Steelers' coaching exodus continues as Robinson and Clements leave town [8:36 AM]
Washington Observer Reporter reports: 'Interestingly enough, the Steelers are caught in something of a bidding war with the Bills for LeBeau's services. LeBeau, a former defensive coordinator under Cowher, was assistant head coach in Buffalo last season and helped the Bills draw up their defensive game plans. He is currently not under contract with the Bills, but Mularkey has expressed an interest in having him return.'
Buffalo hires tough new coach to fix offensive woes [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“We wanted to get a head coach who we felt could be a strong leader. Toughness was an issue with us,” said Donahoe. “The other thing is that in today’s football you have to understand what you have and don’t have and you have to coach to your strengths. That was a criticism that I felt was justified with our team this year. I’m not sure we played to the strengths of our team, and I feel confident that with Mike we’ll do that."'
New mechanic will rev up cold offense [5:19 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: '“We’re probably going to take a step back (by simplifying things) to take two steps forward offensively here. I know they had great success two years ago. Once the staff is put in place, and the guys who come in here can look at the tapes like I have and give their opinion on it, (we’ll go forward). But no, I think you can win with Drew Bledsoe.”'
Bills GM likes coach's intensity [5:18 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: 'Those who saw Mularkey play tight end at the University of Florida and for nine years in the NFL — six with the Minnesota Vikings and three with the Pittsburgh Steelers — will tell you that it takes a lot more than frostbite conditions or broken bones to get him flustered. Though reared in Miami Dolphins country (Bills fans will be pleased to hear that he didn’t root for the Fish), he is more Rust Belt than South Beach.'
Mularkey youngest, best-paid Bills coach [5:17 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: 'The length of Mularkey’s deal is also a team record. His predecessor, Gregg Williams, had a three-year deal that averaged about $1 million a season but he originally was offered four- and five-year packages.'
Two new offensive assistants on board [5:16 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: 'McNally was born and raised in the Buffalo suburb of Kenmore and is known to be thrilled with the chance to come home and coach the team he rooted for as a kid in the 1960s. He brings an impressive resume. One of the most respected offensive line coaches in the league, he coached Cincinnati’s offensive line for 15 years and helped the Bengals to a pair of Super Bowl appearances, tutoring Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz along the way. McNally then worked in Carolina for four years and went to the NFC Championship Game with the expansion Panthers, and for the last five years he has been with the Giants and went to the Super Bowl three years ago.'
Mularkey brings mental toughness to Bills [5:15 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: 'Both Buffalo Bills general manager Tom Donahoe and new head coach Mike Mularkey say in terms of pure physical talent, the Bills are almost where they need to be. But to become a playoff contender and eventually reach the pinnacle -- the Super Bowl -- both believe a greater emphasis needs to be placed on the team's mental focus.'
Bledsoe to remain Bills' starter next season [5:14 AM]
Niagara Gazette reports: '"He's going to be here, there's no question about it," Mularkey said at Thursday's press conference. "I had a conversation with Drew yesterday, and we seem to be on the same page."'
Bills see Mularkey as Super choice [5:13 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"We said we would wait for the right guy," Donahoe said. "We got the right guy with Mike Mularkey."'
LeBeau will return as defensive coordinator [5:12 AM]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports: It appears Cowher has won the tug of war with Buffalo to hire Dick LeBeau as his defensive coordinator as soon as today. LeBeau, who was defensive coordinator of the Steelers in the 1990s when he was an assistant coach under Cowher for five years, was the subject of intense salesmanship by the Steelers and new Bills coach Mike Mularkey, Cowher's former offensive coordinator.
Donahoe no stranger to Mularkey's commitment [5:11 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: '"Mike's ability to understand players and understand players' abilities is so essential in the game today," Donahoe said. "That has always been one of Mike's strengths."'
Steelers need LeBeau now more than ever [5:10 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'As for the loss of quarterbacks coach Tom Clements (Buffalo, offensive coordinator), that would have been much more of a concern if the Steelers were still trying to turn Kordell Stewart into a quarterback. So, it all comes back to LeBeau. If it's money he wants, pony up. If it's defensive autonomy he needs, guarantee it. Coach LeBeau is the key.'
Right-hand man [5:09 AM]
Washington Times reports: 'Williams, 45, is certainly the best-paid defensive mind in the game. The $1.8 million he'll earn as Washington's defensive coordinator in 2004 is $800,000 more than he made as the Buffalo Bills' head coach in 2003.'
Bills Introduce Head Coach Mike Mularkey [5:08 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"We are very honored to have Mike Mularkey as our coach. I think it's obvious to people who follow professional football what individuals think of Mike Mularkey. He has been a candidate for numerous jobs over the past few years and certainly was an outstanding candidate for this job. In talking to Mike and looking at our position here with the Buffalo Bills, there are certain things that stood out about Mike in comparison to the other candidates. I think a couple of those things were leadership, which is very important to be a head coach, the ability to teach and to communicate. Mike will bring toughness to our team, which we feel we need. Particularly, mental toughness. Maybe the most important thing is Mike's ability to understand players and to understand players' abilities, which is so essential in the game today."'
Tom Donahoe Talks About Mike Mularkey [5:07 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"We are very honored to have Mike Mularkey as our coach. I think it's obvious to people who follow professional football what individuals think of Mike Mularkey. He has been a candidate for numerous job over the past few years and certainly was an outstanding candidate for this job. In talking Mike and looking at our position here with the Buffalo Bills, there are certain things that stood out about Mike in comparison to the other candidates. I think a couple of those things were leadership, which is very important to be a head coach, the ability to teach and to communicate. Mike will bring toughness to our team, which we feel we need. Particularly, mental toughness. Maybe the most important thing is Mike's ability to understand players and to understand players' abilities, which is so essential in the game today."'
