Levy As GM? In this whirlwind day there has been much speculation as to what role Marv Levy will fill in this organization. The latest word has him filling the one open position on the team, General Manager. Reports say he arrived in Buffalo today and told WKBW that things are brewing but he couldn't comment at this time. Don't be surprised if the team has another press conference tomorrow.
Staff Changes Possible Tomorrow: Coach Mularkey said no coaches have been fired at this time but he is still in the process of talking to all of them. He talked to the coordinators and is going on down the line. He won't comment on any staff changes until he has a chance to speak to everyone and that won't be until midday tomorrow. As we reported earlier, reports say that Tom Clements has been already fired. He said the firing of Tom Donahoe will not change their relationship, he has the utmost respect for him as a man and what he has done for this organization. Mularkey feels the team has a lot more talent and a better cap situation than before Donahoe got here. If Marv Levy comes on board he will have no problem working with him since he has great respect for him and said it would be nothing but a positive.
Modrak Responsibilities Expand To Pros: Tom Modrak took to the podium after Mularkey in the 2nd of today's two press conferences. He said his job is basically the same in the talent area as assistant GM. He will have more of a hand in other areas of the day to day operation and more involved in the pro area than he was. Modrak said he's very happy with the decision Ralph Wilson made. He enjoys being on the road scouting talent and he wouldn't be able to do that as the GM. He wouldn't comment on if he turned down the GM job or wasn't offered it. He didn't want to leave with his good friend Tom Donahoe because he felt it would be counter productive. He feels they are in the process of building a winner.
Mularkey Stays As Head Coach: Ralph Wilson addressed the media for a second time late this afternoon. He said that Mike Mularkey will be staying on as head coach of the Bills and said it is with great pleasure the he stays here and he hopes he will be here a long time. He said it is not a make or break year for Mularkey and the new GM will not be looking over Mularkey's shoulder like a coach. It seems like he thought Donahoe was meddling with Mularkey's coaching. At his earlier press conference he said they still had some talking to do and that his status was up in the air.
Clements Out? In a move that would surprise no one. Len Pasquarelli is reporting for ESPN.com that the Bills have fired offensive coordinator Tom Clements. The handwriting was on the wall for this move back in week 5 when Coach Mularkey took the play calling duties away from Clements. The Bills have not confirmed the firing.
Levy Involved: AP is reporting that Marv Levy is back as a consultant and will be involved in hiring the new general manager. Chris Mortensen is reporting for ESPN that Levy will oversee the football operations. Ralph Wilson would not make any announcements on hirings but did evade questions about Levy during his press conference calling him a friend. As we reported earlier, Wilson did say the organization will be split in two with a football side and an administrative side. It would seem that he would definitely trust Levy to run the football side under him as the President of the organization.
Donahoe Officially Gone; No Replacement Named: Ralph Wilson officially announced today during a 20 minute press conference that Tom Donahoe has been fired as the President and GM of the team. His replacement will be announced at a different press conference in the next day or two and a decision has not been made. He called the firing difficult since Tom is a very good friend. He never saw anyone work as hard as Donahoe and feels he did an excellent job of handling the salary cap mess he inherited five years ago and praised his community work. He fired him because he just doesn't feel they have made enough progress in the past five years. Wilson takes full responsibility for anything that happens in the organization. He thinks a fresh start with the restructuring of the operation is the reason why this move is being made. There will be a football side and an administrative side instead of one person doing both like Donahoe did. He apologized to the fans of the Bills for not giving them a very good product the past five years. Wilson said Donahoe came to him about 10 days ago and felt a change at the top may be the best thing. As far as the administrative side, he would not comment on the possibility of Russ Brandon being promoted, saying they are concentrating on the football side at this time. Wilson did say he will take back the President title, the new GM will not be the President. He said he will be much more active then he has in the last five years.
Mularkey Status Still Up In The Air: Ralph Wilson said he talked to Mike Mularkey yesterday and he will continue to talk to him to resolve his status possibly even later this afternoon when he gets done talking to his assistant coaches. A decision will be made very soon on that end. He is possibly waiting for a GM to come on board before making a final decision on Mularkey although a timetable or order hasn't been set. Wilson said they are few things they want to talk over with each other before deciding if Mularkey will stay. He did compliment the job Mularkey did given the circumstances he had this year going with a young quarterback. He said as far as releasing members of his coaching staff, that is Mularkey's call not the owner's call.
