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Buffalo Bills News - January 8, 2004

Marker Redskins foil Jets by hiring Williams [5:21 AM]
New Haven Register reports: 'The Jets interviewed Williams — fired last week as Buffalo’s head coach — last weekend and he appeared to be the leading candidate. But by waiting until interviewing all candidates before making a decision, the Jets allowed the Redskins and brand new coach Joe Gibbs to swoop in and get Williams.'

Marker Jobs filling up quickly [5:20 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Crennel's best shot figures to be with Chicago, because of his previous professional relationship with general manager Jerry Angelo, or Atlanta, where he has the admiration of new general manager Rich McKay. Weis is considered to be at or near the top of the list in Buffalo because of his offensive expertise, history with Drew Bledsoe, and the possibility of the Bills weakening a division rival.'

Marker Collins soaking it all up again [5:19 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'After a standout career at the University of Michigan, Collins was drafted by Buffalo in the second round, the 45th pick overall. In 1995 and 1996, he backed up Jim Kelly as the Bills twice made the playoffs, but his one year as a starter (1997) didn't go so well because Buffalo finished 6-10. He has been with Kansas City since 1998, though strictly as a backup, now to Trent Green.'

Marker Remember Titans? Antowain sure does [5:18 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``How can you not remember that play, it was their miracle. That was the wildest, most exciting game I've ever been a part of. It was in the playoffs and it came down to the very end. We were up and we figured we had the game won. Then you look up and see this guy running down the sidelines all free. One moment you're up and the next moment you're as low as you have ever been. I never want to get that feeling again.'''

Marker Steelers may face more changes [5:17 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Donahoe said Mularkey did well in the interview. "He has a good plan to be a head coach. We were impressed."'

Marker Wolf may join Dolphins as a consultant [5:16 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Jones said the Dolphins haven't heard back from Buffalo Assistant GM Tom Modrak, who was solicited last week for an interview.'

Marker Players and Alumni Share the Excitement [5:15 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'Before going 17-31 as Bills head coach over the past three seasons, Williams was considered a defensive mastermind for the Tennessee Titans. In 2000, the Baltimore Ravens -- with Marvin Lewis as their defensive coordinator -- set an NFL record for fewest points allowed. However, the Titans were actually the top-ranked defense that season, because of the fewest total yards allowed. Williams -- who becomes Washington's sixth defensive coordinator in six seasons -- is known for an aggressive defense that uses various formations.'

Marker The buzz in Buffalo [5:14 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Weis is thought to be among the strongest of candidates if Donahoe opts for a first-time head coach -- something it is believed he'd rather not do given that the fired Gregg Williams fit that profile three years ago. If an experienced head coach is the choice, Jauron may have slipped ahead of Fassel in Donahoe's view.'

Marker Inside slant [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Buffalo has never paid its head coaches well, but Donahoe indicated he won't lose a good coaching candidate to money. If it's Fassel, the Giants will pick up the difference between the $2.7 million he would've earned with them in 2004 and what he'll make with his new club.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Levy, who speaks with Bills owner Ralph Wilson a half dozen times a year socially, said he has never brought up the prospect of coaching his team again. "I've shied away from it," Levy said. "I don't feel that should be part of the conversation. I haven't initiated that conversation."'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Speaking of statistics, the final numbers are in and it was ugly for the Bills in 2003, especially on offense. Buffalo dropped in 12 statistical offensive categories kept by the NFL, including total yards (12th to 30th), passing yards (fifth to 28th), third-down conversions (ninth to 28th), and points (11th to 30th). On the positive side, the Bills improved defensively in nine categories, including yards (14th to second), rushing yards (29th to eighth), sacks (21st to ninth) and points (27th to fifth).'

Marker Another Bills coaching candidate in town; talks exclusively to Channel 2 [5:10 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Mularkey said he's impressed with the Bills organization. "The nucleus is there for a winner. The organization is very good. The owner (Ralph Wilson) has the support to give the coach, and so does Tom, so I think it's just an ideal situation."'

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January 7, 2004

Marker The Bills Say Krumrie And Gray Have Not Left [8:51 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'As of 5:00 Wednesday, Krumrie was still in his Bills office working.'

Marker Donahoe mulls options after interviewing seven candidates [4:27 PM]
AP reports: 'Barring Donahoe expanding his search beyond the seven candidates he's already met over the past week, the Bills are left with two options. Donahoe can either consider making an offer to one of four candidates who are either unemployed -- ex-Giants coach Jim Fassel and ex-Bears coach Dick Jauron -- or whose respective teams are out of the playoffs -- Mularkey and Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. Option No. 2 is sitting tight, a wait that could potentially run into next month before Donahoe can resume talks with any of the three assistants -- New England's Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel, and St. Louis' Lovie Smith -- whose teams are still in the playoffs.'

Marker The Bills Speak To Another Coordinator [4:22 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Mike Mularkey was in Wednesday to talk with the Bills. The Steelers offensive coordinator already spoke with Atlanta. It was three years ago that Bill Cowher named Mularkey offensive coordinator. He took over for Kevin Gilbride.'

