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Bills Hold First Minicamp

Drew Bledsoe- AP Photo Mularkey Says Camp Very Productive: Coach Mularkey said the team got a lot accomplished in the camp that concluded this morning. He called it very productive as they introduced schemes and installed more of the playbook each day of the camp. They will start all over again in the rookie camp after the draft. He said it was the right amount of work for the first camp and said some positions are tougher than others to evaluate. All players will be graded by the coaching staff on their performance in the camp. One position in general, left guard is wide open. Mularkey said he now has a better feel of the talent at the position but it is too early to make a decison on a starter. He expects it to carry over to the rookie camp. As a first year coach, Mularkey needs to get a feel of the talent before deciding on starters, saying that nothing is set in stone at this time. Willis McGahee has been impressive according to the coach. He saw no hesitation with his knee and looked very fluent throughout the camp. He feels he gained confidence in his knee over the camp.

Bills Lose Out On Williams: A day after it appeared the Bills would get free agent guard Bobbie Williams he signed with Cincinnati. Williams visited the Bills yesterday and seemed like he really wanted to come to Buffalo and play for OL coach Jim NcNally. The team let him leave town and then after conferring with his family, he decided to take the Bengals three year offer, presumbly for more money.

Henry, McGahee Coexist: The first 7 on 7 drill in minicamp had Travis Henry and Willis McGahee on the field together. Coach Mularkey said in that package neither will be asked to block like a fullback but the threat of either of them running or catching a pass will give defenses fits. The two backs joked around about which one would block for the other during the workout.

Bills Deny Thrash Rumor: Tom Donahoe told WNSA yesterday that the Bills are not trying to trade for James Thrash. As we reported yesterday, a New Jersey newspaper reported that the Bills are looking to give a conditional pick in next year's draft to Philadelphia for the wide receiver.

Right Guard Battle Begins: One of the most hotly contested position battles on the depth chart this year is expected to be for the starting left guard spot vacated by Ruben Brown. It is getting off to a very early start with Ross Tucker getting snaps with the first unit during yesterday's minicamp and Marques Sullivan getting reps as the starter on Wednesday. OL Coach Jim McNally said he is looking for the best combination of players on the line. It could get more complicated if the team signs free agent Bobbie Williams who was in town yesterday to meet with the coaches and tour the facility. He seems very responsive to possibly joining the team as we reported yesterday.

Villarrial, Sobieski Out: In day two of minicamp Troy Vincent and Chris Kelsay were once again excused absences. They were joined by Chris Villarrial who missed the session with permission from the team. Ben Sobieski was the only player held out as he had a sore back. The minicamp concludes with a morning session today.

Thursday March 25, 2004

McNally Could Woo Williams: Bobbie Williams talked to the media during his visit today and said the facilities look pretty good. He says it is a plus that Tom Modrak is here because he drafted him. He said he's glad to be in Buffalo today and will have to see if it works out. He said it would be a great pleasure to work under offensive line coach Jim McNally, he said he can take his game to another level. He feels he would be able to start somewhere at guard. He knows the game is based on competition and he wants to win. He has visited Cincinnati and Miami but likes Buffalo as a better option because of the presence of McNally who can help him grow. He is done making visits at this point. He feels the team is one step away from winning and he hopes to be a part of it.

Williams Visits Today: Free agent guard Bobbie Williams is due in town for a free agent visit today. He was originally scheduled to visit yesterday. The Cincinnati Bengals are the frontrunners for his services as we reported yesterday. He would add depth to the guard corps and challenge for a starting job on the left side if he came to Buffalo.

Thrash To Bills? The Trenton Times is reporting that the Bills are interested in acquiring Eagles WR James Thrash and are willing to give up a conditional pick in next year's draft for his services. The Eagles are in position to deal a receiver after signing Terrell Owens. Thrash would give the Bills the veteran deep threat they need.

Vincent, Kelsy Miss Camp: The Bills first off season minicamp kicked off yesterday with Mike Mularkey bringing his low key coaching style to the team. It was a mandatory camp but two players were missing. Troy Vincent and Chris Kelsay were excused from the camp for personal reasons. The camp continues with two practice sessions today and concludes with one session tomorrow.

Wednesday March 24, 2004

Cousin To New York: A day after visiting with the Bills, free agent CB Terry Cousin signed a contract with the New York Giants. Cousin expressed genuine interest in joining the Bills but will have a better chance to start in New York. He would be at best a third corner for the Bills.

Stewart Could Be Bills "Sixth Man": Former Bears QB Kordell Stewart was a visitor at One Bills Drive today. He arrived yesterday and met with Sam Wyche and Mike Mularkey. He called the meeting with the new head coach a reunion from their days in Pittsburgh. He thinks the familiarity helps in his decision making process but he wants to go into a situation where he could help out and perform and feels this is a no brainer situation. He would come in knowing the system and feels he could help out the learning curve of other players. He knows his job would be to help out Drew Bledsoe since he is the guy. He admitted that he needs to take a step back since he knows he would come in as a backup which isn't the easiest thing for a competitor like him. He believes the backup job is very important like the sixth man in basketball. Despite the fact that Stewart and Bledsoe are different types of quarterbacks they both could succeed and excel in Mularkey's offense. He said he will be patient when it comes to making a decision on his future but this situation is better than most because of his familiarity with the coaches.

