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Buffalo Bills News - January 15, 2004

Marker Cornell interviews football finalists [10:20 AM]
Ithaca Journal reports: 'In two years at Buffalo, Gilbride had his ups and downs, being credited for rejuvenating the offense in the Bills' 8-8 season of 2002, while taking much of the blame for Buffalo's 6-10 season of 2003. On Wednesday, Buffalo hired a new head coach, Mike Mularkey, who is the former offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While Gilbride is still technically listed as Buffalo's offensive coordinator, he is not expected to be retained.'

Marker Here We Go Again [9:33 AM]
TBD reports: "In retrospect, of course, we know that the talk barely lasted through training camp, as Williams' bravado quickly wore on veteran players, while his cockiness did not endear longtime followers of the franchise. Still, as Williams' competition for the job also included untested names, the wait-and-see outlook on the coach's performance was permissible. But, it soon became clear that despite professing the intense scrutiny of minutia, Williams failed in the basics of team oversight and game day management. Then after John Fox and Marvin Lewis proved to be more capable coaches, the inevitable end to the Gregg Williams era came to its merciful end. "

Marker New regime brings reinforcements [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'How the defensive assistants will shape up remained uncertain Wednesday night. The Bills and Steelers were waiting for a decision by Dick LeBeau. Both teams would like LeBeau as defensive coordinator. LeBeau was assistant head coach under Williams in 2003, but his contract is up. If LeBeau returns to the Bills, there will be no spot in Buffalo for defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. If LeBeau picks Pittsburgh, it's uncertain what that will mean for Gray. Gray could become a candidate for one of the other open defensive coordinator positions in the NFL if the Bills let him out of his contract, which runs through 2004.'

Marker Mularkey learned from best [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Cowher had grown unhappy with the lack of productivity in the Steelers' passing game under Gilbride. Pittsburgh ranked 29th among 31 NFL teams in 2000. Besides juicing up the passing attack, Mularkey's charge was to rehabilitate quarterback Kordell Stewart, who had suffered a complete loss of confidence and focus with Gilbride's complicated schemes. Under Mularkey and new quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, Stewart had his career-best passer rating (81.7) and passing yards total (3,106), and had 14 TD passes and 11 interceptions in 2001.'

Marker Mularkey aces the toughness test [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills fans aren't sure what to make of Mularkey just yet, but those who played and coached with him in Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Tampa Bay say that will change once fans get to know him.'

Marker McNally finally back home [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He's a native of Kenmore, a graduate of the University at Buffalo and a lifelong Bills fan.'

Marker Being dyed in Steel wool isn't all bad [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Time became a foe of teams seeking head coaches, and that was no fault of Donahoe. He's facing the prospect of losing Dick LeBeau, his assistant head coach, to the Steelers, who want to make him defensive coordinator. Mularkey also is partial to LeBeau, and sources say Weis would have been, as well. The longer the vacancy existed the greater the chance LeBeau takes the sure thing and flees to Pittsburgh.'

Marker Wilson denied Hall call [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Wilson, former Bills special teamer Steve Tasker and Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell were among the 25 semifinalists who did not make the list of 15.'

Marker Mularkey is choice of Bills [7:52 AM]
Washington Observer Reporter reports: 'Buffalo chose Mularkey despite the Steelers' drop in every major offensive statistic this season. A year after ranking fifth in the league in total offense, the Steelers were 22nd this season, including a rushing attack that ranked 31st. But Mularkey is also a favorite of Bills president Tom Donahoe, a former director of football operations for the Steelers. Donahoe signed Mularkey, a tight end, as a player in 1989, and also led the push for Cowher to hire him as a tight ends coach in 1996.'

Marker The rebuilding starts [5:19 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“Hines Ward said great things about him,” Moulds said Wednesday after the Bills confirmed that Mularkey, the Steelers offensive coordinator the past three seasons, had been hired as the new head coach in Buffalo. “So I’m interested to see what he has to say.”'

Marker Mularkey did his homework [5:18 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'It’s known that most of Williams’ offensive assistants won’t be retained - the Bills ranked 30th in points scored. Beleaguered coordinator Kevin Gilbride has already interviewed for the head-coaching opening at Cornell University. Offensive line coach Pat Ruel and tight ends coach Pat Neal also will not be retained.'

Marker GM Donahoe gets one last chance with newest coach [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'I, like many of you, would have preferred a man with NFL head coaching experience - a Jim Fassel or a Dick Jauron. I still worry about the reputation — perceived or real — that Donahoe is unwilling to yield power. I hope that isn’t why he passed on an established coach like Fassel, because if that’s the case, Donahoe is putting his ego above the good of the franchise, and that would be bad.'

Marker Crony, or not, give Mularkey a chance [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'But add it up, and hiring the 42-year-old Mularkey was far from predictable and easy for Donahoe. In fact, it was rather gutsy given the fact he didn’t do himself any favors when it comes to changing the perception about his lording management style.'

Marker Cowher's problems mounting [5:15 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Mularkey, 42, will take just one Steelers assistant with him, quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, who will become offensive coordinator of the Bills. Mularkey, however, won't wait until next fall to compete against Steelers coach Bill Cowher. Their teams will meet in Buffalo next season, but he and Cowher both want to hire LeBeau as their defensive coordinator and, as of last night, there was no word on who would get him. LeBeau was assistant head coach last year in Buffalo and was secondary coach on Cowher's first staff and later promoted to defensive coordinator. Cowher interviewed Bears defensive coordinator Greg Blache at the team's headquarters yesterday and could hire him if he loses out on LeBeau.'

