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Buffalo Bills News - December 31, 2003

Marker Cleaning 'D' house [5:08 AM]
New York Post reports: 'Gregg Williams, who was fired as the Bills' head coach on Monday, is another candidate with a strong defensive background and is a possible fallback option.'

Marker Coordinated Firing [5:07 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'Williams, fired Monday by the Bills, has Edwards' respect. In his fourth and final season as Tennessee's defensive coordinator in 2000, the Titans led the league in total defense, allowed only 17 touchdowns, set a franchise record with 55 sacks, and allowed only 191 points - the third-fewest in a 16-game season in NFL history.'

Marker Giants interview Smith; two more teams await [5:06 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'Rams defensive coordinator Lovie Smith interviewed Tuesday with the New York Giants, and he's only halfway home. The Buffalo Bills requested and received permission Tuesday to interview Smith for their vacant head-coaching position.'

Marker Bills coaching search raises questions about Bledsoe's status [5:05 AM]
AP reports: 'His season-long struggles have led some to wonder whether Bledsoe, who turns 32 in February, has lost his edge. That's not encouraging for a player who is due a hefty raise if he remains on the Bills roster in November.'

Marker Four Coaching Candidates To Be Interviewed This Week [5:04 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Donahoe says he will interview three head coaching candidates this week before the playoffs start. He's received permission to speak with New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and St.Louis defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. Donahoe says he will also interview Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.'

Marker Bills Part Ways With Gregg Williams [4:15 AM] reports: '"Gregg, through the entire season, has been in a difficult spot," said quarterback Drew Bledsoe. "His strength of character and his leadership that he has demonstrated for this team has been tremendous. I have great respect for him because of that."'

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December 30, 2003

Marker Bills express interest in contacting Patriots assistant coaches [2:46 PM]
AP reports: 'Tom Donahoe's initial list for Buffalo Bills coaching candidates includes New England assistants Romeo Crennel and Charlie Weis, and St. Louis assistant Lovie Smith.'

Marker More interest in Crennel, Weis [2:45 PM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Bills could take a major step toward closing the gap between themselves and the Patriots by luring one of the coordinators. Buffalo's major weakness this season was offense, and Weis worked with Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe as New England's offensive coordinator in 2000.'

Marker Bills sack Williams, begin search for new head coach [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He was a pleasure to work with from beginning to end," Donahoe said. "I have no complaints. I can't say anything publicly bad about the guy except we didn't win enough football games."'

Marker Williams era over for Bills [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The front office thinks highly of New England's offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. Both he and Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel are considered head-coaching candidates this winter. However, if the Bills want to interview either of them, they must do it by Friday or wait until after the Pats are knocked out of the playoffs. Neither Weis or Crennel have major head-coaching experience. Other highly regarded assistants include St. Louis defensive chief Lovie Smith and Pittsburgh offensive chief Mike Mularkey. Neither has been a head coach.'

Marker Players expected coaching change [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"He came in being a hard guy, so I was a little suspect of him," Pat Williams said. "But slowly but surely he became a guy we felt good about. I think the rest of the guys liked him, too."'

Marker Donahoe must stop insults, start progress [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I screwed up," he said. Fine, now stop talking down to the customers and get to work on the product.'

Marker Williams era started on arrogant note [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Williams' 5-15 record against AFC East teams did not help his cause. His teams were able to beat the Miami Dolphins twice last season, but the Bills' most hated rival swept the season series this year and in 2001. Williams was also 2-4 against the New York Jets.'

Marker Williams: Three and out [5:21 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“There isn’t any one thing, other than we didn’t win enough games,” Donahoe said. “But obviously we had our problems on offense. We ended up 30th in offense, so there was a tremendous drop-off on the offense this year, and that contributed to some of our problems.”'

Marker Donahoe on hot seat [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Irked at being characterized as a control freak, Donahoe went out of his way to take swipes at the western New York media during Monday’s press conference at One Bills Drive. Deflecting the blame from yourself by shifting it to the media is an age-old strategy, but not a very wise one. I’ve never seen it work.'

Marker Williams classy, ex-boss clumsy [5:19 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Speaking before a packed house over in the team’s media center, where there are plenty of team logos, Donahoe, as always, looked in control. But on this eventful day, looks were deceiving.'

Marker Bills won't rush search process for coach [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“It will take as much time as we feel it takes to get the right coach. It could be a week; it could be a month. There’s no real timetable.”'

