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Buffalo Bills News - January 22, 2004

Marker Mularkey Adds to Staff [10:01 PM] reports: 'Lester is a survivor. He was first hired as an assistant by Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy in 1987. He's now working under his fourth head coach.'

Marker Studesville Joins Bills As Running Backs Coach [3:44 PM] reports: 'A native of Madison, WI, Studesville (pronounced “STEW-dus-vill”) spent the last three seasons coaching running backs with the New York Giants. He broke into the NFL coaching ranks with Chicago as the Bears quality control coach from 1997-2000. Prior to that, he worked in the collegiate ranks from 1991-96.'

Marker Bills hire Studesville as running backs coach [3:43 PM]
AP reports: 'Studesville spent the past three seasons coaching the New York Giants running backs.'

Marker Phillips and Williams both took the fall [1:16 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Williams did not get fired ... he merely wasn’t renewed. But even as his tenure fell apart, Williams declined to blame his assistants, particularly offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride whose stubborn, inflexible philosophy and play-calling did more than anything else to cost his boss the job.'

Marker Mularkey names three assistants [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'April's reputation took a hit in St. Louis, where his units allowed 10 special teams touchdowns while scoring only one the last three seasons. He lost control of kickoff coverage (ranked 30th this season) in 2002, but he did oversee the punt coverage unit, which finished last this season (15.1 yards per return). His kickoff and punt returns finished in the middle of the pack.'

Marker Mularkey connects with Bills fans [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Although she did take Donahoe’s remark as an attack on fans, she said she doesn’t see Mularkey’s greeting as a makeup call. Rather, with her $390 season ticket bill coming in the mail soon, Babiarz said it’s simply a case of the team buttering her up, high-tech style. “I thought more that Tom Donahoe would make sure he was touching base with his season ticket holders as soon as possible to get them pumped, because that bill is coming next week, I know it is,” she said.'

Marker Three Finalists Interview for Football Opening [5:15 AM]
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. Prior to his stint in upstate New York, Gilbride served as the offensive coordinator for the Houston Oilers (1990-94), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-96), and Pittsburgh Steelers (1999-00), where his teams were perennially ranked near the top of the league in passing offense.'

Marker Inside slant [5:14 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"There are some guys that you can't ask them to do things they aren't capable of," Mularkey said. "There are great schemes and ideas that go on across the league every Sunday, but if you don't have the personnel to do it, you're asking for failure. It starts with the quarterback but it's coordinated across the board. That's my philosophy with it."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Gregg Williams could've saved his job and Kevin Gilbride's too had they given Henry the football eight to 10 more times a game.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills are keeping close tabs on University of Pittsburgh WR Larry Fitzgerald eligibility ruling for the draft. They are in need of a talented wideout, and while they pick 13th, might consider doing whatever it takes to move up into the top 10 for a chance to grab Fitzgerald.'

Marker Mike Mularkey talks to Channel 2 [5:11 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Many NFL head coaches are so consumed with their jobs they're known to sleep in the office and forget the name of the family pet. Mike Mularkey says he will not be one of them. He believes balance is the key to success, both on and off the field. He says he will be passionate about coaching the Bills, but says he will also always make time for his wife Betsy and two sons. Mularkey, however, does admit the hectic pace of his new job is consuming him right now.'

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January 21, 2004

Marker Things to get off my chest [10:12 PM]
HBO reports: And while we're at it, everyone is comparing the Philadelphia Eagles (losers of three consecutive NFC Championship games) to the Buffalo Bills.

Now, wait a minute. The Buffalo Bills won a ton of huge playoff games. They never lost a championship game in their house-much less two in a row. In fact, Jim Kelly was 9-1 at home in the postseason! As Philadelphia has found out, it is very difficult to reach one Super Bowl-never mind four in a row. Before anyone finds an easy way of comparing the Eagles failures with the Bills-check the facts. Those Bills defeated Dan Marino's Dolphins and Joe Montana's Chiefs and John Elway's Broncos in the postseason. They won AFC Championship games at home and on the road. They won them with offense, and they won them with defense. So, to Eagles players, fans, and media; enough already with the Bills bashing. Today's Eagles would be fortunate to have one Hall of Fame player like Bruce Smith, Andre Reed, Thurman Thomas, or Jim Kelly.

Marker Bills hire April to coach special teams; retain LB coach Blackmon [5:05 PM]
AP reports: 'The Bills retained Don Blackmon as their linebackers coach. Blackmon completed his first season in Buffalo, coaching a revamped corps that featured two new starters -- Pro Bowl selection Takeo Spikes and Jeff Posey.'

Marker April Joins Bills As Special Teams Coach [4:12 PM] reports: 'The Bills announced that the team has hired Bobby April as special teams coach and that Don Blackmon will remain as linebackers coach. April spent the last three seasons in the same position with the St. Louis Rams and previously coached in the NFL with the Saints (1996-99), Steelers (1994-95) and Falcons (1991-93). '

Marker Ask Defensive End Aaron Schobel [4:11 PM] reports: 'Here's your chance to ask Schobel a question!'