Modrak Not A Candidate For GM Post: The owner said Tom Modrak will remain as the assistant GM and will be in charge of scouting. He did say he will have a bigger role in the restructured administration and will be spending more time in Buffalo then he has in the past. One thing that may have stopped Modrak from getting the GM's job is his desire to stay based in Jacksonville, Florida and not relocate permanently to Western New York.
Wilson Infuriated Over Sign Flap: One of the things Ralph Wilson apologized to the fans for was the flap over protest signs being confiscated at the home finale against Denver. He said he was infuriated that the signs were confiscated and investigated the situation. He cleared up that this is not the policy of the team and said only offensive signs should be confiscated not critical signs.
Press Conference Pushed Back: The Bills will make you wait a little longer to find out the future of the organization. Today's press conference, originally stated for 1pm has now been pushed back to 2:30pm. We will have complete coverage throughout the afternoon.
Source Says Mularkey Safe: WGR radio is reporting that Coach Mularkey came back to Buffalo last night and said he was staying as head coach but Tom Donahoe will not be retained as expected. Another report says Ralph Wilson will tell everyone today what is going on at a 1pm press conference. Bills Daily will have complete coverage throughout the day.
Gray A Candidate In Houston: The coaching carousel is moving at full speed around the NFL. Despite a very poor season from the Bills' defense, Jerry Gray is a candidate for the head coaching job in Houston. Reports say he will interview on Saturday. Gray has always been interested in returning to Texas where he played college ball and for the old Houston Oilers for a season. Gary Kubiak is also on the short list in Houston.
Tuesday January 3, 2006
Donahoe Out Tomorrow: The Bills are expected to make it official tomorrow, Tom Donahoe is out as President and General Manager. WGRZ-TV is reporting that he will be replaced as General Manager by assistant GM Tom Modrak who is very close to Owner Ralph Wilson. Bills VP of Marketing and Development Russ Brandon is expected to handle the business related aspects of the job, meaning Donahoe's responsibilities are split among two people, maybe three. Rumors continue to swirl that Marv Levy may be re-joining the team in some sort of managerial position. He is extremely close with Wilson and may be his eyes and ears at One Bills Drive if he does come back.
Mularkey Expected To Survive: Coach Mularkey, Russ Brandon, and Tom Modarak were meeting with Ralph Wilson in Detroit today while Tom Donahoe was back in his Orchard Park office as his fate has been already sealed. Mularkey is expected to survive the structure changes in the organization if he's willing to fire some of his assistants. Strength Coach Brad Rolle is expected to be one of the coaches on the hot seat. You'll remember that Wade Phillips refused to fire assistants and he was let go along with his whole staff. ESPN is reporting that the meeting may not be going well and they may be squabbling over which coaches will be fired.
Player Of Week Recap: Terrence McGee and Rian Lindell led the way with three Bills Daily Player of the week honors this season. Willis McGahee won the award twice. Over the next few days we will also tally up our gameballs and goats for the season and list it so you can see who had a good year and who had a bad year. Also look for our final season position by position grades on our gameday homepage later this week. Player Of Week Winners
Rankings Plunge: The Bills finihsed the season ranked 28th offensively and 29th defensively. This is the first time they have ever finished below 25th on both sides of the ball. How far they have fallen. Last year they were 25th offensively but they were 2nd defensively for a drop of 27 spots. Last year they were 26th in passing and 13th running the football. This year they were 29th through the air and 20th on the ground. They finished with the 2nd lowest rushing yardage total in team history for a 16 game season. On defense they dropped 16 spots passing to 19th and a whopping 24 spots in run defense to 31st place. Gameday Homepage
Bills Blew 3rd Pick: The loss to the Jets gave the Bills a higher than expected 8th pick in the draft but if they had also lost to the Bengals they would have had the third overall pick in the draft. That would have been interesting with one of the top two QBs in the draft available. At number eight the Bills should be able to get a stud offensive or defensive tackle though.
Meeting Today: Sirius NFL Radio is reporting that Ralph Wilson will meet with Tom Donahoe and Mike Mularkey to talk about the future of the team. This is a normal occurence after the season but this wasn't a normal year. The Buffalo News reported yesterday that sources have told them that Tom Donahoe will indeed be fired. The status of Mike Mularkey is still up in the air.
