TheRunDown: More Coaches, Nate is the Franchise, and Williams is not

The Rundown
A weekly feature from the Buffalo Bills Review where we’ll collect some of the headlines from One Bills Drive and offer our take on the latest Bills’ news.

Mike WilliamsOT Mike Williams Released
His official title has always been OT Mike Williams, but by the end of last season, and in the depth-chart published at (and linked here) last week, he was the third-string LG Mike Williams. Third string. And slated to receive $10.8 Million this year. That’s preposterous. Bills GM Marv Levy thought so as well. The Bills made room in their salary cap – and room on their bench – by releasing their 2002 first-round selection on Thursday.

Williams had definitely come under much public scrutiny after several years of unmet expectations. Being drafted higher than any other Bills player since Bruce Smith in the 1985 draft, there were perhaps unrealistic expectations on this former Texas Longhorn. He was a big man, with “great potential”, but now has joined the list of “big busts” like Tony Mandarich and others.

The move may have been purely financial, creating well over $5M of space in this year’s cap. Or, it could be a purging of the former regime. Williams was a big draft pick from the Donahoe era.

The team continues to state its desire to keep Eric Moulds, despite his similar cap figure. Moulds is the only player left from Marv Levy’s previous stint in Buffalo, as the team’s Hall of Fame head coach. There may be more loyalty there to someone like Moulds, as opposed to Williams.

The purging has begun. Soon the 2006 team roster will begin to take shape through future waivers, free agent signings (as well as losses) and the draft. Time to move on to bigger…

And better.

Further Reading.. (2/23) – Bills Release Mike Williams (2/23) – Bills Cut Mike Williams

Clements Is The Franchise
Nate Clements
He may be brash, over-confident, in-your-face and prone to giving up the big play, but the Bills think Nate Clements is a player to build their franchise around. At least, they think he deserved the Franchise Player tag. Marv Levy and the Bills designated CB Nate Clements as their franchise player this week, guaranteeing him an average of the top 5 salaries for his position in the coming year.

Clements has been a big play maker for the Bills over his past five years here. He leads the team in all-time touchdown returns (defensive and special teams), and has led the Bills in interceptions for the past four seasons. His main drawback is that his aggressive play – which gets him the big play – all too often costs his defense a big play the other way.

Levy has clearly stated that the team wanted to keep Clements, and the franchise tag allows them to do that. Levy also has a history of a strong defense. The team he coached in Buffalo in the 90s is often remembered for its offensive fire-power, but Levy constantly preached that “Defense wins championships.” Signing Clements was his first step in that same direction in his second term with the Bills.

There will be great public debate about whether the Bills should have kept Clements, or let him go. You have heard on the Bills Review several calls for Nate to leave town. Now it’s time to see what this boy can do, and if President Wilson’s money is being spent wisely.

Time will tell.

Further Reading.. (2/22) – Bills Designate Clements as Franchise Player (2/23) – Bills Slap Franchise Tag on Clements

Bills Coaching StaffTwo New Coaches Join Jauron’s Staff
In what seems to be a weekly part of TheRunDown here, coach Dick Jauron has added more help to his coaching staff. This week, the Bills hired a Linebackers coach as well as an assistant Special Teams coach. Coach Matt Sheldon will take over leadership of the linebacking corp. He comes over from the St. Louis Rams with five years of NFL coaching experience. Cross joins the Bills as their Defensive/Special Teams assistant. He has no prior NFL coaching experience. He was most recently outside linebackers coach for Iowa State University.

The staff continues to come together. You can view the entire Bills coaching staff at

Further Reading..
Matt Sheldon – LB Coach
DeMontie Cross – Def/Special Teams Asst

Bits and Pieces
Don’t forget…

  • The February edition of the Buffalo Bills Review will be in your podcast box next Monday. We’ll discuss these things as well as other pertinent Bills news over the past month. Call the hotline, or e-mail your comments and join the fun!
  • Bills punter, Brian Moorman did an excellent job in the pro bowl (as excellent as a punter can do…) and much of his time there was captured on a well-done video posted to Check it out.
  • Offensive Line Coach, Jim McNally was recently interviewed by the staff. McNally is a well-respected coach around the league (and by the Buffalo Bills Review). He has his work cut out for him with this OL unit. Check out what he had to say here

That’s a wrap for the this edition of TheRunDown. If you have any Bills news from this week, or comments on stuff we covered here, please add your comments below!


TheRunDown: Franchise Tags, New Coaches

The Rundown
A weekly feature from the Buffalo Bills Review where we’ll collect some of the headlines from One Bills Drive and offer our take on the latest Bills’ news.

Hey fellow Bills fans, due to an extremely busy schedule this week, the RunDown will be more of a do-it-yourself version this week. 🙂 We at the Buffalo Bills Review have of course been following the latest Bills happenings this week, and I did some research this morning for you. But, the best I can do for TheRunDown is to provide links below to articles and other things that might interest you as a Bills fan. Unfortunately, that is all I have time for today!

