things fly at you that that you never thought you would deal with. And so, I think that helped Brian’s case here. After we completed the interview process, we felt right now Brian is the best candidate for us for that role.”
Terrence Gray is another big name on the list of promotions, and while he didn’t get the assistant general manager job, he moves from assistant director of player personnel to director of player personnel. That’s the title last held by Morgan up until a little over a year ago and it wasn’t filled until now, with his responsibilities just split up. Gray has been with the Bills since 2017.
Gray is in Beane’s “circle of trust” as the third in command, said the GM Tuesday. They are adding more pro scouting duties to Gray’s plate but he will still oversee college scouting.
A new hire has joined the upper ranks of the Bills’ front office, as well. Matt Bazirgan is the new senior personnel executive, replacing Gaine. He follows Gaine from the Texans where he was the co-director of player personnel. He had 14 seasons with the New York Jets before the most recent five years in Houston.
Mike Szabo has been promoted to a college national scout after spending time as an area scout. Joining the team as a national scout is Alonzo Dotson, who most recently was an area scout for the New York Jets.
Dennis Lock was named senior director of football research after previously holding the title of director of football research and strategy.
Matt Worswick is now the director of team administration after being assistant to the head coach for the last five years.
There were three new hires in entry-level positions, as well:
- Drew DiSanto, sports performance data analyst
- Malcom Charles, data analyst
- Michelle Mankoff, Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship
“There’s a lot of data. There’s a lot of information out there,” said Beane Tuesday. “And you have to know what’s valuable and what’s not. There are a lot of things that you don’t use, but ultimately you try and figure out what are the indicators of all this data you’re getting, whether it’s player evaluation, GPS data, whatever it is. But ultimately, availability is the number one ability and we want to do everything we can to have our guys practice as much as they can, to be able to play as much as they can. We put a lot into it here and I think we’ve got a good staff of people that really do a nice job with it.”
That will be a large part of DiSanto’s role in the sports performance space. The Bills recently invested a lot of time and money into their new training facility at One Bills Drive.
“We put a lot into our player health and wellness and keeping guys on the field, tracking everything they do,” Beane said. “Weight room, on the field, the grass, all that stuff, just trying to keep these guys healthy. You can’t really do much about what I call the car crash injuries, a broken arm, broken leg, whatever it is. But trying to eliminate unnecessary soft tissue from overuse, wear and tear, too much high-speed running and all that volume. So, it’s just adding another layer to what we have to help us track that more. It ultimately helps us build our practice schedule each week. And it’s individualized so that we can look at each player’s practice load. It’s Stefon Diggs practice load versus Gabe Davis’s practice load and beyond.”