Punt, pass and fail [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It could be argued that special teams cost the Buffalo Bills a shot at the Super Bowl last year. They probably cost the Bills a playoff berth this year.'
Final report card [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Quarterbacks: Rob needs better handling, more time to develop. C.'
If Chargers want Butler, they'll have to hurry [12:54 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Butler, who was fired by the Bills last week, said yesterday he would like to sign with a new team before Jan. 8, the date teams open practice for the East-West Shrine Game in San Francisco.'
Donohoe seems like a natural fit for Bills [9:22 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The only reason Donohoe is out of a job is because he lost a power struggle with Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher. To settle it, Steelers' owner and president, Dan Rooney, opted to fire the personnel man, feeling it would have less effect on the team than axing the coach. He never said Cowher was more valuable than Donohoe.'
Donahoe sold on Bills entering 2nd meeting [6:31 AM]
D and C reports: '"We had a good meeting and talked about a lot of things," said Donahoe, who met with Wilson on Wednesday. "Ralph's doing what any good owner should do at the end of a season and that's evaluate things in the organization. We decided we'd talk further at some point next week."'
Ticket sales, loyalty to coaches could doom Phillips [6:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'If the fans voted on whether to retain Phillips he'd probably be a landslide loser -- with no recount necessary. Phillips refusing to fire at least two close friends on his coaching staff might be the perfect excuse for Wilson to can the coach -- and he might anyway.'
Waiting For Donahoe [3:02 PM]
Buffalo Post reports: 'Donahoe's endorsement of Doug Flutie ... promises to make the Bills' first major offseason decision especially intriguing.'
Butler dazzles Spanos [3:00 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: '"His experience and success in the past speaks for itself. He's got a great résumé. The thing that struck me most was his approach to player personnel."'
Spanos meets with possible GM Butler [2:58 PM]
North County Times reports: 'Spanos, in Aspen for a family ski vacation, is expected to meet with Butler again next week.'
Donahoe to get 2nd interview with Bills [9:06 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'There have been reports that Wilson is prepared to turn over some of his own duties to his next general manager and perhaps even name him president and general manager.'
Wilson to meet Donahoe again [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The team said Wilson also plans to interview other candidates for the position made vacant by John Butler's firing on Dec. 19.'
Return to sender [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Phillips was steadfast in his defense of the special teams. Many of the players who were released last offseason were major special teams contributors. And with so many spots filled by first- and second-year players, Phillips said breakdowns were inevitable.'
Bills closing in on Donohoe [6:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'While Wilson could grant interviews this weekend to other candidates for the GM job made vacant by the firing of John Butler last week, it was learned, Wilson's meeting with the highly regarded Donahoe in West Palm Beach on Wednesday went well enough to just about convince the 82-year-old owner to look no further.'
Bills close in on Donohoe [11:52 PM]
D and C reports: ...that Ralph Wilson and Tom Donahoe are close to an agreement. The two will meet next week where they are expected to finalize a contract and begin planning for the 2001 season.
Chargers talking to former Bills GM [9:20 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'John Butler may have taken the first step toward becoming the Chargers' next general manager when he spent most of Wednesday afternoon and evening meeting with club president Dean Spanos in Denver.'
Chargers president interviews John Butler [9:10 PM]
AP reports: 'While Butler might be the leading candidate, Spanos has said he'll consider others, some of whom might be with playoff teams. Johnston said Spanos told him he had spoken with another candidate, but didn't say who.'
Donahoe earns second interview for Bills GM job [9:09 PM]
AP reports: '"Tom Donahoe and I had a discussion yesterday and we have decided to talk again," Wilson said in a statement Thursday. "It won't be in six months. It will probably take place in the first part of next week."'
Bills head into an offseason of uncertainty [1:34 PM]
AP reports: '"It's not easy playing quarterback here with the situation I'm in. It takes its toll. If it's the same situation next year, I've got to get ready to deal with it all over again," Johnson said. "Public sentiment is so for Doug and it will always be for Doug."'
NFL Draft Order [12:25 PM]
Shout! reports: The Bills will draft 14th in the 2001 NFL draft held in April.
Sam Gash means Smash Mouth [10:27 AM]
TBD reports: Although it may be a coincedence, here is a little factoid that MSNBC's Gregg Easterbrook noted in a recent column: "... in 1999, with Gash lead-blocking, the Bills rushing offense ranked eighth, while this year, with the same runners and linemen but no Gash, Buffalo dropped to 17th. Gash is now with Baltimore, whose running game leapt from bottom-quartile in 1999 to fourth in 2000. This season Gash had two carries for two yards."
Starting at the top [10:17 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Wilson's job search to replace fired general manager John Butler seems set up to lead to former Pittsburgh front office executive Tom Donahoe, who has emerged as the front-runner.'
Bills rank ninth in NFL attendance [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have now finished in the top 10 league-wide 10 times in the last 11 years. They led the NFL in attendance four consecutive years from 1990 through 1993.'
Wilson interviews ex-Steelers exec Donahoe [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Donahoe has been working as a guest analyst for ESPN. On an Internet chat session over the weekend, he was asked by a fan about the sticky quarterback decision facing the Bills. His response was: "As a starter, Flutie's record is now 21-9. What's the decision?"'
Phillips reportedly to meet with Bills owner Jan. 5 [1:52 PM]
AP reports: 'Wilson, who gave Phillips a vote of confidence three weeks ago, has twice since refused to follow up on the endorsement.'
Has Phillips done enough to save job? [1:48 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills' head coach began meetings with team owner Ralph Wilson in Florida, presumably to save his job. At issue is the question of whether Saturday night's impressive win at Seattle, and the fact he has a year remaining on his contract, is enough to bring him back next season ... probably at the expense of a few assistant coaches.'
Wilson, Phillips to meet Jan. 5 [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The meeting usually is held the week after the end of the season. But the timing of the meeting may allow the Bills time to get a general manager in place to take part in the review.'
Coaching philosophy and Rob Johnson ruined Bills chances [7:17 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'For his part, Pendry has no gifts at all. His game plans stink. His use of personnel is useless.'
Disgruntled Smith wants out of Buffalo [8:47 PM]
AP reports: '"If it was up to me, I would like to move on because I wasn't given a fair opportunity here. I wasn't given a fair shot, and that's all I really asked for."'
Flutie show in Seattle means little [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'We're back to the "Doug has that magic" baloney.'
If Flutie returns, use him properly [5:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'A job you wouldn't want: Director of season-ticket sales for the 2001 Buffalo Bills if quarterback Doug Flutie is traded or released and the current offensive line and special teams coaches are retained.'
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