Have fun clicking!

Nate Clements, Franchise Player?

Q & A with Steve Fairchild – Where do you start with the #28 offense from last year?

Bills hire coaches:

*Interestingly, Coiner was hired as the TE coach, but Mike Miller is (or, was?) currently listed as TE coach from Mike Mularkey’s staff – there was no announcement that he was let go…

Interactive Depth Chart – Follow the Bills off-season moves

PRO BOWL: Moorman, 4 punts, avg 48.5yds, long 59 yds

Don’t forget to check out Buffalo Bills Insider for lots of great Bills news.

We’ll be back with a full version of TheRunDown next Friday!
Buffalo Bills Review


TheRunDown: No Sooner a Cowboy, and Other Bills News

The Rundown
A weekly feature from the Buffalo Bills Review where we’ll collect some of the headlines from One Bills Drive and offer our take on the latest Bills’ news.

OSU Cowboy Thurman ThomasNo Sooner A Cowboy…
Still No HOF

OK. First order of business. I need to apologize to our wonderful, faithful, and alert BBR readers out there… I made a serious error in last week’s RunDown. Now, cut me some slack. I was writing it hastily at 1:00 in the morning before an early morning departure for a weekend musical performance. I was not researching as much as I usually do, and at 1 in the morning, the whole play on words with the Sooner thing seemed like a good angle on the story. Never mind that it wasn’t true. 🙂 Actually, I really just completely forgot. I knew it was Oklahoma, but I forgot the state part. Now, being a Michigan STATE University alum, I COMPLETELY understand how that error would be appalling. I would never want any of our great athletes to be called Wolverines!!! Ewww!

So, please accept my apologies for such an oversight.

Now, OSU COWBOY Thurman Thomas was passed over for this year’s Hall of Fame class. While it is rare for first-year eligible candidates to be voted in, Thurman did have the credentials to be elected. I’d look for Thurman to have a bust in Canton as early as next year’s HOF class. Still, it would have been nice to see Thurman, with all his NFL accomplishments, be one of the rare exceptions for first-timers.

One of the big deciding factors was probably (unfortunately) the fact that in four tries, Thurman (And the Bills) never won a Super Bowl. There was an article in the Buffalo News this week about Andre Reed’s chances for the Hall of Fame. Obviously a great receiver, and deserving of the honor, but no Super Bowl victory. I do not think this is a legitimate benchmark of who makes the Hall of Fame, and I’m sure there are many players in the Hall who do not have Super victories. However, it seems fairly obvious that the absence of any Super Bowl wins will factor in the decision for players like Thomas, Reed, Steve Tasker, Darryl Talley, etc.

Well, as they say, there’s always next year. (We’re pretty good at saying that in Buffalo, eh?)

Further Reading.. (2/4) – Thomas Not Part of 2006 HOF Class

Bills Continue Restructuring of Front Office
In an effort to streamline the organization, the Bills continue to revamp and re-organize their front office staff. This week the Bills announced that four current staff have been given the title Vice President. Joe Frandina, with the Bills since 1995, will become the new Vice President of Stadium Operations. Peter Guelli, with the Bills since 1998, will be the Vice President of Business Development. Marc Honan, who joined the Bills in 1997, will be the Vice President of Marketing and Broadcasting. Long-time executive, Bill Munson, who has been with the Bills for 34 years, will become the Vice President of Public Affairs. Previously, Munson’s title was Vice President/Operations. David Wheat, most recently with the Bills since 2003, has been named Vice President of Operations and Ticketing. Wheat also served with the Bills from 1997-2000. And, Scott Berchtold will remain in his position as Vice President of Communications. He has held that position since 1989.

Further Reading.. (2/8) – Bills Name Four As Vice Presidents In Front Office

Bills Need To Find a LB Coach… Again
In an interesting turn of events, the Bills new Linebackers Coach is now their old Linebackers Coach. Johnnie Holland, less than a week after he was announced as the Bills new LB Coach accepted the same offer from the Houston Texans. Holland cited personal reasons for this decision.

“It’s an opportunity for me to go back home and be close to my family,” quotes the Buffalo News, in an interview by phone with Holland. “I grew up in the Houston area. My wife grew up in Texas. My parents are getting older. My wife’s mom is getting older, and it’s a rare chance for us to go home.”

So, the coaching carousel continues. Stay tuned for further developments. 🙂

Further Reading.. (2/4) – Bills Again Need Linebackers Coach

Bits and Pieces
Several stories fit the random news category this week. Here they are in no particular order.

