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Buffalo Bills News - January 20, 2004

Marker Opening flop didn't stop run to Super Bowl [9:02 PM]
AP reports: 'Certainly, the setback must have motivated the Patriots. Some good must have come out of such a problem-filled opener. "Good?" coach Bill Belichick said. "No. No. No." In the four months since then, Buffalo faltered and missed the playoffs while the Patriots are 16-1.'

Marker A Look Back At Mularkey's Playing Days [4:40 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"I think he’s going to be a great fit for Buffalo. As a guy who has covered the Steelers for the last 10 years, I’ve watched him as a tight ends coach and then as an offensive coordinator and he’s always had the look of a head coach. The way he sees the game, the way he teaches out there, the way he interacts with players and other coaches and with the media, he’s just got that thing. He just looks like a head coach."'

Marker Westside [1:17 PM]
The Learning Channel reports: 'Buffalo Bills star Lawyer Milloy gets the custom treatment as his 2003 Hummer is torn apart and turned into a special-order masterpiece.'

Marker Gibbs Still Trying to Lock In Top-Flight Assistants [10:52 AM]
Washington Post reports: The issue became moot last week when Buffalo's new coach, Mike Mularkey, chose to retain Gray as defensive coordinator. Gray intends to keep his defensive staff intact, meaning the Redskins will also lose out on two other Bills assistants: linebackers coach Don Blackmon and defensive line coach Tim Krumrie.

Marker Bills have ways to go to catch Super teams [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'At any point Sunday, did you look at Weis, or at Carolina's head coach, John Fox and say, "They could have hired that guy?" Did you find yourself wondering if Tom Donahoe, the Bills' president and GM, really got the best man when he picked Mike Mularkey as his coach?'

Marker Bills should follow in Panthers' pawsteps [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'In 2003, Carolina continued to improve while Buffalo regressed. The Panthers were 11-5, outgained opponents by 26.0 yards per game and outscored opponents by 21 points. They ranked 16th in offense and eighth on defense. The Bills finished 6-10, outgained opponents by 2.2 yards per game and were outscored by 36 points.'

Marker Bills pick up Wheelers’ Francis [5:15 AM]
Moline Dispatch reports: 'However, the 'Wheelers organization is celebrating that fact, with last season's af2 sackmaster set to sign today with the NFL's Buffalo Bills, and bound for an important pre-training camp in the spring developmental league, NFL Europe. Francis' agent, Martin Prince, confirmed Monday his client was in Buffalo, N.Y., for a physical. If he passes that, it would clear the way for Francis to sign a contract believed to be for the NFL's minimum salary, $230,000, according to the NFL Players Association Web site.'

Marker Big Red attracts big names [5:14 AM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Gilbride and Trestman are expected to lose their jobs following head coaching changes in Buffalo and Oakland. Noel said he traveled to each coach's home to meet with him before inviting them to Ithaca for a formal interview.'

Marker Message from Mularkey, please hold [5:13 AM]
WGRZ-TV reports: '“Hi, this is Mike Mularkey. The new head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Just wanted to take a second and introduce myself, and thank you for this outstanding opportunity. A proud tradition and the history of the Buffalo Bills is recognized around the league, and I can’t tell you how excited I am to be a part of it. My goal as your new head coach is to not only put a team on the field that you’ll be excited to watch, but proud to call your Buffalo Bills. I’m looking forward to becoming a part of this community, and looking forward to seeing all of you at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Thank you for your support. And I hope you have a great off-season.”'

Marker Bills Welcome Mularkey's Offensive Knowledge [5:12 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"He comes from an offensive background, looking at last year that is where we had some problems. I'm not saying we were perfect on defense but as a whole I think an offensive minded coach of this caliber is definitely a big positive for our team."'

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January 19, 2004

Marker Buffalo's new coach comes to town talking a good game plan, for now [1:45 PM]
Niagara Falls Reporter reports: 'Mike Mularkey, the Buffalo Bills' new head coach, and Tom Clements, his offensive coordinator, are going to install the sort of offense missing around these parts for more than two decades -- a Power Running Game...Problem is, we've heard this all before.'

Marker Bills take ticket sales campaign to market [5:16 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'It will be interesting to see how Donahoe's comments resonate with the rank-n-file fans. As the highest executive the team has ever had, Donahoe's stamp is on virtually everything the Bills do. Yet it's those staffers under him, many on board prior to his arrival, who developed and redeveloped much-needed marketing ties and now are faced with defending and/or explaining their boss' words, all the while trying to again get them to commit on long-term business deals.'

Marker Only Buffalo Bills Have Sense of the Direction the Eagles Fly [5:15 AM]
Los Angeles Times reports: 'The Eagles are making the Buffalo Bills look like overachievers.'

January 18, 2004

Marker Former Bears coach accepts three-year deal with Detroit Lions [4:41 PM]
ESPN reports: Jauron also interviewed for the Buffalo Bills head coach opening early this month. He had been contacted by, but did not interview with, at least two other teams who needed to hire a defensive coordinator.

Marker Bills' new head coach has a lengthy to-do list [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Try running on third-and-1. Try running on first down.'

Marker Title game looks familiar [9:05 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``Then about three years ago we evolved into a no-huddle team that went with three wide receivers instead of two tight ends. We knew we needed a good center and Jeff Saturday is another Kent Hull. They're the same guy. Getting Troy Walter last year and Brandon Stokley this year gives us good people in the slot and that let us move Reggie Wayne to the outside where he's better suited.'''