Marker Coaching Staffs Try Not to Go Overboard [4:10 PM]
ESPN reports: 'One of the most effective defensive game plans in championship contest history, the design with which the underdog New York Giants blunted the explosive Buffalo Bills attack for a one-point victory in Super Bowl XXV, was drawn up on the fly. Literally.'

Marker Bobby Shaw, Mike Mularkey Reunited [2:08 PM] reports: '"He's a really good coach that will really get guys going and hopefully we can get that chemistry and get as far as we can next year and it'll be a tribute to a lot of people," Shaw said. "I'm surprised that he's had the success he's had the past three years and not gotten a head coaching job. But he's our coach now."'

Marker Veteran named special-teams coach [2:07 PM]
ESPN reports: Bobby April, essentially fired by the Rams last week when St. Louis elected not to renew his contract after three years, has agreed to become Buffalo's special-teams coach, has learned.

Marker Making a splash [5:16 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"He is a perfect fit for Buffalo," Egelsky said. "He is a blue-collar guy for a blue-collar town. The thing about him that you never forget is his competitiveness. I don't care whether it was football, basketball, cards or pool. He wanted to win, or he wanted to keep playing until he did. That's the mentality a coach has to have."'

Marker Wheelers’ Francis signs with NFL's Bills [5:15 AM]
Quad City Times reports: 'SteamWheelers head coach Rich Ingold introduced the Bills to Francis by calling Tom Donahoe, Ingold’s former high school head coach and now the general manager at Buffalo.'

Marker Byner to coach Redskins' backs [5:14 AM]
Washington Times reports: 'It remained unclear whether defensive coordinator Gregg Williams would be able to reunite with Buffalo Bills defensive line coach Tim Krumrie. The Bills have been blocking Krumrie from speaking to Washington, but there was no official word on whether he would remain on Mike Mularkey's staff.'

Marker Thoughts on recent coaching moves [5:13 AM]
Fox Sports reports: 'Mularkey also made a key hire in Jim McNally to coach the offensive linemen. The Bills have guys with intriguing tools along the offensive line, but they have been underachievers — most notably Mike Williams. McNally has a reputation of getting a lot from his blockers.'

January 20, 2004

Marker Bills scouting Senior Bowl this week [9:03 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'The Bills new head coach, Mike Mularkey, got his first job as an NFL coach by going to the Senior Bowl. One of his key assistants, offensive line coach Jim McNally, a graduate of Kenmore West, is spending this week in Mobile before coming to Western New York.'

Marker Opening flop didn't stop run to Super Bowl [9:02 PM]
AP reports: 'Certainly, the setback must have motivated the Patriots. Some good must have come out of such a problem-filled opener. "Good?" coach Bill Belichick said. "No. No. No." In the four months since then, Buffalo faltered and missed the playoffs while the Patriots are 16-1.'

Marker A Look Back At Mularkey's Playing Days [4:40 PM] reports: '"I think he’s going to be a great fit for Buffalo. As a guy who has covered the Steelers for the last 10 years, I’ve watched him as a tight ends coach and then as an offensive coordinator and he’s always had the look of a head coach. The way he sees the game, the way he teaches out there, the way he interacts with players and other coaches and with the media, he’s just got that thing. He just looks like a head coach."'

Marker Westside [1:17 PM]
The Learning Channel reports: 'Buffalo Bills star Lawyer Milloy gets the custom treatment as his 2003 Hummer is torn apart and turned into a special-order masterpiece.'

Marker Gibbs Still Trying to Lock In Top-Flight Assistants [10:52 AM]
Washington Post reports: The issue became moot last week when Buffalo's new coach, Mike Mularkey, chose to retain Gray as defensive coordinator. Gray intends to keep his defensive staff intact, meaning the Redskins will also lose out on two other Bills assistants: linebackers coach Don Blackmon and defensive line coach Tim Krumrie.

Marker Bills have ways to go to catch Super teams [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'At any point Sunday, did you look at Weis, or at Carolina's head coach, John Fox and say, "They could have hired that guy?" Did you find yourself wondering if Tom Donahoe, the Bills' president and GM, really got the best man when he picked Mike Mularkey as his coach?'

Marker Bills should follow in Panthers' pawsteps [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'In 2003, Carolina continued to improve while Buffalo regressed. The Panthers were 11-5, outgained opponents by 26.0 yards per game and outscored opponents by 21 points. They ranked 16th in offense and eighth on defense. The Bills finished 6-10, outgained opponents by 2.2 yards per game and were outscored by 36 points.'

Marker Bills pick up Wheelers’ Francis [5:15 AM]
Moline Dispatch reports: 'However, the 'Wheelers organization is celebrating that fact, with last season's af2 sackmaster set to sign today with the NFL's Buffalo Bills, and bound for an important pre-training camp in the spring developmental league, NFL Europe. Francis' agent, Martin Prince, confirmed Monday his client was in Buffalo, N.Y., for a physical. If he passes that, it would clear the way for Francis to sign a contract believed to be for the NFL's minimum salary, $230,000, according to the NFL Players Association Web site.'

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09/10 New York Jets 1:00 pm
09/17 @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm
09/24 Denver Broncos 1:00 pm
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11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
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11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
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