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Buffalo Bills News - February 9, 2001

Marker Cuts expected as Bills tackle salary cap woes [9:13 PM]
AP reports: 'The team's highest-priced players going into next season include both quarterbacks, defensive linemen Washington and Phil Hansen, linebackers Sam Rogers and John Holecek, defensive backs Henry Jones and Ken Irvin, and offensive linemen Jerry Ostroski and Joe Panos.'

Marker Suspect arrested in hijacking of Buffalo Bills player [9:11 PM]
AP reports: 'Police booked a second man Friday in the Jan. 22 robbery and carjacking of Buffalo Bills defensive back Raion Hill.'

Marker Jets Name Harris as Backfield Coach [3:19 PM]
New York Times reports: '[Requires Free Registration] Harris was most recently the offensive backfield coach for the Buffalo Bills in 1998 and 1999, when he was on the same staff with the Jets' new defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell. Harris was out of football last season, after being fired by the Bills at the end of the 1999 season, apparently over philosophical differences with the former coach Wade Phillips and the offensive coordinator Joe Pendry.'

Marker 46 Bear Defense Site [2:30 PM]
N/A reports: 'I was looking around and i found a site that has the info on the 46 Defense.' [This isn't really a news piece, but it does provide technical details surrounding the infamous defensive scheme.]

Marker Bills name Graves to coach wide receivers [6:43 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'Williams said when he was hired he wanted a staff well-schooled in teaching fundamentals and Graves seems to fit that mold. Bills president Tom Donahoe echoed those sentiments and he also noted this week the club would not be hesitant to hire college coaches to attract the caliber of staffers it wanted.'

Marker NFL teams await Bills' cut [5:53 AM]
D and C reports: '"Nobody's going to give up something to absorb a burden on their cap. If I'm the new coach, I'll stay with the 27-year-old with upside and two years of contract left and hope he becomes a leader and gets better. I don't care how good Flutie is right now at his age."'

Marker Wilson approved Flutie contract [5:51 AM]
D and C reports: 'Smith, who has joined Butler in San Diego as assistant general manager, said owner Ralph Wilson "dictated" what took place in Buffalo. "John has taken unwarranted hits on all those things concerning Buffalo's salary cap," Smith said. "Just ask Mr. Wilson. He was the one involved with that."'

Marker Graves Takes Buffalo Job; McBride Seeks a Coach [5:50 AM]
Salt Lake City Tribune reports: 'Graves, a Ute assistant coach since 1982, will work under new Bills Coach Gregg Williams, who played for Graves at Northeast Missouri 25 years ago, and offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard, a former New Mexico coach and Brigham Young graduate assistant.'

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February 8, 2001

Marker Dr. Z's final testament to Ravens' D [5:02 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Dr. Z looks at Ravens' D compared to great defenses of years past. Bills' note is that the mid '60s unit is used as one of the comparison teams (and is the only AFL team mentioned) Congrats, Old Rockpile.'

Marker Bill's Greatest Need [4:01 PM] reports: 'Like the controversial show on MTV, Jackass, it was almost (but not quite) amusing when it first happened. Running a parallel of the Presidential election, major sporting news sources stated that there was an equally important campaign going on in Buffalo Rob Johnson or Doug Flutie?'

Marker Utes May Lose Graves to Buffalo of the NFL [1:34 PM]
Salt Lake City Tribune reports: 'Fred Graves, who has coached Utah wide receivers for 19 seasons, is the leading candidate to become receivers coach for the Buffalo Bills, a hiring that could become official today.'

Marker Bills name Graves receivers coach [1:31 PM]
AP reports: 'Graves, 50, has 26 years experience at the college level, including the last 19 at Utah. Since 1998 he has been assistant head coach in charge of receivers for Utah. He also coached running backs and served as offensive coordinator.'

Marker Bills agree to terms with Graves to coach receivers [12:03 PM] reports: 'The Bills today announced that the team has agreed to terms with Fred Graves as receivers coach. Graves, 50, comes to the Bills with 26 years of coaching experience at the college level, including the last 19 seasons at Utah. Since 1998 he held the title of assistant head coach/receivers.'

Marker Gregg Williams on WGR55 this morning [10:00 AM]

After saying at his Buffalo introduction. that he would be accessible to all the media, Bills' head coach, Gregg Williams went live on the air with Bauerele and the Bulldog on WGR-55 this morning.

Coach Williams's first comments were regarding the issue paramount in most Bills' fans minds - who's the QB? He said no decision has been made yet and a process on continual evaluation is ongoing but there will be a decision by March 1st. He said all the parties would meet in Buffalo and "I want men to be treated like men and I want people to talk face to face. The Bills would be "starting off fair (with all parties) understanding what we had to do and why we're doing it. I think that's important to start that way right off the bat."

On his selection of OC, Mike Sheppard, Williams praised his background education and his "organized approach - an attacking approach" that he learned from the likes of Ted Marchibroda, Kevin Gilbride and Mike Holmgren.

His view of the West Coast offense?

"It's based on short, quick rhythm passing with the set-up of the QB and various concepts of stretching the field sideways and horizontally with seam and vertical stretches down the field. But the thing (offense) is based on having the QB get rid of the ball quickly."

The passing game sets up the power running game and leads to further and opportunities. Coach Williams emphasized the style that Jeff Garcia brings to the West Coast offense where, "Jeff G. and his elusiveness run, create things out of a bad situation with his legs. It's an offense that's easily adaptable to each QB who has a chance to run it."

Williams' ideal quarterback? A player with the physical ability including the parts of feet, arm, hands and brain and the ability to improvise. The ideal QB also has his teammates' confidence. Gregg stated that both current candidates have these intangibles.

