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Bills Hire Pro Personnel Director

It was a week filled with rumors and speculation as the Bills hired a new director of pro player personnel on Wednesday. We take a closer look at all the news and try to sort through the rumors as we give you our take on the issues:

The Bills hired John Guy as their new director of pro personnel. He replaced A.J. Smith who left the team to join John Butler in Chicago. Guy has 26 years experience, most recently he spent three seasons as a scout for the Cleveland Browns and was a defensive ends coach for the Raiders before that. Tom Donahoe knows Guy from his Steeler days when he was the special teams coordinator in 1992. Our Take: Another Donahoe crony, but we have to give the team President the benefit of the doubt on his hire. Guy doesn't have much front office experience, which makes us nervous, but he has a wealth of football experience.

In other front office news the Bills are still courting Tom Modrak for an unnamed position with the club. It would probably involve college scouting since the Bills have given Dwight Adams more pro scouting duties and relived him of some college scouting. The Bills will have to wait to see if they get Modrak since he will wait out the outcome of the Bears GM opening. He is a finalist for that job and may be the frontrunner but there are at least five other candidates. Meanwhile, the Bills re-hired Jerry Butler as the director of player programs. Our Take: Modrak is worth waiting for but if he is offered the Bears job he will take it since it is a GM spot. His best title in Buffalo would be assistant GM. Donahoe said Adams was actually given more responsibility but we get the feeling it is the first step in phasing him out. His contract expires next February and he may follow scout Buddy Nix to San Diego to be with Butler. It was nice of the Bills to re-hire Jerry Butler, he did a fine job in a similar role with the club in the past.

There has been some player speculation around the web and in the newspapers that we have reported this past week. Antowain Smith is getting a good look in the open market with the Panthers, Patriots, Dolphins, Browns, and 49ers possibly interested in him. In current player rumors, Ken Irvin may be the next player cut as the Bills need to clear more cap room to sign the top draft choices. There is also speculation that Corey Moore may be in the doghouse since he has not been participating in the off season conditioning program on a regular basis. One internet report also states that Sammy Morris remains at the top of the depth chart at running back. Our Take: We would rather see Smith end up outside the AFC East so he can't come back to haunt the Bills too much. Irvin is a dependable corner who will be needed as Nate Clements goes through growing pains, unfortunately they may have no choice because they need more cap room and restructuring just puts them in a deeper hole. On Moore, he will have to shape up quickly in mini camp and training camp or else he will be riding the bench all year. Morris deserves the first shot at the starting RB job, but it will be a wide open competition starting with the June mini camp and ending with the final exhibition game.

In NFL news, the league approved realignment for the 2002 season and the Bills will stay in the AFC East with the Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots. The league also changed the way it will handle gameday inactives. Instead of declaring four inactives, 48 hours before a game and four more on gameday, teams will just have to tell the referee 1 hour and 15 minutes before the game who won't dress. This eliminates early inactives. Our Take: It is a perfect time to get rid of the Colts from the division since they may be a power for years to come. The inactive rule is stupid anyway, this is better but they should just get rid of it completely.

The Bills announced this past week that they have broken ground on their first retail store to be located between the fieldhouse and the ticket office. It should open in time for the Bills first preseason game on Aug. 12th. It is a $400,000 project and it will be 2,000 square feet big and it is expected to be open year round. Our Take: It will give the fans one more option to buy Bills merchandise when going to the game, we are glad they are not getting rid of the independent vendors though.

Tom Donahoe addressed the Western New York media on Monday and talked about many of the same issues we have brought up in this week in review. He admitted something still needed to be done regarding the salary cap for the Bills to sign the draft picks. He said the cutting of Smith happened because of a combination of reasons one being the cap and the other being his lack of desire to finish the off season conditioning program. Donahoe also said the club signed Craig Heimburger because of his versatility and toughness. Our Take: Smith sealed his own fate by leaving the program. The Bills should finish biting the cap crunch this year so they won't have as many problems next year, that means cutting more players instead of restructuring. Heimburger is signed for the minimum so he is worth a look at.

Phil Hansen answered e-mails this week on the club's official website. He said, he thinks all the changes the club has undergone is for the better. He feels the club needs the more disciplined approach that they are getting under the new regime. In order for the Bills to win, a lot of young players will need to step up and one of those players according to Hansen is Erik Flowers. One player that Hansen singled out as ready to excel is Jarett Procell. Our Take: Hansen is the second player to praise Procell, he may be worth watching in training camp. He is also the second player that has challenged Flowers to play better. This is put up or shut up time for last year's number one pick, and it seems some people are nervous about him being able to do the job.

Eric Moulds also answered e-mails this week on the Bills website. He talked about the new regime saying that this will be the best conditioned team since he's been in Buffalo. He said the staff has it all together and that the new offense will afford him the chance to make big plays. He said the team has a bright future ahead of it and they are building something special. He feels the team will reach the level of the early 90's when fully developed. Our Take: Moulds seems very optimistic about the new regime, he needs to develop into a team leader with his new contract and we expect him to do so.

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