The new right-hand man of Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley says there is no secret to his quick climb up the football administration ladder or to building a successful scouting operation.
“Hard work,” said Jim Monos, the Bills’ director of player personnel, in his introduction to the media Monday. “It’s going to be hard work. There’s no easy way. Doug’s always been about that.”
Monos, 38, comes to Buffalo after eight years as the Saints’ scout for the Southeastern United States, the most important region of the country for the NFL Draft.
The Saints have been one of the winningest teams in the league since coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees arrived in 2006. They have made the playoffs four times and won the Super Bowl in 2009. They have drafted well, especially in the middle to later rounds.
What are the Saints doing right?
“I would say it’s almost the same thing,” Monos said. “It’s the hard work element of it. We were out there at pro days, hitting every single thing we could up until the draft to know as much as we could about those players.
“You want to stick to what you believe in. Draft smart, hard-working, productive football players. It sounds simple but if you stick with it, the hit rate seems to be pretty good. We did a good job as a staff of being on the same page. Everybody knew what everybody wanted.”
Whaley clearly wanted Monos, even though the two never worked together. Immediately after Buddy Nix stepped down as general manager a month ago, Whaley went to work to put his new scouting executives in place. Just four days later, Monos was hired, along with Kelvin Fisher, the Bills’ new director of college scouting.
Monos said he never before had talked with Whaley about working for the Bills and that the call from Whaley to come to Buffalo for an interview came out of the blue.
“In the scouting world, it’s a fraternity,” Monos said. “You meet people on the road, all-star games, the combine. So over the years Doug and I got to know each other and became friends. We have a lot of the same beliefs. … I always liked bouncing things off him. I knew he had experience and was sharp. It’s not a surprise where he’s at right now.”
Monos’ father, Jim Sr., has been head coach at Division III Lebanon Valley for 20 years. The younger Monos played for his father and knew he wanted a career in football. He broke into the NFL in 2000 as an intern with the Philadelphia Eagles, whose personnel department at the time was run by Tom Modrak, who previously had been a mentor to Whaley in Pittsburgh and later would become Bills assistant GM. Monos spent four years as the Eagles’ Northeast scout before jumping to the Saints.
Monos (pronounced Moe-nis) will oversee both Fisher and Tom Gibbons, director of pro personnel. He has not worked the pro side of scouting before.
“We’ve done little projects like that as area scouts with the Saints,” Monos said. “But working with Tom Gibbons is going to be good for me. Tom’s been doing it for a long time, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
“Really, it’s an honor for them to go in this direction and to want me to be a part of it,” he said.
Fisher, 44, is a Pittsburgh native who played running back for Arizona State from 1988 to ‘91. He worked as a juvenile probation officer in Arizona after college, then spent a year recruiting for the Arizona State football team before getting his break with the Steelers in 2000.
He spent five years as the Steelers’ scout for BLESTO, the eight-team scouting alliance that does preliminary scouting of all pro prospects. Then he spent eight years as the Steelers’ scout for the western United States.
Whaley left the Steelers in 2010 to work under Nix in Buffalo.
“When he left, I told myself that one day we’d be working together and it happened,” Fisher said.