Monday January 2, 2006
Bills To Pick 8th: One good thing came out of the loss to the Jets, the Bills get a higher draft pick. The league announced the draft order for the non-playoff teams, and the Bills will have the 8th overall selection in the draft. Going into the final game the Bills sat in the 12th spot, a win might have moved them even further down.
Williams Wants To Come Back: Mike Williams says he wants to come back to Buffalo, he enjoys playing here and if they want him to play guard he'll play guard. As far as his contract goes, he knows they will want to re-negotiate it regardless if he plays tackle or guard. The injuries he's suffered this year made it a particularly frustrating season but it is a learning season that he will have to overcome.
A Long Season: Lawyer Milloy called it a very long season because of the how the season played out. The loss yesterday was a microcosm of the season where their one consistent unit gave up a big play. He wasn't 100 percent healthy all year and he just needs to get away from the game and get healthy. He wants all the players to be quiet and let the chips fall where they may. As far as his future goes, whatever happens happens. Having a lot of different faces on defense had something to do with the fall of the defense from near the top of the league, to near the bottom of it. He hinted that the gameplan was simplified down the stretch and the defense played better. He called it the most disappointing season of his career.
Adams Said Changes Coming: Sam Adams said there will be lots of changes and it is expected when you are 5-11. He said the team busted, they didn't stop the run and they need to get on the same page next year. He backed up the coaching staff again, saying they don't play, they make the gameplan the players have to execute it. He said he loves Buffalo and said he even likes some of the media. It is a great football town and they expect them to win. He wants to remain a Bill. It's all about getting a ring and it doesn't matter if he plays or not as long as they win.
Holcomb Feels Inconsistency Killed Them: Kelly Holcomb spoke to the media as they players were cleaning out their lockers. He said they didn't want to end the season like they did last year. He feels comfortable with the offense and it is the players job to execute the gameplan. Some game they did that but they weren't consistent week in and week out and that is why they lost so many games. He would not be brought into an early quarterback controversy but did say he was happy with the way he played with the exception of yesterday's game. He was proud of the fact that they had a chance to win every game he started and he does feel he earned the respect of his teammates. It was a good feeling knowing guys were in his corner despite a poor performance yesterday. He felt J.P. Losman's development was as expected. First year starters always struggle and it will be how he handles the adversity. He thinks they have the pieces in place to compete next year. He feels it is a more talented team than the one he came from. They need to get away from the game and relax and then look at what went right and what didn't. He had no complaints of the offensive line play, he thought they did a remarkable job, especially the past few weeks.
Losman Wanted To Play: The Bills cleared out their lockers today not knowing what the future holds. J.P. Losman said he couldn't explain the frustration he has from this season but he realizes he has a long career ahead of him and he will learn from it. He said he was trying to convince the coaching staff that he was healthy enough to play the final two games but there were concerns from the coaches and the trainers. He said he will look at himself first to see what he did right and wrong. It didn't go as well as he wanted it to go but they will find out how he comes back from this year. Competition breeds better players and he feels it would be good if he had to compete for his starting job next year. He feels he will get better naturally, the question is how much better he will get. He thinks fans will want to see how hard he works. He plans on spending a lot of the off season here but will take a month and a half off. He didn't do that last year and he thinks that was a mistake.
Bounces Don't Go Bills' Way: Kelly Holcomb said there were a lot of strange bounces, most of them went against the Bills. The loss was a brief synopsis of what the year has been. Just when they get their head above water for some reason they get knocked back down. You have to hand it to the Jets for playing good and coming out with the win. The kickoff return for a touchdown was deflating and his poor play was troublesome but it is football and that is just the way it goes sometimes.
Mularkey Can't Explain Loss: Coach Mularkey said it was a disappointing loss, they did some things early that they couldn't overcome. The defining moment of course was the kickoff return for a touchdown, something they haven't done all year. The coach shook his head and said he can't explain it. The ball did not bounce in their direction most of the season and the timing of the return was unfortunate. He did go on to say that wasn't the only play that cost them but it was unexpected to lose a game because of a special teams play. His team battles and they battled to the end. They had big expectations like they do every year, there is nothing to be happy out at this time. They tried to mix it up with the no huddle and they decided to change things up by using an empty backfield for much of the game. The coach would not elaborate on what changes the team needs at this time. He will talk to all the players today to find out their state of mind and start looking at what they need to do to improve.
No New Injuries: The Bills seemed to escape their final game without any major injuries and head into the off season without too many long term concerns. We will follow the progress of all the injured Bills all offseason. Injury Page
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