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NEWS ARCHIVES - APRIL 26TH - MAY 2ND, 2004 PREVIOUS WEEK

Bills Hold Successful Minicamp

J.P. Losman Minicamp Closes: The rookie minicamp officially ended with a practice this morning. There is a lot of optimism at One Bills Drive, particular because every veteran decided to come even though it was voluntary for them. Coach Mularkey said the level of commitment from the players has been impressive. He started from scratch as far as installing the system since the rookies are new to it. This gave the rookies a chance to get their feet wet and the veterans a chance to get comfortable with what was installed at the earlier minicamp. He praised the draft class saying he saw some flashes from them while giving props to the scouting staff for getting a very good class of rookie free agents. He said that J.P. Losman had an unbelievable start and is getting better and better but cautioned it is just a start. He also took time out to praise the forgotten QB on the depth chart, Travis Brown. We may have a battle for the #2 spot. Mularkey also said he feels Willis McGahee needs to finish his runs as he still isn't natural running on his healed knee.

Peters Impressive: On paper at least, it appears the Bills did a nice job in signing undrafted free agents. Many of the players they picked were projected to be drafted. The highest projection among them goes to tight end, maybe offensive tackle Jason Peters. This mammoth man weighs 328 pounds and is 6'4" making him perfect for an offensive tackle spot. He has speed for his size and played tight end at Arkansas and that is where the team is getting their first look at him. In minicamp practices yesterday he wowed the crowd with a beautiful open field catch down the middle of the field for a touchdown. Peters was projected to be drafted in the third or fourth round but slipped because of some potential character issues.


Saturday May 1, 2004

Fans Get First Look: The fans got their first look at the 2004 Buffalo Bills during today's open practice at Ralph Wilson Stadium on a nice day in Western New York as the rain held out. Top pick Lee Evans wowed the crowd with a beautiful, circus one handed grab. Travis Henry was fired up coming out of the tunnel as he was pumped to see the crowd on hand. Fans on hand posting on the message board say that both J.P. Losman and Drew Bledsoe looked good. Willis McGahee had his knee bandaged and looked slow. Luke Lawton looked good and may give Daimon Shelton a battle for the fullback spot.

Open Practice Today: The Bills will hold their long awaited open practice today at 2:30pm, weather permitting. As we reported a few weeks back, the practice is free as well as parking. It is part of the team's select-a-seat day which runs from 11am-5pm. Potential season ticket holders can pick from 3,000 of the best available seats to purchase.


Friday April 30, 2004

Losman Respects Bledsoe: J.P. Losman talked to the media after the first day of minicamp and said how much he respects Drew Bledsoe. He was really impressed with how much respect Bledsoe commands from the rest of the team and he hopes to learn how to get that respect. He is comforted by the situation since Bledsoe has a solid foundation he won't be rushed into action. He said he will learn as much as possible so he can do the job when it is his time to go.

Losman, Evans Hook Up: In what the Bills hope is the first time of many over the next several years first round draft picks J.P. Losman and Lee Evans hooked up on a long pass pattern on the first day of the three day minicamp. Both players were impressive, as we reported earlier Losman showed a strong arm and was productive while Evans showed off his speed and made another nice catch in the afternoon session according to WGR.

All Veterans Take Part: The minicamp is mandatory for rookies and voluntary for veterans, but in a great show of team participation every veteran was there for the opening of the three day camp. Coach Mike Mularkey was pleased with the commitment that the team has shown.

Bledsoe Begins Mentoring Losman: The Bills held their first day of their rookie minicamp today and QB J.P. Losman was productive and threw crisp passes. Coach Mularkey said he picked things up fairly well. The camp is only mandatory for rookies but many veterans were there including Drew Bledsoe. Losman said he's learning as much as he can and Bledsoe is showing him how it's done. Bledsoe said it will come in time for Losman and he will have that time to develop watching him play. Bledsoe begun mentoring Losman with phone call to the rookie shortly after he was drafted. Bledsoe called Losman "a very talented guy that's hungry to learn" adding that he throws a good ball.

