Beane's team building rooted in proven philosophy

Posted May 12, 2017

It's true that some of GM Brandon Beane's team building approach is familiar. Building through the draft and not making big signings in free agency certainly isn't unique. But unlike his predecessors there's an added layer he intends to enact to ensure the Bills finally become perennial contenders.

It wasn't anything Bills hadn't heard before. But there was an added layer to how Bills' new general manager intends to build a long-term winner in Buffalo that parallels what head coach Sean McDermott has been preaching since he arrived.

As Brandon Beane was introduced to the Bills faithful for the first time, he laid out his philosophy of building a roster into a perennial contender. It is an approach that has brought a handful of NFL teams widespread success.

The key is not only believing in it, but effectively executing it, something Beane intends to do for the Bills.

“I’m going to build through the draft, first and foremost,” he said. “You have to draft well and sign those guys. If you draft well, you sign them.

“You’re not going to see big splashes of free agency. Free agency sets you up for your draft. You don’t want to go into the draft needing a cornerback – needing an offensive tackle. If me and my staff do our job, we’ll look at where we have some holes after the season, we’ll plug a few holes, and then we’ll be able to draft for need when April comes.”

It’s that approach that Beane believes will lead to perennial success year over year.

“The long-term vision is to build a consistent winner here,” he said. “Sean and I (will not) achieve a goal if we make the playoffs once and then we’re out of it two or three years in a row. Sustained success. Year after year, we’re contending to win the division. That’s the first thing we have to do. We’ve got to go win the division.

“Obviously, we now have a big foe in Foxborough that’s had a stranglehold on it. We’re aware of the task but that’s the vision that I have.”


Where Beane’s approach differentiated from some of his predecessors is that in addition to assembling a roster of top flight talent, there must be a set structure on how things are done. It loudly echoed a lot of what head coach Sean McDermott talked about instilling in the team from the beginning.

“You have to get the culture [right],” Beane said. “I know Sean – I watched some of Sean’s stuff and went back and looked – before I interviewed – at what Sean had said, and the thing that I thought he mentioned a lot that made sense was getting the culture right. The belief… this is a tough league. Year-to-year, some teams go from first to worst and worst to first.

“The teams that consistently are at the top have a good culture. They know how to win, they know how to overcome adversity. I’ve been on teams that were not mentally strong, and all of a sudden you hit a two or three-game losing streak and it’s hard to overcome. I’ve also been on teams that have known how to overcome that and finish the season strong and take it into the playoffs.”

The most recent example would be the Carolina team in 2015 that won their first 14 games in the regular season, went 15-1, and won the NFC title. But it wasn’t like the team coasted. Five of their first 14 wins were by five points or less, including one that went to overtime.

But it wasn’t just the 2015 season. Beane has been a part of building five division title winners in Carolina over the years, including three of the last four seasons (2013, 2014, 2015).

Sustained success.

And that route to reaching that level of success is something to which McDermott equally subscribes.

“Philosophically, we are both aligned that way in how we want to build this thing,” he said.

The task now is to accurately ascertain what they have on their roster now and what is still needed. Beane wants to sit down with McDermott and lay out in totality what he feels they have and then make his own conclusions himself and compare notes.

Buffalo’s GM said he expects to have a firm working knowledge of the talent level on the roster by training camp.

And while that timetable in short he and McDermott believe that building the roster from the ground up will take time. Neither man is going to hold themselves to a deadline. They’re resolute in their collective belief that if built the right way success will follow. Perhaps not right away, but it will inevitably arrive.

“Anything you build, you want to build it from the ground up with a solid foundation,” said Beane. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. We’re not trying to do this tomorrow. We’re going to try to do it the right way and when it’s meant to be, we’ll get there, and I think everybody will see success.”