Williams has a lot to prove, a year to do it [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Chances are, a game or two will come down to coaching. A crucial coaching decision could well be the difference between 10-6 and 9-7. It could determine whether the Bills make the playoffs or fall just short. It could make Williams the man of the hour, or cost him his job.'
Making schemes come true [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The zone blitz is going to be a key piece of the Bills' new defensive puzzle this season.'
AFC East Division [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Prediction: 10-6.'
Williams rarely places Bills in risky '46' defense [8:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It devastated regular, two-back, two-wideout sets when Buddy Ryan brought it to Chicago in the mid-1980s. The problem is it's vulnerable to multiple receiver sets. When the "46" gets burned, it's a 60-yard gain. When the zone blitz gets burned, it's a 15-yard gain.'
NFL allows foundation to host final Jumbogate [8:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This year's event will open the Bills Fieldhouse and the luxury suites to show the Bills-Cowboys road game on large-screen TVs. Tickets are $15 apiece for the fieldhouse and $30 for the luxury boxes, with refreshments, parking and the NFL Experience included.'
Bills retaining skilled Lawyer [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Bills won out, thanks to a fistful of money and some good old-fashioned recruiting. Donahoe enlisted the services of quarterback Drew Bledsoe and fullback Sam Gash, Milloy’s former teammates in New England, to phone their friend and make it clear just how much the Bills coveted him.'
Brown tops list of Bills' return specialists [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams on Wednesday said he plans to mix in Bobby Shaw, who ranked fourth in the AFC in punt returns for Jacksonville last season, along with Clarence Coleman on punts against New England on Sunday. “We’ll mix it up a little bit, try and give them a change (to look at),” Williams said. “ Each guy brings a different style of return, so we’ll mix it up.”'
Bills get a good Lawyer [5:14 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Not having Lawyer out there (against the Bills) makes me feel a little better," said Bledsoe. "Certainly I would love to sit down and pick his brain just to see how much game-plan stuff they have done."'
Bills' Brown already fired up [5:13 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"We need this game to get our butts into the playoffs," said the seven-time Pro Bowl guard, completely mindful of the fact that the upcoming game is the first of a 16-game schedule.'
Rival revival [5:12 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '"The Buffalo Bills made me feel good again," said Milloy. "They stepped right up to the plate. They made their best offer, and it showed me how much they wanted me. All of the teams in it -- Washington, New Orleans, they all gave a great shot. I was getting calls from general managers and owners and they were making me feel so wanted. I can't tell you how much I needed that after the last few days in New England."'
Pats on mission [5:11 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Indeed, the AFC East competition also bulked up, with Buffalo adding linebacker Takeo Spikes and the Dolphins landing future Hall of Famer Junior Seau. And despite some personnel losses and an injury to quarterback Chad Pennington, the Jets return as division champions. It all adds up to the consensus best division in football.'
Ex-Pats know the drill [5:10 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I have very harsh feelings toward the Patriots and I make no secret about it,'' the Bills fullback said, comparing the sudden nature of his Foxboro exit six years ago with Milloy's release. ``I've a lot of respect for the Patriot players, but not for that organization. I don't give a damn about it at all.'''
Safety in numbers [5:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Antwan Harris and Chris Akins have spent their entire careers as special team performers and part-time defensive players. Of the two, only Harris has started an NFL game, and that happened just once. Another player who may work into the rotation next to starting safety Rodney Harrison is Aric Morris, who actually started 10 games at safety for Tennessee in 2001 after Pro Bowler Blaine Bishop got injured.'
Lawyer's expertise not a problem [5:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Seldom, however, does a coach face an opponent with a player who was with him last week. Would Belichick change the Pats' signals and code words if Milloy was able to get ready enough to play? ``You'd take that into consideration,'' Belichick allowed, ``considering how the circumstances are.'''
Head's up in Buffalo [5:07 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I was conscious of the emotional aspect and I really felt like I did a pretty good job of coming into the games in the right frame of mind,'' Bledsoe said yesterday. ``The thing that happened to us in both games is that we were down by like 17 or 20 points and it put us in some difficult situations. I think that's what caused us problems and what caused me problems.'''
Rival to pay Milloy's Bills [5:06 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Here we go again. Either Buffalo general manager Tom Donahoe is a better judge of talent than Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, or he just overpaid (again) for a player who didn't fit into the Patriots' plans.'