Marker It's official: Mularkey headed to Buffalo [5:15 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Mularkey, who was officially named Bills coach yesterday, also wants to take Clements with him to Buffalo as offensive coordinator. Clements has been with the Steelers since 2001 when he helped turn Kordell Stewart into the team MVP, working especially closely with his footwork and other fundamentals.'

Marker Mularkey to coach Bills [5:14 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: '"I'm happy for him but not surprised," said Chip Shealy, who coached Mularkey at Northeast. "He was always a student of the game. He would spend extra time watching film and working on designing plays. You know that someone with that kind of interest has a future in the game."'

Marker Redskins Take a Look at Coaches [5:13 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'Daniel Snyder's plane, Redskins One, flew to Buffalo to bring some Bills assistant coaches to Redskins Park yesterday, but sources said the aircraft left without one person Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs and his defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, want to hire: Jerry Gray.'

Marker Just like fine wine, Levy only gets better [5:12 AM]
Orlando Sentinel reports: '"Neither color nor age are factors if you are good," he said by phone from his home in Chicago. "Numerical age is just as approximation of your functional age. Yes, I am disappointed that I haven't been given another opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL."'

Marker Inside slant [5:11 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"There were a lot of very good candidates," owner Ralph Wilson said. "There were a lot of very competent coaches in the seven we interviewed. All of them. You couldn't go wrong."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [5:10 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Antoine Winfield (URFA. Pound-for-pound among best tacklers in the NFL and can cover, but lack of interceptions hurts his chances of signing top deal, particularly with players like Charles Woodson also hitting the market. Bills will make attempt to re-sign Winfield, but won't go overboard and he has sent off plenty of signals that he's ready for a change).'

Marker Notes, quotes, anecdotes [5:09 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'The length of Mularkey's deal was not immediately known, but it's believed to be four to five seasons for slightly less than the $1.5-million per year average San Francisco defensive coordinator Jim Mora, Jr. received from Atlanta.'

Marker Donahoe banking on Mularkey [5:08 AM]
AP reports: 'Mularkey rescued struggling quarterback Kordell Stewart in 2001, when he threw 14 touchdown passes and led the Steelers to the AFC championship. He also rejuvenated journeyman quarterback Tommy Maddox's career the following year, when he tossed a career-high 20 touchdown passes as the Steelers advanced to the AFC divisional playoffs.'

Marker Is Mularkey The Right Man? [5:07 AM]
WOKR-TV reports: 'It’s easy to say the Bills should have hired a guy with head coaching experience. It depends on what “experience” you get. Do you get the Dick Jauron that won 13 games for the Bears, or the one that couldn’t get over 500 the last 2 years ? Do you get the Jim Fassel that went to a Super Bowl, or the one that lost his last 8 games in New York ? One man’s “experienced” coach is another man’s retread.'

Marker Former Bills Head Coach Marv Levy talks to 2 on your side [5:06 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: '“What do think his (Mularkey) challenges might be in the next year? Marv Levy: “Well, Stefan, number one, put together a good coaching staff. That is number one. That is the most important thing a coach does. Every successful coach has an outstanding coaching staff."'

Marker Campbell Excited About the Hiring of Mularkey [5:05 AM] reports: '"I'm excited to have a guy like that who has proven to have a great offense the last few years. He is an intelligent offensive minded football guy. He does a lot of different things to trick the defense and that's exciting to me. It makes it a lot of fun."'

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January 14, 2004

Marker Mularkey's the Man [9:22 PM] reports: 'Mularkey began his coaching career as a tight ends coach and graduated to the position of offensive coordinator, a position he held for three years. A year ago he was a finalist for the head coaching job in Cincinnati. That position eventually went to Marvin Lewis.'

Marker Bills hope Mularkey resurrects stalled offense [8:53 PM]
AP reports: '''With all the experience that Mr. Donahoe and Mr. Wilson have, they certainly know what they are doing better than anybody in the NFL,'' Bills' receiver Eric Moulds said. ''I feel real good about the decision.'''

Marker We've seen it before... [5:05 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: 'On other levels, though, it just doesn't seem to be a truly good fit. The Bills needed a veteran coach who would come in and establish things right away. There will be little time for learning on the job, which is exactly what Mularkey is going to have to do. The Bills are a team of talented, even playoff-caliber veterans who simply, honestly need to be pointed in the right direction. A coach such as Fassel or Jauron would have been more capable of pointing the team in the right direction than Mularkey.'

Marker Bills officially name Mularkey Head Coach [5:01 PM]
WGRZ-TV reports: 'The hiring of Mularkey could also have an impact on the Bills defense, as it's expected Bills Assistant Head Coach Dick LeBeau would remain on the Bills staff. LeBeau was in Pittsburgh Tuesday talking with Steelers coach Bill Cowher about the Steelers defensive coordinators position. Currently, Jerry Gray remains the Bills defensive coordinator, although there is speculation he'll join former Bills coach Gregg Williams in Washington once it's official Gray didn't land the Bills head coaching job.'

Marker Bills Give Mularkey First Head Coaching Job [4:59 PM]
Reuters reports: 'In 2001, Mularkey's first as coordinator, Pittsburgh had the league's top rushing attack and the third-ranked overall offense. That year the Steelers posted a 13-3 regular season record, won the AFC Central title and advanced to the AFC Championship Game. The next year, Pittsburgh had the league's fifth-ranked overall offense and again won the division crown.'

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