Wilson approved Flutie contract [5:51 AM]
D and C reports: 'Smith, who has joined Butler in San Diego as assistant general manager, said owner Ralph Wilson "dictated" what took place in Buffalo. "John has taken unwarranted hits on all those things concerning Buffalo's salary cap," Smith said. "Just ask Mr. Wilson. He was the one involved with that."'
Graves Takes Buffalo Job; McBride Seeks a Coach [5:50 AM]
Salt Lake City Tribune reports: 'Graves, a Ute assistant coach since 1982, will work under new Bills Coach Gregg Williams, who played for Graves at Northeast Missouri 25 years ago, and offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard, a former New Mexico coach and Brigham Young graduate assistant.'
Dr. Z's final testament to Ravens' D [5:02 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Dr. Z looks at Ravens' D compared to great defenses of years past. Bills' note is that the mid '60s unit is used as one of the comparison teams (and is the only AFL team mentioned) Congrats, Old Rockpile.'
Bill's Greatest Need [4:01 PM]
Sportstalk.com reports: 'Like the controversial show on MTV, Jackass, it was almost (but not quite) amusing when it first happened. Running a parallel of the Presidential election, major sporting news sources stated that there was an equally important campaign going on in Buffalo Rob Johnson or Doug Flutie?'
Utes May Lose Graves to Buffalo of the NFL [1:34 PM]
Salt Lake City Tribune reports: 'Fred Graves, who has coached Utah wide receivers for 19 seasons, is the leading candidate to become receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills, a hiring that could become official today.'
Bills name Graves receivers coach [1:31 PM]
AP reports: 'Graves, 50, has 26 years experience at the college level, including the last 19 at Utah. Since 1998 he has been assistant head coach in charge of receivers for Utah. He also coached running backs and served as offensive coordinator.'
Bills agree to terms with Graves to coach receivers [12:03 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'The Bills today announced that the team has agreed to terms with Fred Graves as receivers coach. Graves, 50, comes to the Bills with 26 years of coaching experience at the college level, including the last 19 seasons at Utah. Since 1998 he held the title of assistant head coach/receivers.'
Gregg Williams on WGR55 this morning [10:00 AM]
After saying at his Buffalo introduction. that he would be accessible to all the media, Bills' head coach, Gregg Williams went live on the air with Bauerele and the Bulldog on WGR-55 this morning.
Coach Williams's first comments were regarding the issue paramount in most Bills' fans minds - who's the QB? He said no decision has been made yet and a process on continual evaluation is ongoing but there will be a decision by March 1st. He said all the parties would meet in Buffalo and "I want men to be treated like men and I want people to talk face to face. The Bills would be "starting off fair (with all parties) understanding what we had to do and why we're doing it. I think that's important to start that way right off the bat."
On his selection of OC, Mike Sheppard, Williams praised his background education and his "organized approach - an attacking approach" that he learned from the likes of Ted Marchibroda, Kevin Gilbride and Mike Holmgren.
His view of the West Coast offense?
"It's based on short, quick rhythm passing with the set-up of the QB and various concepts of stretching the field sideways and horizontally with seam and vertical stretches down the field. But the thing (offense) is based on having the QB get rid of the ball quickly."
The passing game sets up the power running game and leads to further and opportunities. Coach Williams emphasized the style that Jeff Garcia brings to the West Coast offense where, "Jeff G. and his elusiveness run, create things out of a bad situation with his legs. It's an offense that's easily adaptable to each QB who has a chance to run it."
Williams' ideal quarterback? A player with the physical ability including the parts of feet, arm, hands and brain and the ability to improvise. The ideal QB also has his teammates' confidence. Gregg stated that both current candidates have these intangibles.
Coach Williams wants his coaching staff assembled and in place by Sunday when they will all gather in Buffalo. He said there may be still be a vacancy but didn't elaborate which one. There have been discussions with Joe Ferguson and Mike Sheppard will continue talking with Joe. Williams emphasized that all the coaches will be on the same page and that the players will be getting the same message from everyone.
Audio Interview with Gregg Williams [9:09 AM]
Broadcast.com reports: 'Two Titan fans informed our message board readers about an excellent interview Williams had on a Nashville station yesterday. It starts around 20 minutes into the archive and lasts over 1/2 hr. It's a must listen. (Feb. 7th date)'
Cap adjustments aren't falling into line [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills need to be under the NFL's estimated salary-cap figure of $67.4 million by March 2. They are about $13 million over. Washington has the Bills' third-highest 2001 cap figure ($7.66 million) behind quarterbacks Rob Johnson ($8.29 million) and Doug Flutie ($7.75 million).'
Flutie looking at Buffal South - The Redskins [8:56 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'It is really sounding like Buffalo south when you hear talk of the Redskins. The coach is a former Bill. the Bills best defensive player is a Skin now, and they want more. Flutie or Johnson, they'll maybe take either.'
MTSU losing coaches to NFL: Aldridge to Bills; Woodford to New Orleans [7:45 AM]
Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports: "He has been recognized nationally as one of the top defensive coordinators at the Division I level at multiple programs," Williams said..."He has a great overall teaching background in every defensive position on the staff."'
Williams adds 3 others [5:37 AM]
D and C reports: 'New Bills coach Gregg Williams said Friday he wanted to move quickly to fill his coaching staff. He wasn't kidding.'
Gray's skills inspire his 'D' [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'Because he was a player, he gained immediate respect from his troops at Tennessee. "Jerry's a guy that's been there and done that -- he's been the best at his position and when you have a guy like that speaking you can't do nothing but listen," Titans safety Blaine Bishop said.'