Bills buck up to get Milloy [5:05 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"We'll have to find that out as it comes," said Johnson. "Could it be (a distraction)? It could be. But it's up to us to not let it. Honestly, I think we have some very mentally strong football players on this team. Gritty guys. Lawyer was one, but he wasn't the only one. I think we have power within us to block it out. When it's time to go to work, we go to work. We may deliberate in the locker room or on our own about these things, but when it's time to go to work, it doesn't have a huge impact."' (registration required)
It's Bledsoe? Pats have been there, done that [5:04 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"This is definitely a big game for me and it is a big game for our team," Bledsoe readily admitted yesterday. "I would never tell you that is not the case. It is a division game. It is the first game of the year. You just look at those two things and it is a big game. We weren't able to beat the Patriots last year. This is definitely a game that we are pointing at, that we need to try to do everything we can to win. That being said, if we go win this game, it doesn't put us in the playoffs. It doesn't put us anywhere, but it would be a good start to the season."' (registration required)
It'll be hard to erase the memories [5:03 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"They are a well-coached team and I am sure that whatever they think our weaknesses are, they won't hesitate to go after them," Belichick said. "That is certainly what we would expect. Wherever they think they are, I am sure they will try to hit us. Talking defensively in general though, as we said at the end of the season, if you are trying to get younger on defense, then you are obviously going to be less experienced there. There is no way to meld those two together. To be younger is to be younger. To be more experience is to be older. You kind of have to make a choice there."' (registration required)
Milloy Joins Bledsoe [5:02 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: '"The way the Patriots tried to back me into a corner. It didn't show a lot on their part," Milloy said in an interview with Houston's KRIV-TV. "New England tried to squeeze me with a last-minute deal, so we took a risk and went on the market."' (registration required)
Bledsoe could go pass happy against Pats in opener [5:01 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: '"We’re going to mix it up," Bledsoe said. "We’d like to be balanced. I’m not going to hand off on every play, but in general, we’d love to be more consistent with our power running." Yeah, right.'
Friends meet in opener [5:01 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: 'Centers, who admits he has been looking forward to playing Buffalo since signing with New England, is concentrating on keeping his emotions in check. His role diminished last season as Bledsoe's Bills begin throwing the ball more down the field. "I have to play within the scheme and not allow my emotions to become a factor, a negative factor," he said. "If anything, if I can utilize it in a positive way to help that would be good, but I have to just go out and be a professional."'
Redskins lose bid for Milloy [5:00 AM]
Washington Times reports: 'The Redskins' best offer was a little more than $20 million over five years, sources said, but the early part of the contract wasn't as lucrative. Washington was set to pay a $3.5 million signing bonus and about $5 million total over the first two seasons.'
Bills Are The High Bidders For Milloy [4:59 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'Terms weren't disclosed, but the Redskins' offer apparently was worth about half that of the Bills.'
N.O. gave pair of free agents its best shot [4:58 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"We were in the mix. It was our understanding that Lawyer's agent would give us a chance to counter, but we never got a callback from him."'
Not signing Milloy a mistake [4:58 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'It didn't matter that Milloy is just what the Vikings' defense needs. All that mattered was money and Vikings owner Red McCombs' reluctance to part with any more of it.'
10 who revolutionized special teams [4:57 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'According to his peers, Levy was the first coach to draft players solely for punt and kick coverage teams.'
Will Milloy line up against Patriots on Sunday? [4:56 AM]
ESPN reports: 'The four-year contract is worth $15 million, nearly two-thirds of that in the first two seasons of the deal. Milloy will receive a $5 million signing bonus and base salaries of $2 million for 2003 and $2.75 million for 2004. The Washington Redskins, who finished as the runner-up team in the Milloy sweepstakes, offered about $6 million in the first two years of their proposal.'
Bills, Milloy agree to four-year, $15 million deal [4:55 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Though the Bills disclosed no contract figures, their deal with Milloy is believed to be for four years at $15 million, including a $4.75 million signing bonus and a $2 million base salary this season. The contract averages $3.75 million per season.'
Milloy agrees to sign with Bills [4:54 AM]
AP reports: '''Buffalo was the team that set the market, set the tone,'' he said. ''Drew Bledsoe called me. Sam Gash called me. They got everybody on the phone that they needed to early in the process.'''
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