Marker Gibbs returns to coach Redskins [4:10 PM]
AP reports: 'Gibbs will be introduced at a news conference Thursday, but he already has his first two hires in place, according to the source. Former Buffalo Bills coach Greg Williams will be defensive coordinator, and Joe Bugel -- offensive line coach during much of Gibbs' first stint in Washington -- will return to that post.'

Marker Moorman Honored As Bills Man of the Year [3:06 PM] reports: 'The Bills are pleased to announce that punter Brian Moorman is the team's selection for the 2003 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, the only league award that recognizes player off-the-field community service as well as playing excellence.'

Marker Coaching Search Continues With Mike Mularkey [12:13 PM] reports: For the third straight day Buffalo will interview a candidate for the vacant head coaching job. This time, Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe will meet with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

Marker Surprise, surprise [10:56 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'There are some indications that former Bears head coach Dick Jauron has emerged as the Bills' leading candidate.'

Marker Mularkey next on list for Bills [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have a high regard for Weis' play-calling and his ability to do more with less in New England. Weis only has met with one other team, the New York Giants, who Tuesday picked Tom Coughlin. So the Bills probably could get Weis if they want him, as soon as New England's season ends.'

Marker Ex-Bill Crafts spared prison in drug case [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'During the brief sentencing, Neil Cuomo, Crafts' lawyer, told the judge Crafts has an offer to try out with the Detroit team in the Arena Football League. Cuomo said that Crafts, a recovering alcoholic he described as "the vagabond of football" after playing in professional leagues in the states, Canada and Europe, knows he is "at the end of the road" athletically. The lawyer said his client, the father of two young children, got involved in the drug ring because he was "looking to get some money" for his family.'

Marker Buffalo's coaching job highly rated in NFL [5:20 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: 'Of the seven teams with head coaching vacancies this off-season, Buffalo ranks with Chicago and Atlanta for greatest potential for greatest turnaround, according to many league insiders. Others believe the new man will suffer the same fate as Williams unless the offensive line is completely rebuilt or the Bills statue for a quarterback, Drew Bledsoe, is replaced. The defense, meanwhile, is good but far from complete.'

Marker Bills will interview Steelers' Mularkey for head coach job [5:19 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: '"We just feel Mike's one of the outstanding coaches in the league," Donahoe said. "He has a very good offensive mind and he's been interviewed by some other teams and been close to a couple jobs. We think he offers a lot and we're eager to sit down and talk to him in detail."'

Marker This one opening is closed [5:18 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'There are whispers around the league that Fassel, who interviewed in Buffalo yesterday, has been offered the Bills job, though his agent, Steve Rosner, denies it. If Fassel lands in Buffalo and Green in Oakland, Johnson would be Crennel's only competition for the Cardinals job. And, for what it's worth, Crennel and Bears general manager Jerry Angelo were colleagues with the Giants. Weis also is believed to be in the running for the Bills job.'

Marker A Giant opening closes [5:17 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'The candidacy of the 47-year-old Weis makes a lot of sense in Buffalo as his expertise (offense) is the Bills' primary area of need. Furthermore, he could potentially inherit close to an entire defensive coaching staff, eliminating one of the primary challenges for a first-time head coach. The Bills would also weaken a division rival.'

Marker UT's Reese steps down [5:16 AM]
San Antonio Express News reports: 'Jerry Gray, a former UT All-American defensive back, is a prime candidate to replace Reese if secondary coach Duane Akina is not promoted. Gray, most recently the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills, has expressed interest in returning to college coaching. Gray, who interviewed for the Bills head coaching job on Monday, had not been contacted as of late Tuesday afternoon.'

Marker Ravens' Savage makes pitch for Dolphins GM job [5:15 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins still haven't heard whether Tom Modrak, assistant general manager of the Buffalo Bills, is interested in the job.'

Marker Cottrell to interview with Vikings [5:14 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Former Buffalo coach Gregg Williams, whose defense was ranked second in the NFL last season, remains the frontrunner for the Jets' job.'

Marker Gibbs returns to Redskins; ex-Bill Williams to coach D [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'In addition to his acceptance of a deal, Redskins sources also told that Gibbs has already met with and signed former Bills head coach Gregg Williams to become his new defensive coordinator. Williams was the hottest defensive coordinator on the open market and was previously set to fly to New York on Friday to interview with Tom Coughlin.'

January 6, 2004

Marker Bills Interview Former Giants Coach Jim Fassel [8:39 PM] reports: 'Labeled a "quarterback guru", Fassel was credited with recruiting and coaching Broncos quarterback John Elway at Stanford. He later coached Elway to his finest season as a pro in 1993, when the Broncos quarterback earned the AFC Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player honors. That year, Denver's offense ranked third in the AFC and fifth in the NFL and scored 373 points to rank first in the conference and third in the league. Fassel also tutored Kent Graham into a solid player and helped rejuvenate veteran Boomer Esiason and Kerry Collins.'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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