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Buffalo Bills News - January 6, 2005

Marker Inside slant [4:59 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'However, Bledsoe still ranked near the bottom of the NFL's important indicators: 25th in rating, 26th in completion percentage, 26th in yards per attempt.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [4:58 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The Bills haven't forgotten the fact that McGahee tore up his left knee twice (high school and college) and that he bruised and hyper-extended his right knee this season at Cincinnati. McGahee is a workhorse, capable of 30 carries a game, but there is never a rock-solid confidence he won't re-injure himself. The healthiest of ball carriers break.'

Marker Notes, quotes [4:57 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Buffalo's jump from an NFL-low 18 takeaways to an NFL-best 39 is nothing short of amazing. It helped legitimize its No. 2 overall ranking, which is based on yardage. "When you have turnovers, no matter what the stats are, it gives you a better chance to win ball games," veteran SS Lawyer Milloy said. "That was our No. 1 goal, really, wins. It wasn't where we finished in yards, it was wins and losses. It's two years in row now with the No. 2 defense and two years out of the playoffs, so what's it matter?"'

Marker Gray Interested in SU Job [4:56 AM] reports: 'Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has been contacted by a hiring firm attached to the Syracuse head coaching vacancy, and Gray says he's interested.'

Marker Out of control [4:55 AM]
Rochester City Newspaper reports: 'As for Bills President and General Manager Tom Donahoe, he must be hurt that the Steelers beat the Bills with reserves that the former Pittsburgh director of football operations can't even take credit for drafting or signing on Pittsburgh's behalf. Donahoe's replacement, Kevin Colbert, has generally been able to maintain a high-level of performance the last five years without the benefit of Donahoe's ingenious player moves. The Steelers finished an NFL-best 15-1 this season. I'm beginning to conclude that longtime Steelers coach Bill Cowher really molded the team, and Donahoe could just about play Yahtzee to best determine whom to acquire.'

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January 5, 2005

Marker NFL attendance at record high; Bills off 1.7% [4:43 PM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'The Bills' per game average was 71,800, down from 73,015 in 2003.'

Marker McGahee sheds lingering concerns about his knee [4:03 PM]
AP reports: '''What drives me? Me,'' McGahee said, patting his chest. He paused and added: ''And the people who doubted me. Yeah, I'm out to prove them wrong.'' McGahee began doing that this season. ''What did I learn? That I want to go out there and play even more,'' he said.'

Marker Player Evaluations an Ongoing Process [3:04 PM] reports: '"We will look at the pluses and the minuses and evaluate who improved this season," Donahoe added. "We will also forecast who can improve as we move forward. One thing to remember about the off-season is that it is a marathon and not a sprint. The off-season officially runs from January 3 until we go to training camp."'

Marker McGahee ran into Bills' history [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It was pretty good," McGahee said, with understatement. "It was a lot of fun. It was a long time waiting. I was just happy to be out there."'

Marker Bledsoe deserves another shot [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bledsoe is still the Bills' best shot at making the playoffs next season. To me that means you give him the ball back.'

Marker Bills are upbeat on the future [5:01 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"They had a really exciting season, from where they started," Wilson said. "I was proud of the way they played. They had a bad day (Sunday) and it didn't work out, but I really am looking forward to next year because we have something to build on, a real good foundation. We have a lot of young players, some great coaches, and I couldn't say the same thing in past years. I'm really looking forward to next year. I'm sure everybody is."'

Marker A Bills post-mortem [5:00 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Losses breed criticism. That's natural in the hardpan world of the NFL. But this was a promising season not undone by one defeat. Don't make too much of the knockout. Make more of the fight the Bills displayed.'

January 4, 2005

Marker Bills ready to stick with Bledsoe as starter [5:05 PM]
AP reports: 'The Bills -- from coach Mike Mularkey to team owner Ralph Wilson -- agree with Bledsoe. ``It wasn't all Drew,'' Wilson said, following Buffalo's season-ending loss Sunday to Pittsburgh, when Bledsoe struggled.'

Marker With ’04 Complete, Team Looks to ’05 [3:08 PM] reports: 'Mularkey said he will evaluate every player on the team in the next few weeks. "We have a lot of evaluations in line," he said. "Players, obviously the schemes, and that takes a long time to do. You break down every play in all phases and you break down every player and just really evaluate whether it's the player or the scheme that allowed this play to be good or bad."'

Marker Game Notes: Bills vs. Steelers [1:01 PM] reports: 'For the 12th time this season, the Bills defense allowed less than 300 yards, limiting the Steelers to 262 total yards yesterday.'

Marker Bills leave us wondering about future [11:49 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The Bills’ nine wins came against teams with a 55-89 record (.382 pct.) and only two clubs, the Jets (10-6) and Seahawks (9-7), that finished with winning records. By contrast, their seven losses were to teams with a combined mark of 76-36 (.679 pct.), the only one with a losing season in that group being Oakland (5-11). In short, Buffalo was 7-1 against non-winning clubs and 2-6 against teams over .500.'