McKenzie Re-Signs: The Bills came to terms with their last unrestricted free agent today. Keith McKenzie has signed with the team and was on the field this morning during the first workout of the three day minicamp.

Mini Camp Opens Today: The Bills being their off season program with a three day veteran mini camp starting today. The Players have been at One Bills Drive since Monday going over conditioning with Rusty Jones who says he's pleased with the shape of all the players at this point in the off season.

Volek Offered Chance To Start In 2005: The agent for Billy Volek said the Bills offer was structured in a way that was very comparable to the offer Volek accepted from the Titans. The deciding factor on staying in Tennessee was the desire to keep his family in the same place they have been the past four years. Ken Staninger said the Bills told him that they are committed to Drew Bledsoe as the starter for the coming season but made it clear that they don't know what the cards hold for 2005 and that Volek would have a chance to be the starter next year if he had joined the team.

Tuesday March 23, 2004

Johnson Looking To Fit In: Doug Johnson spoke to the media after his visit today and said it was a good visit and feels Buffalo has a good atmosphere like a college town. He said weather would not be a factor in playing in the cold of Buffalo if he was to sign. He feels he is an up and coming quarterback that is coming into his prime and he is looking to go to a place where he will fit in and he hopes Buffalo could be that place. He feels there is an opportunity in Buffalo since you can't tell how long Drew Bledsoe would play. He said he doesn't worry about getting his chance as a number two, it will come at some point. He did get a chance to meet Bledsoe. He is heading to Chicago for his next visit.

Kozlowski Wants Come Home: TE Brian Kozlowski said he likes what he hears so far in Buffalo and has enjoyed his visit. He called the facility phenomenal and called it among the best in the league. He hopes to play three or four more years and being from Rochester he would love for it to work out in Buffalo so he can play in front of his friends and families. He sees himself fitting in as the #2 TE and as a special teams player. He feels he can move around on offense playing on the line and at fullback. He thinks his blocking ability and his route running would help the team. He liked the fact that Mike Mularkey is a straight forward guy and he likes the smash mouth football philosophy he is bringing to Buffalo. He would like to narrow down his options to the Bills and returning to the Falcons.

Cousin Wants To Be A Bill: Terry Cousin said his visit went real well and he really liked the facilities. He is hoping to get a contract done so he can join the Bills. Cousin feels he can help the team because in this league you need four good corners. He feels this team is capable of taking the next step in heading towards a Super Bowl berth. He got a good feel of the atmosphere in Buffalo and he wants to be a part of it. He knows the team wants him and he wants to be here.He feels privileged to be asked to visit. He has other visits planned but hopes not to have to make them.

Guard To Visit Tomorrow: The official Bengals website and WNSA are reporting that free agent guard Bobbie Williams is scheduled to visit the Bills Tomorrow. The Bengals are pursuing the Eagle free agent and are the front runners to get him. His agent is waiting to hear back from Cincinnati but reportedly expects an offer from the Bills during their visit.

Three Free Agent Visits Today: The Bills are busy today entertaining three free agents. After losing out on Billy Volek they have brought Atlanta free agent QB Doug Johnson in for a look along with his former teammate, TE Brian Kozlowski. They join Carolina free agent CB Terry Cousin at One Bills Drive today. Johnson started eight games last year when Michael Vick was out for the Falcons. He completed 56% of his passes and threw eight touchdowns and was intercepted 12 times. He has 11 career starts in his four years in the league, all with Atlanta. Kozlowski is a 10 year veteran who caught 10 passes last year for the Falcons and has 78 receptions in his career. He spent his first three years with the Giants and his last seven have been with Atlanta. He is primarily a blocking tight end. Cousin is a seven year veteran who had 49 tackles and two sacks for the Panthers last year. He has started 29 games in the past two years for Carolina and has five career interceptions.

Volek Stays In Tennessee: ESPN reports that Billy Volek has decided to stay in Tennessee and has agreed to a four year deal with the Titans. It is worth $6.8 Million and contains an option year that could push the deal close to $12 Million. The deal is not official yet but Volek acknowledged that Tennessee is where he wanted to stay and he is happy with the deal. The Bills made a last ditch effort to sign Volek over the weekend but he decided to stay with the Titans. The Bills will likely go to the draft to fill their quarterback of the future needs.

Monday March 22, 2004

Preseason Schedule: The Bills announced today that they will play their first two preseason games at home and the next two on the road before starting the 2004 season. They will play Denver the week of Aug. 12th - 16th and Tennesse the week of Aug. 19th - 23rd. They will close out the preseason in Indianapolis Aug. 26th - 30th and then Detroit Sept. 2nd - 5th. Exact dates and times will be announced at a future date.

Volek Update: While the Bills made a second, and according to his agent, a more competitive offer on Friday afternoon, it appears the Titans are still the frontrunners to hold onto Billy Volek. Both sides feel they are closer to a deal than they have been, and an offer is out there. The Titans hold up may be a tight cap situation and need to construct a creative deal to fit under the cap. The two sides are expected to talk again today. The Bills first offer for Volek last week was too low for consideration but they got back involved late Friday according to Volek's agent with a solid offer.

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