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Buffalo Bills News - April 12, 2004

Marker Draft Dish: Raiders and Redskins ready for draft-day dealing [9:49 AM]
The Sporting News reports: OLB Takeo Spikes had a history of hamstring problems -- until he signed with the Bills last year. On the advice of Bills strength and conditioning coordinator Rusty Jones, Spikes changed his diet and stretching routine. The result was a player who didn't miss so much as a practice last season.

Marker Inside slant [5:17 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Finding an explosive No. 2 wide receiver to complement Eric Moulds, and a young quarterback to groom as Drew Bledsoe's backup and eventual replacement, have chewed up a lot of Mularkey's planning hours.'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:16 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Adams turns 31 and Williams 32 this season and it's not too early to plan for the future. This month's draft features three DTs scouts rate with star quality: Oklahoma's Tommie Harris, Miami's Vince Wilfork and Texas' Marcus Tubbs. The Bills have scouted all three in person, with DL coach Tim Krumrie checking out Harris at Oklahoma's Pro Day.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:15 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'And in a not-so-subtle knock on previous head coach Greg Williams, Wilson said he's encouraged that the players will immediately accept Mularkey because he's a former player himself. "I think he's very solid, very sound. He's been a player for nine years. He'll have the respect of the players. He's not a know-it-all guy. He's going to take the good advice he gets. Sam Wyche (quarterbacks coach) is a top guy and so is Jim McNally on the offensive line. So all those things put together, plus the talent we have, makes me feel good."'

Marker Bills To Hold Open Practice [5:14 AM] reports: 'Parking is free and the practice is weather permitting while "Select-A-Seat" will be held rain or shine.'

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April 11, 2004

Marker Columbus fleet navigating NFL [12:10 PM]
Fort Worth Star Telegram reports: 'Every off-season, Matt, a tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals, and his older brother, Aaron, a defensive end for the Buffalo Bills, return to their roots. Their cousin Bo, who finished his playing career at TCU last fall, joins them when he can break away from school. The Schobels will become something of a trivia question in two weeks, when Bo, a defensive end projected as a second-round pick, is selected in the NFL Draft. Only a handful of families have at least three players in the NFL.'

Marker Postcard from the road [12:08 PM]
Fort Worth Star Telegram reports: 'Aaron [Schobel] bought a tree farm as a tax write-off during his rookie season. The trees now are almost big enough to sell, which he made a point to mention more than once. ("What is the focal point of your story?" he kept asking, possibly in jest. "Don't forget: It's the trees. We need to sell some trees in Fort Worth.")'

Marker Bills open May 1 practice to the public [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Saturday event coincides with the team's annual "Select-A-Seat" day at Ralph Wilson Stadium for potential season-ticket holders, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.'

Marker Bills schedule free practice open to fans [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Buffalo Bills fans can get their first look at new coach Mike Mularkey, his staff and his team on May 1 when the team conducts an open practice at Ralph Wilson Stadium starting at 2:30 p.m.'

Marker Bills, Sabres need good luck picking 13th [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The best hope for a 2004 first-round pick to become a productive instant starter is at wide receiver.'

April 10, 2004

Marker Adelphia has date in court for sale of WNSA [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Empire Sports Network, with the help of WNSA personnel, will cover the National Football League draft April 24 from 1 p.m. until the Bills make their selection...

...Later this month, the [NFL] network will officially announce the 2004 regular-season schedule on NFL Total Access with a two-hour special. It also will be released simultaneously on the league's Web site.'

April 9, 2004

Marker Several teams expected to pursue Gallery [8:57 PM]
ESPN reports: 'While he doesn't have a lot of other suitors, Kordell Stewart remains reluctant to sign with the Buffalo Bills, in part because the coaches want him to assume some of the "Slash" duties he once played with the Steelers. At this point, rookie head coach Mike Mularkey has no one on the roster capable of filling the diverse position.'

Marker Bills have Wilson excited [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Mike Mularkey is a very high-class guy," Wilson said of his new head coach. "I think he's very solid, very sound. He's been a player for nine years. I think he'll have the respect of the players. He's not a know-it-all guy. He's going to take the good advice he gets. Sam Wyche (the quarterbacks coach) is a top guy, and so is Jim McNally on the offensive line. So all of those things put together, plus the talent we have, makes me feel good."'

Marker Moorman Has Kicked His Career Into High Gear [7:02 AM] reports: '"I think you have to look at everything," said the 28-year old Kansas native. "Some guys might only have a gross of 39 but if they're netting 39 they're helping their team. Although a guy with a high gross doesn't mean they aren't having a good season either. The net punt average is a great indictor for a team effort because you've got coverage guys and then you've got your kick too so you combine the two together. There might be a game in there where the punter had a great game but maybe his coverage unit wasn't that good that day. I think you have to look at everything. Inside-the-20 is hard to look at too. Maybe the punter hasn't had an opportunity because they've been punting backed-up the whole season. I just think you have to look at the whole picture. More than anything you have to see the games that they've played in. I'm a firm believer you can't judge strictly by the numbers."'

Marker Red-Hot Zolman Returns to Action for Rhein Fire [7:01 AM] reports: '"I think it was very important for this team," Zolman said. "With only 10 games, you have to really focus on getting the wins early in the season. I think getting off to the good start will hopefully give us momentum going into these next few games and will get the season going in the right direction."'