Marker Unsung Heroes Contribute to Winning Year [11:08 AM] reports: 'Part of the reason Vincent was moved to free safety was the impressive play of Terrence McGee during the veteran's absence. After a few bumps along the way during his first few starts, the former fourth-round pick excelled. McGee ended up with three interceptions for the season in his new role. However, even more impressive was McGee's blossoming role as the team's primary kick returner. He tied a franchise record with three kickoff returns for touchdowns during the year, the longest being a 104-yard return against the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 5. The spectacular play now stands as the longest kick return ever by a Bill. McGee's accomplishments didn't go unnoticed - he was selected as the AFC kick return specialist in this year's Pro Bowl.'

Marker 'Wait 'til next year,' Bills [10:24 AM]
Wellsville Daily Reporter reports: 'Enter J.P. Losman. The rookie quarterback has had a year to learn Mike Mularkey's offense and has had occasional chances to get his feet wet in some of the late season blowouts. He was drafted to eventually succeed Bledsoe as Buffalo's starting quarterback and next season's opener should be the time for that to happen.'

Marker An eye toward the future [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Overall, I am proud that I was able to stay the course and keep going forward as a leader on this team through some very hard times," Bledsoe said. "I am proud of that. As I've said, playing this position, that's the biggest challenge you face if you're going to do it for any extended time. You have to deal with the lows and be able to keep going forward through that. I'm proud of how that played out."'

Marker Henry wants to play elsewhere next season [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I had a good career here," he said. "I learned a lot here. I look at it as a good experience. I'm just ready to get back healthy and get back to doing the things that I know I can do on the football field."'

Marker Bills can't take next step with Bledsoe [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Bills expect to win a Super Bowl with the guy, they're kidding themselves.'

Marker Bills still sore about losing to Steelers [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is a possible candidate to be interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Syracuse, a source told the Buffalo News. The Orange is looking to replace Paul Pasqualoni, who was fired last week.'

Marker Tuesday's Pittsburgh Coverage [7:12 AM] reports:
Parker another weapon (Beaver County Times)
A Meaningless Game? Not to Steelers Reserves (New York Times)
Steelers' backups weren't about to back into the playoffs (AP)
Steelers report: Strategy and personnel (CBS Sportsline)
Parker was well-rested for his big break (

Marker What's your take on the Bills' 2004 season? [5:10 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'I keep thinking of that crumpled sign I spotted in the stands on Sunday. "Do you smell the playoffs?" Turns out all we were smelling was a fraud.'

Marker Bledsoe: Bills are my team in '05 [5:09 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Not great, but not bad, and being not bad is about the best many Bills observers could have hoped for given the way Bledsoe had played from the middle of 2002 through the middle of 2004. But is playing not bad going to be good enough to get the Bills over the hump and into the playoffs?'

Marker Henry says it's time for Bills to trade him [5:08 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'It's believed Buffalo will try to recoup the first-round pick (20th overall) that they've shipped to Dallas to consummate the deal last spring for the chance to draft quarterback J.P. Losman. However, with a strong free-agent class of running backs, including Shaun Alexander, Edgerrin James, and Rudi Johnson, along with a strong college class, the market for Henry may be very limited.'

Marker Was Bills 2004 season good, bad or ugly? [5:07 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'After the loss to the Steelers, I framed a question to Mike Mularkey that was a polite way of asking if the Bills basically got a little tight around the collars. The question was if winning is still a learning experience, with the game against the Steelers clearly the most important of the season even though the Bills had six straight wins. Mularkey said no, that all the games were basically the same; they were all important because a loss at any point would all but end the playoff hope. The coach said the game against Pittsburgh only SEEMED bigger because the media and fans made it so. Sorry, but I’m just not buying that.'

Marker Bills Fall Just Short [5:06 AM]
WIVB-TV reports: 'There will be an entire off-season of finger pointing at Drew Bledsoe for Sunday’s loss. He did not play well. But Drew is Drew. He’s not going to win a game for you. He’s a quarterback with limitations, who functions when all the other parts of the team are working well.'

Marker Henry Says He's Gone [5:05 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'He says he has good memories of his time in Buffalo. When asked whether he considered himself as good as gone, Henry said, ''Yeah, most definitely.'' Henry told me personally he was going to tell head coach Mike Mularkey these thoughts in their meeting.'

Marker Bills Can't Win Big Game [5:04 AM] reports: '“This is the first time I've been a free agent,” Jennings said following Sunday’s finale. “I'd love to come back, I'd love to play. I think this team's got something going that we can definitely take into next year. But both parties have to be on the same page.”'

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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
10/01 @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 pm
10/08 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 pm
10/29 Oakland Raiders 1:00 pm
11/2 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/12 New Orlean Saints 1:00 pm
11/19 @ San Diego Chargers 4:05 pm
11/26 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/3 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/10 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
12/17 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
12/24 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
12/31 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm

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