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Buffalo Bills News - February 14, 2001

Marker Gray takes over as Bills DC [11:08 AM]
Syracuse Online reports: 'While he plans to instill his aggressive get-after-the-ball philosophy, Gray is aware that he can't foul up what has consistently been one of the league's best defensive units since 1997.'

Marker Leaf hasn't even bothered meeting Butler & Smith [11:05 AM]
Union Tribune reports: 'John Butler & A.J. Smith, Buffalo's ex-head office team, have not even been introduced to Ryan Leaf, the poster child for spoiled players. Another reason why rumors keep flying about Rob Johnson or Doug Flutie going to San Diego keep appearing. Of course with with the Chargers having previously a 1-15 season, any moves made by Butler are going to look good.'

Marker No gray areas: Bills defense to attack [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' new defensive coordinator, Jerry Gray, isn't ready to say he wants to re-create the defensive scheme he helped coach in Tennessee the past two years. But he definitely wants to re-create the results.'

Marker Thomas will retire as member of Bills [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Thurman Thomas plans to retire and will sign a one-day contract with Buffalo so he can leave the NFL as a Bill, his agent said Tuesday.'

Marker Dolphins' T. Thomas to retire -- in Buffalo [7:32 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '"His desire is to retire as a Buffalo Bill, after the long and successful career that he had there," Steinberg said. "That seems right to him."'

Marker Thomas to end career as a Bill [6:46 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: '"He would hope to play a few more years, but Thurman is very intelligent," Steinberg said. "He wants to go out on top and cap what should be a Hall of Fame career in the right way. Clearly pushing it to try and continue playing is not something he wants to do."'

Marker T. Thomas set to retire a Bill [6:44 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'But by waiving Thomas before March 1, the Dolphins save $100,000 due to a roster bonus Thomas was scheduled to receive.'

Marker Talks stall between Bills, Moulds [6:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'Greg Johnson, Moulds' New Orleans-based representative...characterized the talks as "at a standstill" but he remained confident that Moulds will be re-signing with the Bills well before the free agency signing period begins March 2.'

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February 13, 2001

Marker Williams introduces his staff [10:25 PM] reports: On the defensive philosophy: "We're going to play the run with numbers and play the pass with speed." On the inexperience factor in the Bills special teams: "I'm not sure how big a factor the inexperience was. We're in the process of going through the tape and evaluating the problems."

Marker Bills hire Thomas as defensive backs coach [8:01 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills filled out their defensive staff by appointing Pat Thomas defensive backs coach on Tuesday amd Steve Jackson as a defensive assistant.'

Marker Bills agree to terms with Pat Thomas [7:01 PM] reports: 'The 46-year old Thomas enters his eighth year coaching defensive backs in the NFL. He spent the past two years running his own business. His previous stops included the Colts (1994-97) and the Oilers (1990-92). He began his coaching career with the Houston Gamblers (USFL) in 1983 ...'

Marker A preview of fall changes from the new coaches [5:37 PM]
The Sporting News reports: 'By Yahoo Sports/The Sporting News/The Warroom
Fall changes in coaches may not bring everything their fans are expecting.

'Traditionally, Buffalo has been a 3-4 defensive team, but Williams won't stop there. He will run some 4-3 man and even more 4-6 zone. The Bills might get outplayed next season, but they won't be outschemed with Williams at the helm.'

Marker NFL Free Agency Summary of Buffalo Bills [1:33 PM] reports: NFLTalk says that 'Flutie is willing to restructure (get more bonus money rather than salary) contract to lower number if he is named starting QB.'

Marker Seeking QB Canadian relief will be difficult [1:30 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Since there are not many NFL-caliber QBs available to draft this year, one
option for the Bills is to sign a CFL QB when Flutie or Johnson is cut. Unfortunately it is not as easy as it sounds for CFL players need to be signed by end of February and both hot prospects have no training camp experience hence money needs to come out of rookie pool.'

Marker Lots and lots of heart in Buffalo [8:58 AM]
USA Today reports: Nice article about the fine people of WNY: "This lovable rust-belt city is full of blue-collar guys of every ethnic background who get together on Sunday to watch the Bills and remove their shirts in 35-degree weather. (We) support everything from tractor pulls to the philharmonic -- and hardly any drive-by shootings..."

Marker Flutie is new favorite for QB job [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'I'd like to re-speculate. I think Johnson will be slipped the queen of spades and Flutie will be the starting quarterback for the 2001 season.'

Marker Kelly welcomes 'Day of Hope' [6:43 AM]
USA Today reports: '"I learned about his toughness because we see what he goes through and are amazed by how he pulls through. It makes me realize that football was fun, but this is real tough."'

Marker Bills hire five more assistants [5:57 AM]
D and C reports: 'New Buffalo Bills coach Gregg Williams officially added five more assistants to his staff yesterday, including two holdovers from the 2000 season -- Chuck Lester and John Levra.'

Marker Butler went to San Diego; What about Johnson? [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'I'm not ready to write off Johnson, but in fairness, he was a coach killer with his performance last season.'

February 12, 2001

Marker Saints emulating Buffalo - expanding base [9:34 PM]
Sun Herald reports: 'Buffalo, which has two fortune 500 companies, use the power of the medium sized businesses to increase the market share and ticket sales. Now the Saints, which has only ONE fortune 500 companies is trying to do the same.'

Marker Kaiser takes coaching job in Buffalo [8:20 PM]
Stillwater News Press reports: 'Kaiser is the second former Cowboys' coach to join Williams' staff in Buffalo. Ronnie Vinklarek, OSU's offensive line coach for two years, has also joined the Bills staff.'

Marker Bills hire three assistant coaches [8:14 PM]
AP reports: 'Neal, 51, was the offensive assistant for Titans coach Jeff Fisher...Kaiser, 48, spent six seasons at Oklahoma State...Kragthorpe, 35, has been the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M for the past three seasons.'

Marker Bills agree to terms with three more assistants [5:06 PM] reports: 'The Bills today announced that the team has agreed to terms with three more assistant coaches - Tommy Kaiser (offensive assistant/special teams assistant), Steve Kragthorpe (quarterbacks) and Dan Neal (tight ends).'

Marker Donahoe and media meet (off the record) [1:22 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"I expect's the personal stuff I don't want. If you don't like me because of the color of my hair or the color of my eyes, I can't do anything about that, and that has no place in reporting. "But," he continued, "if you want to criticize our moves or our decisions, you have every right to do fact, it's your responsibility."'

Marker Is RB-by-Committee Finally Dead? [11:09 AM] reports: 'Phillips was fired on January 8th, opening the door for the gifted Bryson to challenge the hulking Morris for the starter's role in Gregg Williams' new offense. Williams' familiarity with Eddie George should insure that he knows the value of establishing a workhorse back.'

Marker Bills new defensive coordinator all about adjustments [11:00 AM]
WGR55 reports: 'Gray has the same aggressive, attack style approach that Williams does disguising their defensive intentions with a host of different packages. But what he's most interested in pulling off is the big play, "I know two years ago when we (Titans) went to the Super Bowl the defense really stepped up.'

Marker 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....

Marker 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."

Marker 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)."'

February 11, 2001

Marker 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.'

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