Marker Williams says he'll re-sign with the Raiders [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”I’ve always been a fan of the hometown team and I’m sorry they couldn’t step up and get me there,” said Williams, the popular East High and Syracuse University product. “I’d have loved to finish my career at home. But to all the Bills fans out there, tell them I’ll see them next season.”'

Marker Roland A Raider [5:15 AM]
WOKR-TV reports: 'The veteran tight end had talked to the Buffalo Bills about possibly signing with the team near his hometown. But with this contract he’ll go back to the team that released him following knee surgery in 2003.'

April 8, 2004

Marker Bills Areas of Importance For Draft [10:33 AM] reports: '“We’re more interested in what the value of the player is,” said Donahoe, “and where is the player a good pick, and that’s the way we stack our board. Some guys are going to go earlier than where we have them graded, and some guys are going to go later, but that’s the nature of what you do when you evaluate the players.” For Buffalo’s brass however, need at some point is a factor, so Bills Digest has put together a rundown of the team’s more pressing need areas. We also assess when those needs might be addressed, and what prospect might be available for Buffalo at that time.'

Marker Mularkey studying Bills' needs in draft [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“I can name six positions,” said Mularkey, who was in Rochester on Wednesday to tour the Bills’ training camp facilities at St. John Fisher College for the first time. “Some would be immediate, some would be support roles, some will depend on what we do the next three weeks in free agency. But I think we’re going to have a pretty good choice at a couple of positions that we’re looking at.”'

April 7, 2004

Marker Campus Visits Keep Scouts Busy [11:05 AM] reports: 'Scouts will have a list of players they want to evaluate, but very often that list is lengthened. “The thing that is deceiving is you’re going to a school with five or six prospects and you think you’re going to have smooth day,” said Modrak, “then you talk to the school’s pro liaison and ask if there’s anybody else he would recommend. Sometimes they’ll recommend a handful of other guys, and if you’re doing your job you have to look at all of them. So a five player visit might turn into a ten player visit.”'

Marker Mora to set tempo at first mini-camp [5:15 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: 'The Buffalo Bills have shown interest in Falcons linebacker and restricted free agent Matt Stewart, Stewart's agent Brian Parker confirmed.'

April 6, 2004

Marker Bills Wallpaper [11:35 PM] reports: This month - Coach Mike Mularkey

Marker Divisional draft preview: AFC East needs [3:57 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Perhaps no team in the NFL has such defined needs as the Bills. Their need for a top-flight wide receiver to complement Eric Moulds screams for attention. Their need for a successor to Drew Bledsoe is also evident. Finally, their lack of a dangerous pass rusher is just as obvious.'

Marker Bills Alumni Spotlight: Art Still [9:51 AM] reports: 'At home, Still and his wife, Liz, share a philosophy. "The secret of staying young is always having one in diapers," he said. Think they don’t believe that? The Stills have 11 children: Afa, 19; Niko, 18; Aquina, 17; Meleana, 17; Luka, 16; Lanai, 15; Usala, 12; Kalani, 9; Valia, 6; Esaia, 3; and 14-month-old Faitasi.'

April 5, 2004

Marker Zolman Shines In Spot Duty [8:46 PM] reports: 'Quarterback Greg Zolman made the most of his first NFL Europe opportunity this past weekend, completing 7-of-9 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown to help the Rhein Fire to a 26-25 victory over the Cologne Centurions. Teammate Mike Shafer, also allocated by the Bills, added a 35-yard field goal in his only attempt.'

Marker Chris Berman's Cab Driver [11:47 AM] reports: '"He told me how he grew up in Lewiston and went to Lewiston-Porter high school," said Berman. "He said he followed the Bills from their days in War Memorial stadium. He told me he had some job with the team which was somewhere between janitor and general manager, but I can't recall what it was. He had some intrinsic feel for the Bills and was hired by Mr. Wilson in the early days of the AFL, so he was probably a gopher in the old championship days. But he developed this feel with the team. So this guy is a greater Buffalo transplant who I believe has a psychic connection to the Bills, pre-wagons circling. He probably helped build a couple of the wagons that have been circled."'

Marker Inside slant [6:34 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Rather than let a controversy simmer, Mularkey has already come out and said he will depend heavily on both players and will devise plays that utilize each player's strengths. There are several formations where both Henry and McGahee line up in the same backfield. "I've got a name for it, so it must exist," Mularkey said of that personnel grouping. "You've got two guys who can do both, catch the ball and run the ball. That will give some teams some problems. ... When you've got quality backs like that, you've got to get them on the field somehow."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [6:33 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Among Buffalo's allotted players to NFL Europe is QB Greg Zolman, Vanderbilt's all-time passer who's with his fifth NFL team since 2002. That fact should not reflect poorly on Zolman, who has had the misfortune - or fortune, depending on how you view it - to play on teams stacked at the position. In his brief time in the league, Zolman has played behind Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), Brett Favre (Green Bay), Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay) and Kurt Warner and Marc Bulger (St. Louis). Now he's behind Drew Bledsoe.'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [6:32 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Owner Ralph Wilson wanted a three-year extension of instant replay but went along with the five years that owners overwhelmingly approved at league meetings in Palm Beach. "I'd just as soon have gone with three years but five years is OK," Wilson said. "There are so many changes in technology. Too many people felt that in five years something better might come along."'

Marker Williams says he'll talk with Bills this week [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Despite positive talks with the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, free agent tight end Roland Williams has not ruled out signing with his first choice, the Buffalo Bills.'

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