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Buffalo Bills News - March 29, 2004

Marker Inside slant [7:27 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: '"I think there's no question we underachieved last year," Bledsoe said. "I think we failed to play the style of football that we set out to play. This year, you're going to see us be a little more stubborn about playing the brand of football that fits our talent. We're going to pound the ball, we're going to play-action it, we're going to play great defense like we did last year, and we're going to score more points because we're going to avoid the mistakes that killed us."'

Marker Strategy and personnel [7:27 AM]
CBS Sportsline reports: 'On the draft front, the Bills' eyes are wide open about the possibility of using the 13th pick on one of the two top pass-rushing ends, Ohio State's Will Smith and USC's Kenechi Udeze. Both players helped themselves dramatically with solid pro day workouts. Smith ran a dazzling 4.55 and Udeze a 4.72.'

Marker 'Skins impressed with Williams' techniques [5:14 AM]
Newport News Daily Press reports: 'In 1999-2000, his Tennessee defense recorded a league-best 109 sacks; and in 2000, the Titans led the NFL in total defense. As Buffalo's head coach from 2001-03, the Bills' defense improved from 21st to 15th to second. Williams was fired by Buffalo after going 6-10 last season.'

Marker Ex-coach will discuss cancer fight [5:13 AM]
San Antonio Express News reports: '"I was diagnosed in the summer of '95," Marv Levy says. "I'd gone in for my regular physical and afterward the doctor called to tell me I had a high PSA score. I didn't know PSA from SAT."'

Marker Bears to land fullback in trade [5:12 AM]
Chicago Tribune reports: 'A league source said the Washington Redskins will trade fullback Bryan Johnson to the Bears on Monday in exchange for a sixth-round draft choice. The Raiders and Bills were the other teams in the running for the hard-nosed Johnson.'

The Bears also have made a contract offer to former Buffalo guard Ruben Brown, who is thought to have narrowed his choices to Chicago and Detroit.

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March 28, 2004

Marker AFC East also-rans make moves to close gap with New England [6:32 PM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Buffalo looks at the now-healthy Willis McGahee as a 2004 addition and, in truth he is. He is part of the reason Buffalo wants to become a northern version of the Carolina Panthers on offense. The plan now is for McGahee and Travis Henry to split the running-back duties, for the rest of the offense to change its pass-first mindset, and for Bledsoe to become the picture of efficiency not explosiveness.'

Marker Mularkey comes out ahead because Bills players willing to lead [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"You could see by body language, the way they play the game, the way they carry themselves, the way they approach their teammates, you have a pretty good feel who those leaders are already," Mularkey said. "I'm finding other things out being out here that there are some guys who lead by example. And there are some guys on offense that are standing up a lot better than I thought they would."'

Marker Bills' depth at QB a worst-case scenario [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The best-case scenario is this: The offensive line protects Drew Bledsoe much, much better under new line coach Jim McNally, the draft brings a speed receiver to take the multiple pass coverage off Eric Moulds, Bledsoe uses running back Willis McGahee as a frequent receiver, Josh Reed returns to the slot, where he is more effective, and the running game is so good it creates greater opportunities for the pass. Bledsoe plays as brilliantly as he did in his first half season as a Bill.'

Marker It's unlikely Bills will be able to draft top QB [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It's hard to imagine the Bills giving up future picks to move up from No. 13. So what needs to happen for the Bills to get Roethlisberger? 1. San Diego trades down and then, stunningly, passes up a quarterback. 2. Oakland and Arizona pass on QBs. 3. No other team (such as San Francisco at No. 16) works a trade into the top 10 to take a QB. (Washington needs extra picks and is a trade-down candidate at No. 5.)'

Marker All-Pro running back's faith walk had to be made along mean streets [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'New York Jets All-Pro running back Curtis Martin shared his faith with about 800 people who attended the third annual Athletes in Action awards breakfast Saturday in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. He was surrounded by an all-star cast of athletes that included former Buffalo Bills quarterback Frank Reich, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and television sports analyst Boomer Esiason, and former Bills wide receiver Andre Reed.'

March 27, 2004

Marker Bengals sign former Eagles offensive guard [2:20 PM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'As of Thursday, Buffalo appeared to be the leader in the race for Williams but, as the Bengals found out last week when Warren Sapp ended up signing with Oakland after a deal with Cincinnati was all but signed, nothing is final until the signature is on a contract and filed with the league.'

Marker Miller, Huckno to be honored [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Van Miller, recently retired voice of the Buffalo Bills, and Wally Huckno, retired Jamestown football coach, are being honored Monday at the 2004 Romulus Club Annual Sports Night in memory of Ilio DiPaolo.'

March 26, 2004

Marker Offensive Changes and Defensive Additions [7:05 PM] reports: '"Mularkey's style of play is a physical play," running back Travis Henry said. "That is what he is installing in our heads. It looks like we are going to be a physical, run first, ball control offense."'

Marker Veteran Camp Comes to a Close [7:04 PM] reports: '"We installed enough where we felt like we weren't going to overload their brain capacity," Mularkey said. "We didn't want a lot of thinking going on. We wanted these guys playing."'

