A Dynamite Drumroll and Three Rivers Stadium Bows Out [10:37 AM]
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports: In case you missed it live there are a couple videoclips, although they were taken from across the river. Plenty of photos....
Bills in Cap Hell [10:07 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: The Buffalo Bills, who have a new general manager and a new coach, will probably have a new look as well in 2001 because of a $12.7 million cap overage. Certainly the club will not be able to afford both Rob Johnson and Doug Flutie at quarterback and likely will be forced to sacrifice at least two defensive starters.
"Let's face it, we're hostage to the cap right now," said new president and general manager Tom Donahoe. "It's kind of like being in a cap jail. But you have to dig your way out and part of that is making tradeoffs. You have to ask yourself, 'If I keep the guy at this position, where do I scrimp to make up for it? Is there somewhere I have a young player ready to step up, a spot where I can let a veteran go and play the cheaper guy?' It's all about tough decisions and having to handle as many as possible in the right way."
Bills splurge now a purge [5:30 AM]
D and C reports: '[Ralph Wilson:] "This is second guessing by me, but we probably had people we should've cut but instead we retained and gave bonuses to in order to extend their contracts and get us down (under the cap)."'
Split decision [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Bills go with Johnson, they're putting their future in the hands of a guy who has been knocked out of eight of 19 Bills starts. If they go with Flutie, they're putting their future in the hands of a guy who will be 39 in October.'
Brees only first-round QB option for Bills [7:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Unfortunately, the only QB most scouts consider a sure thing to enjoy a successful NFL career -- Virginia Tech's Michael Vick -- will be chosen long before Buffalo's No. 14 overall pick. The next-best QB in the ratings is Purdue's Drew Brees, who is rated in the bottom half of the first round in most mock drafts.'
Flutie will be odd man out [7:23 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Washington has already indicated a desire to sign Flutie to compete with Jeff George when Brad Johnson leaves for free agency at the end of the month. Detroit and San Diego are also possible Flutie suitors. And so is Tampa Bay, despite its denials.'
Tom Donahoe press conference (2/9) [1:08 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'When you're a good football team like Buffalo's been, you're always trying to find ways to keep your players, and when you do that, you push potential cap problems into the future, but eventually, you have to pay the piper, and we're at that stage.'
Season tickets now on sale [1:05 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: 'A new season is just around the corner, with new expectations, new faces and a newly renovated Ralph Wilson Stadium. Make sure you are there to FEEL THE NEW POWER of the Bills. For information on 2001 season tickets, call the Buffalo Bills Ticket Office at 1-877-BBTICKS!'
DeGeorge quits after Empire pumps up Sabres [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'DeGeorge resigned after a Monday staff meeting in which General Manager Bob Koshinski disclosed plans to emphasize coverage of the Buffalo Sabres and possibly drop aspects of its Buffalo Bills coverage.'
Bills will free one QB to go shopping [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The reason is the NFL trading period doesn't begin until March 2. That's the first day the salary cap for the 2001 season goes into effect. So a team has to have room under its salary cap for 2001 to have a player on the roster in order to trade him.'
2nd man booked in Gretna carjacking [8:52 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'New Orleans police booked a second man Friday in the Jan. 22 robbery and carjacking of Buffalo Bills defensive back Raion Hill in Gretna.'
Assistant football coaches to leave for NFL [8:10 AM]
Bryan-College Station Eagle reports: 'Kragthorpe told his players he was leaving to become the quarterbacks coach of the Buffalo Bills, an A&M source said Thursday. Kragthorpe coached the Aggies for four seasons, the last three as offensive coordinator.'
Two offensive coaches will leave A&M [8:09 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: 'Kragthorpe arrived at A&M in 1997 to coach receivers. He was promoted to offensive coordinator the following year. When Kirksey joined the staff last season, Kragthorpe's responsibility shifted from receivers to quarterbacks.'
A&M coaches take NFL jobs [7:55 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'Two more key offensive assistants have jumped from Texas A&M to the NFL, leaving Aggies head coach R.C. Slocum with a gaping hole in his staff for the 2001 season. Offensive coordinator Steve Kragthorpe is going to the Buffalo Bills as quarterbacks coach, and assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Larry Kirksey is headed to the Detroit Lions as receivers coach.'
Johnson or Flutie likely won't be traded [7:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'Since the trading period in the NFL doesn't open until March 2, which is also the start of free agency, the Bills can't deal a player without accounting for his contract on their salary cap. The deadline for hitting the $67.4 million cap is March 1 and the Bills are millions over.'
New deals for Fina and Brown [12:46 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'John Fina agreed to reduce his base salary for 2001 from $2 million to the new NFL minimum of $484,000. The balance, $1.516 million, is guaranteed in the form of a signing bonus... Ruben Brown, has also agreed to reduce his base salary from $3.5 million for 2001 to the same minimum and taking the balance in a signing bonus. That deal should save the Bills about $2.4 million in cap value.'
Cuts expected as Bills tackle salary cap woes [9:13 PM]
AP reports: 'The team's highest-priced players going into next season include both quarterbacks, defensive linemen Washington and Phil Hansen, linebackers Sam Rogers and John Holecek, defensive backs Henry Jones and Ken Irvin, and offensive linemen Jerry Ostroski and Joe Panos.'
Suspect arrested in hijacking of Buffalo Bills player [9:11 PM]
AP reports: 'Police booked a second man Friday in the Jan. 22 robbery and carjacking of Buffalo Bills defensive back Raion Hill.'
Jets Name Harris as Backfield Coach [3:19 PM]
New York Times reports: '[Requires Free Registration] Harris was most recently the offensive backfield coach for the Buffalo Bills in 1998 and 1999, when he was on the same staff with the Jets' new defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell. Harris was out of football last season, after being fired by the Bills at the end of the 1999 season, apparently over philosophical differences with the former coach Wade Phillips and the offensive coordinator Joe Pendry.'
46 Bear Defense Site [2:30 PM]
N/A reports: 'I was looking around and i found a site that has the info on the 46 Defense.' [This isn't really a news piece, but it does provide technical details surrounding the infamous defensive scheme.]
Bills name Graves to coach wide receivers [6:43 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Williams said when he was hired he wanted a staff well-schooled in teaching fundamentals and Graves seems to fit that mold. Bills president Tom Donahoe echoed those sentiments and he also noted this week the club would not be hesitant to hire college coaches to attract the caliber of staffers it wanted.'
NFL teams await Bills' cut [5:53 AM]
D and C reports: '"Nobody's going to give up something to absorb a burden on their cap. If I'm the new coach, I'll stay with the 27-year-old with upside and two years of contract left and hope he becomes a leader and gets better. I don't care how good Flutie is right now at his age."'
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.
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