Coach Williams wants his coaching staff assembled and in place by Sunday when they will all gather in Buffalo. He said there may be still be a vacancy but didn't elaborate which one. There have been discussions with Joe Ferguson and Mike Sheppard will continue talking with Joe. Williams emphasized that all the coaches will be on the same page and that the players will be getting the same message from everyone.

Marker Audio Interview with Gregg Williams [9:09 AM] reports: 'Two Titan fans informed our message board readers about an excellent interview Williams had on a Nashville station yesterday. It starts around 20 minutes into the archive and lasts over 1/2 hr. It's a must listen. (Feb. 7th date)'

Marker Cap adjustments aren't falling into line [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills need to be under the NFL's estimated salary-cap figure of $67.4 million by March 2. They are about $13 million over. Washington has the Bills' third-highest 2001 cap figure ($7.66 million) behind quarterbacks Rob Johnson ($8.29 million) and Doug Flutie ($7.75 million).'

Marker Flutie looking at Buffal South - The Redskins [8:56 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'It is really sounding like Buffalo south when you hear talk of the Redskins. The coach is a former Bill. the Bills best defensive player is a Skin now, and they want more. Flutie or Johnson, they'll maybe take either.'

Marker MTSU losing coaches to NFL: Aldridge to Bills; Woodford to New Orleans [7:45 AM]
Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reports: "He has been recognized nationally as one of the top defensive coordinators at the Division I level at multiple programs," Williams said..."He has a great overall teaching background in every defensive position on the staff."'

Marker Williams adds 3 others [5:37 AM]
D and C reports: 'New Bills coach Gregg Williams said Friday he wanted to move quickly to fill his coaching staff. He wasn't kidding.'

Marker Gray's skills inspire his 'D' [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'Because he was a player, he gained immediate respect from his troops at Tennessee. "Jerry's a guy that's been there and done that -- he's been the best at his position and when you have a guy like that speaking you can't do nothing but listen," Titans safety Blaine Bishop said.'

February 7, 2001

Marker As cap clock ticks, Bills take their time making major personnel decisions [10:15 PM]
SportsWritersDirect reports: Donahoe said one problem last year was that the offensive line wasn't very good."Flutie was experienced enough to handle that and Rob was not," he said. "Rob can get better. Can we improve the pass protection? Those are questions the coach has to look into. He also has to look into how long Doug can play. He's 39 (in October) and they say he has a 28-year-old-body, but (he can't play forever)."...."We have to get better in the offensive line, but we have good, young skill people and some very good young players on defense," he said. "I like the talent and some of the youth we have here."

Marker Bills name Gray, Vinklarek to coaching staff [8:39 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Buffalo Bills plucked two more coaches from the staff of the Tennessee Titans on Wednesday, naming Jerry Gray defensive coordinator and Ronnie Vinklarek offensive line coach.'

Marker Bills hire Gray as defensive coordinator, three others [8:37 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo also hired Ronnie Vinklarek from the Titans as the offensive line coach, Danny Smith as special teams coach and Miles Aldridge as linebackers coach.'

Marker Bills agree to terms with two more coaches [5:37 PM] reports: As hinted by Shout! earlier, the Bills have hired Miles Aldridge as linebackers coach. 'Aldridge spent the last two seasons at Middle Tennessee State as defensive coordinator. Prior to that, he served stints as defensive coordinator at Southwestern Louisiana (1998), Arkansas (1996-97), Clemson (1994-96) and South Carolina (1991-93).'

The Bills also hired Danny Smith as special teams coach. 'Smith had been the tight ends coach of the Detroit Lions for the past two seasons. Before that he was an assistant on Ray Rhodes' staff with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1995-98, overseeing special teams and defensive backs for two seasons each.'

Marker Staff Still Incomplete, Jets Plan Next Season [4:38 PM]
New York Times reports: [Free subscription required] 'Coach Herman Edwards added to his coaching staff yesterday, hiring Bill Bradley to coach the defensive backs... Bradley was the defensive backs coach in Buffalo under the Jets' new defensive coordinator, Ted Cottrell. The Bills had the league's top-ranked pass defense in 1999 and were second best in 2000.'

Marker Bills Hire Sheppard [1:53 PM]
Seahawks Insider reports: 'Each of Holmgren's three previous quarterbacks coaches has secured a head coaching position: Steve Mariucci from San Francisco, Marty Mornhinweg with the Lions and Andy Reid, who coaches the Eagles.'

Marker Williams fills the Bills' needs with his gung-ho coaching attitude [1:38 PM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Williams leaves no rocks unturned. Self conscious about his teeth, Williams had braces put on when he was 40. "It was a two-year program, but I had him crank it up to 11 months," Williams said.'

Marker Bills hire Gray as defensive coordinator; Vinklarek for offensive line [1:28 PM]
AP reports: 'Jerry Gray, the defensive backs coach for the Tennessee Titans, has been hired as the new defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.
Buffalo also hired Ronnie Vinklarek from the Titans as the offensive line coach.'

Marker Bills agree to terms with Gray and Vinklarek [1:17 PM] reports: 'Vinklarek spent the 1998 and '99 seasons as offensive line coach at Oklahoma State. In 1997, he worked at Valdosta (Ga.) State as the offensive line coach. Took over as offensive line coach at the University of Houston in 1988. Vinklarek broke into the professional coaching ranks in 1995 as both offensive line coach for the Birmingham Barracudas of the Canadian Football League.'

Marker Williams, Bills impressed each other [12:21 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'There are reports of me being a detail and organized person, but (Donahoe's) approach was extremely detailed and of the most impressive I've even been through. There have been some times I've been interviewed when I've thought, 'How could they hire me with the things they just asked?'"'.

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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