Teague Reacts To the Hiring of Mularkey [5:06 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I’m just excited to have a coach because we were all in limbo for a while kind of wondering what was going to happen. I think it’s nice to know what kind of direction the team is going in and I’m just kind of looking forward to getting on the right track this coming year. Every time you get a new coach you take the stuff you learned from other guys and then hopefully learn some more stuff and hopefully that makes you a better player."'
Kelsay Talks About the Hiring of Mularkey [5:05 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I'm just relieved that we finally got a head coach I don't really know alot about Mularkey, but I understand he is one of the youngest head coaches which is pretty cool. I'm definitely looking forward to it."'
Reese Shares His Thoughts On Mularkey [5:04 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I think it will be good for us. Looking at his past two years and reading his stats, I think he is a positive coach for us. It will definitely be a positive influence for our offense and for our team as a whole. He comes from an offensive background, looking at last year that is where we had some problems. I'm not saying we were perfect on defense but as a whole I think an offensive minded coach of this caliber is definitely a big positive for our team."'
Donahoe's tough decision [5:03 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Somehow, when Mularkey says the Bills will control the clock offensively and wear people down, you believe him. More importantly, I have the feeling Bills players will believe him too.'
Bills Introduce Mike Mularkey As Coach, 2 Assistants In Place [9:30 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The new Bills head coach also talked about installing an offensive philosophy that fits the team, and fits the personnel. There have been plenty of questions about the effectiveness of Drew Bledsoe, but Mularkey was quick to say he thinks the team can win with Bledsoe as quarterback. "I don't think he's broken. We're probably going to take a step back, to take two steps forward." Mularkey talked about simplifying the offense in order to become more productive.'
No Mularkey... Mike's the Man [9:28 PM]
RNews.com reports: 'At the news conference to announce his hiring, Mularkey said, "I told Tom (Donohoe) during the interview, "You can break my bank account, get into my garage, you can do a lot of things becausee Super Bowl has been my password for a long time. It's just the number behind that you have to figure out."'
Then There Were Three [9:28 PM]
Cornell Daily Sun reports: 'Gilbride, a 29-year coaching veteran, has spent the last 14 years in the pro ranks, including two seasons as a head coach and 11 others as an offensive coordinator. Known as one of the preeminent offensive minds in the game, Gilbride has spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, which he led to offensive rankings of 11th and 30th in the 2002 and 2003 seasons, respectively.'
Robinson headed to the 49ers, Clements to the Bills [6:34 PM]
Steelers.com reports: 'Clements has been with the Steelers for three seasons, having previous held the same position with the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. Clements is a native of McKees Rocks, Pa., just outside of Pittsburgh, and played quarterback at Notre Dame where he was an All American. He led them to a National Championship in 1973.'
Mularkey introduced in Buffalo [5:47 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'The hiring of Mularkey could also have an impact on the Bills defense, as it's expected Bills Assistant Head Coach Dick LeBeau would remain on the Bills staff. LeBeau was in Pittsburgh Tuesday talking with Steelers coach Bill Cowher about the Steelers defensive coordinators position. Currently, Jerry Gray remains the Bills defensive coordinator, although there is speculation he'll join former Bills coach Gregg Williams in Washington once it's official Gray didn't land the Bills head coaching job.'
Mike Mularkey Introduced As Bills Head Coach [5:43 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'The new Bills boss has wasted no time in putting together a coaching staff. Gone are Kevin Gilbride and Pat Ruel, replaced by Tom Clements and Jim McNally, respectively. Clements also comes from Pittsburgh, where he was quarterbacks coach, and will serve as offensive coordinator here in Buffalo.'
Bills introduce Mularkey as new head coach [5:42 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The Buffalo Bills introduced new head coach Mike Mularkey at a Thursday afternoon press conference.'
Bills hope Mularkey will spur offense [4:59 PM]
AP reports: '``I know the opportunity that's in front of me,'' Mularkey said Thursday at a news conference introducing him as the Buffalo Bills' new head coach.'
Cornell interviews football finalists [10:20 AM]
Ithaca Journal reports: 'In two years at Buffalo, Gilbride had his ups and downs, being credited for rejuvenating the offense in the Bills' 8-8 season of 2002, while taking much of the blame for Buffalo's 6-10 season of 2003. On Wednesday, Buffalo hired a new head coach, Mike Mularkey, who is the former offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Gilbride is still technically listed as Buffalo's offensive coordinator, he is not expected to be retained.'
Here We Go Again [9:33 AM]
TBD reports: "In retrospect, of course, we know that the talk barely lasted through training camp, as Williams' bravado quickly wore on veteran players, while his cockiness did not endear longtime followers of the franchise. Still, as Williams' competition for the job also included untested names, the wait-and-see outlook on the coach's performance was permissible. But, it soon became clear that despite professing the intense scrutiny of minutia, Williams failed in the basics of team oversight and game day management. Then after John Fox and Marvin Lewis proved to be more capable coaches, the inevitable end to the Gregg Williams era came to its merciful end. "
New regime brings reinforcements [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'How the defensive assistants will shape up remained uncertain Wednesday night. The Bills and Steelers were waiting for a decision by Dick LeBeau. Both teams would like LeBeau as defensive coordinator. LeBeau was assistant head coach under Williams in 2003, but his contract is up. If LeBeau returns to the Bills, there will be no spot in Buffalo for defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. If LeBeau picks Pittsburgh, it's uncertain what that will mean for Gray. Gray could become a candidate for one of the other open defensive coordinator positions in the NFL if the Bills let him out of his contract, which runs through 2004.'
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