As cap clock ticks, Bills take their time making major personnel decisions [10:15 PM]
SportsWritersDirect reports: Donahoe said one problem last year was that the offensive line wasn't very good."Flutie was experienced enough to handle that and Rob was not," he said. "Rob can get better. Can we improve the pass protection? Those are questions the coach has to look into. He also has to look into how long Doug can play. He's 39 (in October) and they say he has a 28-year-old-body, but (he can't play forever)."...."We have to get better in the offensive line, but we have good, young skill people and some very good young players on defense," he said. "I like the talent and some of the youth we have here."
Bills name Gray, Vinklarek to coaching staff [8:39 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Buffalo Bills plucked two more coaches from the staff of the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, naming Jerry Gray defensive coordinator and Ronnie Vinklarek offensive line coach.'
Bills hire Gray as defensive coordinator, three others [8:37 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo also hired Ronnie Vinklarek from the Titans as the offensive line coach, Danny Smith as special teams coach and Miles Aldridge as linebackers coach.'
Bills agree to terms with two more coaches [5:37 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: As hinted by Shout! earlier, the Bills have hired Miles Aldridge as linebackers coach. 'Aldridge spent the last two seasons at Middle Tennessee State as defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he served stints as defensive coordinator at Southwestern Louisiana (1998), Arkansas (1996-97), Clemson (1994-96) and South Carolina (1991-93).'
The Bills also hired Danny Smith as special teams coach. 'Smith had been the tight ends coach of the Detroit Lions for the past two seasons. Before that he was an assistant on Ray Rhodes' staff with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995-98, overseeing special teams and defensive backs for two seasons each.'
Staff Still Incomplete, Jets Plan Next Season [4:38 PM]
New York Times reports: [Free subscription required] 'Coach Herman Edwards added to his coaching staff yesterday, hiring Bill Bradley to coach the defensive backs... Bradley was the defensive backs coach in Buffalo under the Jets' new defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell. The Bills had the league's top-ranked pass defense in 1999 and were second best in 2000.'
Bills Hire Sheppard [1:53 PM]
Seahawks Insider reports: 'Each of Holmgren's three previous quarterbacks coaches has secured a head coaching position: Steve Mariucci from San Francisco, Marty Mornhinweg with the Lions and Andy Reid, who coaches the Eagles.'
Williams fills the Bills' needs with his gung-ho coaching attitude [1:38 PM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Williams leaves no rocks unturned. Self conscious about his teeth, Williams had braces put on when he was 40. "It was a two-year program, but I had him crank it up to 11 months," Williams said.'
Bills hire Gray as defensive coordinator; Vinklarek for offensive line [1:28 PM]
AP reports: 'Jerry Gray, the defensive backs coach for the Tennessee Titans, has been hired as the new defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo also hired Ronnie Vinklarek from the Titans as the offensive line coach.'
Bills agree to terms with Gray and Vinklarek [1:17 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'Vinklarek spent the 1998 and '99 seasons as offensive line coach at Oklahoma State. In 1997, he worked at Valdosta (Ga.) State as the offensive line coach. Took over as offensive line coach at the University of Houston in 1988. Vinklarek broke into the professional coaching ranks in 1995 as both offensive line coach for the Birmingham Barracudas of the Canadian Football League.'
Williams, Bills impressed each other [12:21 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'There are reports of me being a detail and organized person, but (Donahoe's) approach was extremely detailed and organized...one of the most impressive I've even been through. There have been some times I've been interviewed when I've thought, 'How could they hire me with the things they just asked?'"'.
DIVISION-BY-DIVISION CAP ANALYSIS: AFC EAST [12:18 PM]
realNFL.com reports: Terry O'Neil's astute analysis of the salary cap situation for each team in the AFC East. "New GM Tom Donahoe did little deal-making in Pittsburgh, so his early moves will bear watching. The guess is that he'll sign WR Eric Moulds to the richest receiver deal ever, franchise tag DE Marcellus Wiley, then allow a dozen others to leave. "
Expect a slow day on the Stadium Wall [11:08 AM]
reports: If you are a reader of the Stadium Wall message board (and you should be!), today will be slow as Rivals.com is expecting record site traffic for today's college football national letter of intent day. Rivals.com overall traffic is heavily weighted towards college sports, but it affects the Pro Football network too.
Racism not a factor in Bills' call on coach [9:22 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Note to Mr. Donahoe: If Williams has kept thick files on every assistant in football and if his burning ambition for many, many years was to be a head coach, how thick do you think his file on you was? No wonder you were on the same page.'
Sheppard will plot Bills' attack [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Sheppard was non-committal about the Bills' quarterback situation. "I think Gregg's on record as saying when we get everybody together, we'll evaluate it, then we'll call the quarterbacks in and make a good decision for the Bills," he said.'
Sheppard shuffles off to Buffalo job [6:19 AM]
Seattle Times reports: 'When asked if he could envision a scenario where both quarterbacks remain, Sheppard seemed pessimistic. "The organization has come out and (General Manager) Tom Donahoe stated that we have to make a decision," he said.'
QBs coach Sheppard leaves Seahawks for Bills [6:16 AM]
Seattle Post Intelligencer reports: '"Just the chance to coordinate and run it and do it yourself is always something that appeals to you," Sheppard said. "Once you learn this offense from Mike (Holmgren, Seahawks coach), you can't wait to get out and dabble in it yourself."'
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