  • With the 2005 season officially over (except for the Pro Bowl this Sunday), thoughts turn toward next season. Free agency becomes a primary focus. Who to cut, who to keep. How much cap room will the Bills have to shop for new players? And then there’s the draft. Levy and Polian and Butler always put together great drafts. Can Levy do it again? The website had an interesting article on the Bills plan for rebuilding. Click here to read what they had to say.
  • reports this week that Former Bills OL Mike Devlin has taken a coaching position with the NY Jets. Devlin spent seven seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Bills, and also as a Cardinal. Most recently, he was coaching the Toledo Rockets.
  • LINKS: Reminders are always good, so here you go. If you scroll down the side bar, you’ll see a list of helpful links. As I was browsing the Bills news today, as I do often through the week, I thought, “I bet some of our listeners would enjoy doing this very same thing…” So, scroll down and check out our links. I recommend in order (for the latest Bills news): (1), (2), and (3) Then of course, there’s always the Buffalo News sports section, and the Buffalo Bills website. Both good sources of Bills news as well.
  • Don’t forget, two Bills will be in action this Sunday evening at 6pm on ESPN. If the AFC punts, you’ll see Mike Schneck and Brian Moorman out there doing the Bills proud! 🙂

That’s a wrap for the this edition of TheRunDown. If you have any Bills news from this week, or comments on stuff we covered here, please add your comments below!

The BBR Hotline is still open, and your comments are welcome! Call (716) 989-4180, or email Join the fun! Buffalo Bills Review: A show by Bills fans, for Bills fans.


TheRunDown: New Coaches, and Hall Of Fame “Sooner”?

The Rundown
A weekly feature from the Buffalo Bills Review where we’ll collect some of the headlines from One Bills Drive and offer our take on the latest Bills’ news.

Bills Coaching StaffThe Team Is Coming Together
Coach Dick Jauron continues to assemble his team of coaching assistants this week. We have seen several new faces come in, a few old faces get some well-deserved recognition, and a few others depart. The drama continues to unfold daily from Orchard Park.

In the departure category, coaches Sam Wyche, Brad Roll, and Jerry Gray all will not be returning to the Bills next season. Gray has had several interviews and finally landed as a defensive coach with the Redskins, joining former Bills head coach Gregg Williams staff there. Wyche was a close friend of Mike Mularkey, and reportedly left in part because of the circumstances in which his friend left the team.

A few coaches were given new titles, like Special Teams coach, Bobby April. He now carries the title Assistant Head Coach. April was one of the candidates for the job given to Dick Jauron. April has been with the team a long time, and the Special Teams unit has consistently been one of the best in the league. It is a well deserved honor. Chuch Lester was also given a similar honor. He is also an Assistant Head Coach. Lester has been with the Bills for over two decades. Also, John Allaire was promoted to the Strength and Conditioning Coach.

Some of the new faces include new Defensive Coordinator, Perry Fewell. Fewell is a relative newcomer, but comes over from Chicago as part of Jauron’s former staff. New LB Coach, Johnny Holland was also with Jauron as a member of the Detroit Lions coaching staff. The Bills also hired George Catavolos as the new Defensive Backs coach, and Larry Zierlein as assistant Offensive Line Coach. Most of the new hires have a wealth of coaching experience, including Zierlein’s 35 years of coaching experience.

Let’s hope this transfers to a well coached team on Sundays in the fall.

Further Reading.. (1/31) – Bills Pick Fewell To Lead Defense

ThurmanThurman Thomas Awaits An Unlikely First-Time Entry To The Hall Of Fame
This Sooner is hoping his entry into football’s Hall of Fame comes sooner than later. Former Oklahoma Sooner, and beloved Buffalo Bill will find out this Saturday at 2:00pm if he will beat the odds and be chosen as a first-year eligible member of the Hall of Fame.

Thomas certainly has the numbers. He finished in the top 5 or 10 overall in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage. He is second only to Jerry Rice in playoff yards from scrimmage. He led the league in that category for several straight seasons. Named league MVP in 1991. Thurman was a complete back. There’s no doubt he will end up in Canton.

But will it be this year?

“Eventually it will happen, I guess,” he said from his home in Orlando, Fla. “I’m not counting on it this year. You know me. It’s not something I will be mad about if it doesn’t happen. It’s out of my hands. I have no control over it. It’s great to make it to the final 15. If it happens the first year, that will be great. If it doesn’t, I hope it will happen soon.”

Buffalo fans will be rooting for #34 this weekend. He has made the wall of fame, and is certainly deserving of the Hall of Fame honors as well. We’ll see this Saturday if he will break tradition and join the likes of Joe Montana and Walter Payton as first-time eligible recipients of football’s greatest honor.

Further Reading.. (1/29) – Call Waiting

Bits and Pieces
Don’t forget…

  • Bills fans are encouraged to voice their opinions over the coming weeks in the 12th Man Awards. This week, vote for this Rookie of the Year.

That’s a wrap for the this edition of TheRunDown. If you have any Bills news from this week, or comments on stuff we covered here, please add your comments below!