Marker Mularkey Likes What He Sees [7:03 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Willis McGahee did not appear to be limited in any way over the course of the 3 day camp, and Mike Mularkey agreed. He did make sure to point out that he'd prefer to speak with the trainers before speculating about the running back's status/progress.'

Marker Drew maps new course [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But Bledsoe has a huge supporter in Mularkey, who felt it was important to tell Bledsoe in their first meeting that he's entrenched as the starter. "I think he needs to know that coming in here because that's the way it is," Mularkey said. "You've got to have a guy who wants to approach it that way and not have any doubts. "Am I or am I not?' There is no doubt."'

Marker The McNally effect: positive [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It would be a great pleasure because (McNally) is truly like a master of the game, and he can just take my level of what I know and my ability to another level," Williams said Thursday during the Bills' veteran minicamp. "It's all about just getting better, and with him definitely."'

Marker OG Williams eager to line up for Bills [5:17 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”It looks pretty good,” Williams said of the team and the facilities. “We’ll see how it plays out, but I’m glad to be in Buffalo.”'

Marker Bledsoe and Bills reach the crossroads [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '”I still have confidence in him and so does the rest of the team,” said wide receiver Eric Moulds, who was nagged by a season-ruining groin injury that resulted in him catching just one touchdown pass in 2003, nine fewer than the year before. ”Our problems last year went well beyond Drew. It would be wrong to put the bulk of the blame on him. We have to protect better, we have to run better routes, and we have to go with a system that’s more in tune with his skills and our skills.”'

Marker Loyalty lands Titans Volek [5:15 AM]
Nashville City Paper reports: 'As for the Bills, Volek said they offered to throw him into a competition with incumbent Drew Bledsoe. “They wanted me to come in there and compete with him right away,” Volek said. “That was probably the biggest selling point Buffalo had to offer us.”'

Marker Bills Begin Mini-Camp [5:14 AM] reports: 'The mini-camp marks the first time Mularkey and his staff have met face-to-face with the entire Bills roster.'

March 25, 2004

Marker Former Buffalo Bills quarterback is back in town [7:55 PM]
Tonawanda News reports: 'Reich has been touring churches across the country, sharing his faith and testimony, since retiring from the Buffalo Bills in 1998. His athletic fame, he said, has given him a unique platform to share the gospel. He's been outspoken about his faith, even during the height of his career.'

Marker Battle Underway At Left Guard [7:16 PM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Williams is a candidate to fill a roster spot with Buffalo, and spoke very highly of McNally's ability to get the best out of his offensive lineman. While nothing seemed imminent, Williams speculated that he'd be happy to cancel his flight home if something can get worked out between the team and his agent.'

Marker Bledsoe ready to bounce back from last season's struggles [6:51 PM]
AP reports: '''Is this a crossroads season for me?'' Bledsoe said. ''Listen, in this league, every season you play is a crossroads season. No matter who you are, what you've done, what you've accomplished, if you don't get it done, you can find yourself looking for work.'''

Marker Bledsoe is Clear Starter [6:48 PM] reports: '"I think Mike (Mularkey) has made it clear that Drew is our starter and that we are committed to Drew," President and General Manager Tom Donahoe said. "Right now we are looking for a solid number two guy with a few years of experience."'

Marker Volek says he chose family, comfort over chance with Bills [6:28 PM]
AP reports: 'The Titans signed Volek to a five-year deal Thursday after he visited twice with the Falcons and even looked at houses in Atlanta, where he received an offer. Buffalo also made an offer to let him compete with Drew Bledsoe immediately. ''But my heart was here,'' Volek said at a news conference with his wife and three small children. ''It was really hard to walk away from this place. This place has been awesome to me.'''

Marker They never promised us a rose garden, but... [3:54 PM]
Azle News reports: 'Song No. 4 is “Too Hip for the Room” with Jamie Warren (another country singer whose career was apparently destroyed by this collaboration) and Buffalo Bills Chris Mohr and Steve Tasker. They can’t sing worth a hoot.'

Marker Taylor latest to leave the nest [3:36 PM]
Trenton Times reports: 'The Eagles are looking to move wide receiver James Thrash before they release him and may have an interested partner in the Buffalo Bills. According to league sources, the Bills might be willing to part with a conditional 2005 draft pick in exchange for Thrash, who has started every game but one (the meaningless 2001 season finale at Tampa Bay) in his three years with the Eagles.'

Marker Kordell Stewart Willing To Take a Backup Role [3:21 PM] reports: '"It went well. I got in Tuesday. I came in and met with coach (Mike) Mularkey and Sam (Wyche), the quarterbacks coach. I had a reunion type situation with coach Mularkey. I've been with him forever. Knowing that he's the head guy around here. it made the visit a little bit more laid back and settled because I knew what I was anticipating and getting myself into."'

Marker Bills Begin First Camp Under Mularkey [9:38 AM] reports: '"I had a lot of things going on in my mind," Mularkey said referring to the night prior to camp opening. "To me, first impressions are pretty important, and I really wanted to make sure they knew where I was coming from and be upfront. I wanted to let them know what the expectations were and the roles that these guys were going to play. I was thinking to make sure I said the right things, and I feel like I did."'

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