Marker 13th draft pick can be a lucky draw [5:17 AM]
Rochester D & C reports: 'Gregg Williams is through as coach of the Bills, but Drew Bledsoe remains and the top priority of Williams’ successor should be rejuvenating the career of the shell-shocked quarterback. Bledsoe isn’t as bad as his most severe critics contend, but he clearly no longer is as good as team owner Ralph Wilson and general manager Tom Donahoe are trying to tell us. The truth is somewhere in between and Bledsoe probably isn’t good enough to take the Bills deep into the playoffs unless a top-notch running attack becomes the top offensive priority. He should be a complement and not the centerpiece.'

Marker Coach pays for Bills' fold [5:16 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'While he was supportive of Williams personally, Donahoe admitted that he has to "do a better job" with his next hiring and said all logical candidates will be considered.'

Marker Bills assistant GM modrak on list [5:15 AM]
ESPN reports: 'The Dolphins are expected to seek permission Tuesday to interview current Buffalo Bills assistant general manager Tom Modrak. It is all but a given that Bills general manager Tom Donahoe will grant permission.'

Marker Bills launch coaching search to replace Williams [5:14 AM]
AP reports: 'Donahoe cited his coaches' inability to adjust as part of the problem. ``Players change, circumstances change, and you have to be adjusting all the time to that,'' Donahoe said. ``We could've done a better job in some areas of making these adjustments.'''

Marker Inside slant [5:13 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"We were getting so much pressure we started throwing shorter, getting rid of it quicker," Bledsoe said, a reference to Gilbride's protection schemes which usually failed. "If that's what we're going to do, what the hell do they need me here for?"'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:12 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The offensive staff was totally baffled by New England's array of blitzes and could not find a solution to give Drew Bledsoe more time to throw. On defense, the Bills had one of their worst games of the season, especially on pass defense. New England came out in a shotgun no-huddle and the Bills weren't able to get the proper matchups, plus they reacted far too slowly to New England's quick passing game.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"It's always nice if you can get (a coach with NFL experience). But I don't want to say we need 'A, B, C, D' to have a head coach. I think we need to have the right head coach. I've got to do a better job of doing that this time around. We have to do it objectively. We have to do it with an open mind. I don't think we can necessarily put "x" amount of criteria on it and say, 'this is what we have to have.'" -- GM Tom Donahoe on what he will be looking for in the team's next coach.'

Marker Donahoe misfire still hits target [5:09 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'Please understand, Williams deserved a lot of criticism, and most the blame, for the Bills 6-10 season, and it was quite disappointing to me that Williams whiffed on the chance to shoulder at least some of the blame at his ‘thank-you I’m outa here’ news conference. But Williams is more than a bright football guy, good husband and father. He impressed Donahoe enough to be named an NFL Head Coach after a successful stint as Tennessee’s defensive coordinator, and there are literally thousands of coaches at all levels who can only dream of reaching such heights at the age of 42. There was nothing to be happy about at Monday’s Williams farewell, because nobody “won”.'

Marker Gregg Fired, Donahoe Under Fire [5:08 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'It's not Tom Donahoe's job to reprimand the media or anyone in the Western New York community. It's his job to put a competitive football team on the field. If he's embarrassed by certain members of the Western New York media, think about how embarrassed the media and fans were to see the performance we saw Saturday in New England.'

Marker Williams finished as Bills' coach [5:07 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: '"Somebody's going to come into a pretty good situation," said Donahoe, who said the search will begin immediately as he, along with owner Wilson and Tom Modrak, head of personnel, compile a list of candidates.'

December 29, 2003

Marker Tom Donahoe Discusses Coaching Change [7:05 PM] reports: '"(The things) we do, people are going to criticize, that's fine as long as it stays on the level of criticizing the job that people do. I think what is inexcusable is personal attacks, name-calling and some of the things that I've heard, not just directed toward Gregg, but directed toward Lindy Ruff and directed toward other people in Western New York. I don't think there is any place for it."'

Marker Gregg Williams' Closing Remarks In Buffalo [7:04 PM] reports: '"I'd also like to thank the community. This is a special place to be. I say that now. My family and I have really enjoyed the time we've been here in Western New York. It's a beautiful area of the state and it's a beautiful area of the country and it's a great place to raise a family. I can see why the rich tradition of the Buffalo Bills is what it is. The Buffalo Bill fans are tremendous fans and are well known throughout the country. It has been special times and I've enjoyed my time in the community."'

Marker Winfield headlines Bills free agents [7:03 PM]
AP reports: 'Though the Bills certainly would like to see the cornerback return, he may become too expensive for the Bills. Winfield's value on the open market could put him in line for a hefty raise after making a $530,000 base salary in the fifth and final year of his contract this season.'

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