Marker Belichick: Colts are like '91 Bills [9:04 AM]
Toronto Star reports: ''"Buffalo was a very fast-paced offence. A lot of times there were 20 or 18 seconds left on the (play) clock when the ball was snapped, so there was a much higher urgency to get the (defensive play) call in, get lined up and be ready to go. It was a two-minute type of pace. "There is a lot more play-action, a lot more variety in the Colts' offensive system,'' the coach of the year went on. "They do use some substitution and they do use different personnel groups. Looking back at Buffalo, they were more of a one-group, one-formation, hurry-up-and-run-the-plays kind. They put pressure on you defensively that way.'''

Marker Mularkey's relentless intensity, work ethic finally brings top job [5:15 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'He is low-key, gentlemanly and smart, a person who earned dual degrees in kinesiology and sociology. What's more, he is even-tempered, like Noll, rarely losing composure and almost never showing any emotion. That, though, is veneer for what burns inside, a fire that fuels a mental toughness that exemplified his playing career.'

Marker Spurrier in waiting: Just what Mack needs [5:14 AM]
San Antonio Express News reports: 'Jerry Gray certainly saw some urgency. He wanted to go back to the school where he played, and he had some credentials. He was the Bills' defensive coordinator last season, and only the Cowboys' defense ranked higher. There was some irony; a few Aggies propped up the Buffalo defense. But Gray seemed an ideal hire for Texas. Smart, young, experienced, orange-blooded. As for Gray's skin color: If not for social change, why not for recruiting? But Brown showed little interest, and last week it became official. Gray will remain in Buffalo as the Bills' defensive coordinator. Brown likely saw Gray's background as less collegiate than pro. But there are also hints that Brown viewed Gray as a threat, and for a reason. Gray's goal is to someday be the head coach at Texas.'

January 17, 2004

Marker LeBeau chooses Steelers over Bills [9:25 AM]
Washington Observer Reporter reports: '"One of the attractions to me being in Pittsburgh was the fact that, philosophically, Coach (Cowher) and I have always been on the same page, and that is attack," said LeBeau, who takes over a defense ranked ninth in the NFL last season. "We will be a pressure defense, and I know the head coach feels that way, too."'

Marker Bills keep status quo with Gray [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I can be an ally to help him on the other side of the ball," Gray continued. "He doesn't have to worry about me making a transition. I know what went on here. I can help him with players and personalities. I can help him with things that you can't learn by watching film."'

Marker Bills lose LeBeau, retain Gray [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Gray, who was rumored to be interested in returning to his alma mater, the University of Texas, to be the Longhorns’ defensive coordinator, said he was more than pleased to return under Mularkey as the defensive coordinator. “To me, I went into the process thinking it was an honor,” Gray said of being interviewed by general manager Tom Donahoe. “I knew it was a long shot to get the head coaching job so it wasn’t a letdown. After we found out that Mike was going to be hired, I didn’t know if I’d have a chance to stay here or not. I knew our defense performed well and hopefully the guy would give me a chance. It just so happened that things fell right.”'

Marker Mularkey a comfortable fit for Bills and fans [5:19 AM]
Medina Journal Register reports: 'Western New Yorkers will love him in time. Not only is the approach blue collar, but so is the man behind it.'

Marker Gibbs to Count On 'Character' Players [5:15 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'The Redskins also have been interested in Bills defensive line coach Tim Krumrie and linebackers coach Don Blackmon. LeBeau's departure means Washington has a shot at signing Krumrie. The assistant was considered a lock to remain in Buffalo if LeBeau stayed there: Krumrie was a defensive line coach under LeBeau in Cincinnati from 1997 to 2002. Mularkey hasn't announced his decision on Blackmon and Krumrie. And Gibbs -- who is considering New York Giants running back coach Eric Studesville -- is eager to find out.'

Marker Character the deciding factor for Mularkey [5:13 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'But now, Donahoe has Mularkey and offensive coordinator Tom Clements, formerly the Steelers' quarterbacks coach, in charge of the offense. Clements was a leading candidate for the same job two years ago, but Williams insisted on hiring Kevin Gilbride. Gilbride has failed to properly fit quarterbacks Drew Bledsoe of the Bills and Kordell Stewart of the Steelers into his offensive system, but Donahoe defended him. "Kevin has gotten a lot of criticism (in Buffalo)," he said, "and it wasn't all Kevin. I thought there were things that the head coach should have stepped in and controlled better than he controlled it."'

Marker LeBeau returns to Steelers as defensive coordinator [5:12 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Dick LeBeau could have joined Mike Mularkey's coaching staff in Buffalo as the defensive coordinator. If so, he would have had a lesser shadow lurking over his shoulder. Instead, LeBeau chose a similar and, perhaps, a more challenging path with the Steelers, opting to reunite with coach Bill Cowher's strong personality, notable defensive mind and many more years of experience. Friday, LeBeau become the new coordinator in Pittsburgh, replacing the fired Tim Lewis.'

January 16, 2004

Marker Bills retain Gray as defensive coordinator [7:12 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Since Gray has been the coordinator, the Bills have improved from 21st defensively in his first year to 14th in 2002 and second this past season.'

Marker Tip Sheet: Henning had right approach with QB [7:11 PM]
ESPN reports: One guess on who could be the most improved player under the Mularkey system: Two-year veteran wide receiver Josh Reed, who caught just 58 passes and scored only two times in '03, after replacing Peerless Price as a starter

Marker Gray To Stay As Defensive Coordinator [6:40 PM]
WGR-AM reports: Gray has been the Bills defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. The defense had its best season under Gray in 2003, ranking second overall in the league.

Marker Steelers named LeBeau defensive coordinator [6:40 PM]
Sportsticker reports: "One of the attractions to me being in Pittsburgh was the fact that philosophically, Bill and I have always been on the same page, and that is to attack," he said. "We will be a pressure defense and I know the head coach feels that way, too."

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