Minicamp Opens: The Bills top brass and coaching staff are getting their first look at the Rookie class of 2004 and is the team is holding two sessions on the opening day of the rookie Minicamp that goes through Sunday. Some veterans are there but the camp is only mandatory for rookies that are getting a crash course on catching up with the veterans that have already dove into the new scheme by the new coaching staff.


Thursday April 29, 2004

Rookies Arrive Today: The 19 undrafted free agents and the six draft picks arrive in town today for this weekend's minicamp that starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Friday there will be two sessions, Saturday's session is open to the public and it closes with a practice on Sunday morning. J.P. Losman is excited to get started and said he will wear the #7 that he has worn since he was five years old. He hopes players don't have any preconvceived notions about what kind of guy he is and he's looking forward to meeting everyone.


Wednesday April 28, 2004

Bills Sign Case: The Bills added another undrafted free agent today when they signed guard/long snapper Tony Case. He played for Division II Adams State in Colorado where he started all 11 games at left guard and handled all long snapping duties this past year. He started all 11 games at right guard in 2002.

Bledsoe Deal Saves Cap Space: The new three year deal signed by Drew Bledsoe saves nearly $4 Million in salary cap space. His old deal would have counted $8.2 Million under the cap the new one reportedly will count $4.3 Million. This saving more than doubles the amount of money under the cap the team will be. It puts the team approximately $7 million under the cap. Tom Donahoe hinted that money would be used to sign current players to long term contracts.


Tuesday April 27, 2004

Bledsoe Excited About New Deal: Drew Bledsoe spoke on a conference call to Western New York media about his newly restructured thee year contract. He said he's really excited about his new deal because it allows him and his family to have stability with the Bills organization and the community. His first reaction as a competitor was to play out his contract and see what happens with the option in November. After stepping back and looking at his priorities he knew he had to restructure for the good of the team and to give them cap room to sign another high quality player. He also feels it gives the team stability at the quarterback position. He also feels that the November option would have been a distraction to the team and that wouldn't be good. He said he's unsure about how long he'll play but he feels they have made some good moves in the draft to help them immediately and they have an outstanding coaching staff. If they keep winning he will want to play longer.

Bledsoe Plans To Help Losman: Drew Bledsoe's conference call was also the first time the media had a chance to speak with him since the Bills drafted J.P. Losman. Bledsoe called Losman a talented young man and he will do everything he can to teach the guy and help him along. He will help him develop as a quarterback so when it is his turn to come in and play, he will be able to play well. He said his contract situation had no bearing on how he would handle his relationship with Losman. Bledsoe says he completely understood the move to trade up for Losman. He said the club has to plan for the future while playing now. It makes sense to get the QB now, so he has time to develop for a few years. He emphasized that Losman is the QB of the future, just not the immediate future.

Bledsoe Ecstatic About Evans: Drew Bledsoe said he's ecstatic about the pick of Lee Evans that gives him a downfield threat to take the pressure off of Eric Moulds. He feels Evans is a solid receiver with good blocking skills.

Donahoe Praises Bledsoe's Team Commitment: Tom Donahoe applauded Drew Bledsoe for his efforts in restructuring his contract. He called him a great team player that is not happening in other cities. Donahoe would not get into the specifics of the new deal but it is a three year contract that takes him through 2006 but he did admit Bledsoe did take concessions to help the team, not just a straight restructuring. Donahoe called it a win-win situation for everyone and he feels it was the right thing to do for all parties. He feels J.P. Losman is coming into a great situation where he can learn from a great QB like Bledsoe and great QB coach like Sam Wyche. Donahoe also is happy that the deal eliminates a potential distraction in November with the option clause hanging overhead. He said the club can live with the terms of the contract under the cap for the full three years if they need to.

Extra Cap Space May Stay In House: Tom Donahoe said the extra cap space freed up by the restructuring of Drew Bledsoe's contract could be used in a number of ways. They could use it to sign a free agent or two after June 1st but Donahoe hinted he may use the money to lock up some players on the roster for the long term. Aaron Schobel, Jonas Jennings, and Pat Williams are all scheduled to become free agents at the end of the year. There has been reports that the Bills have opened negotiations with Schobel on a new deal.

Coaches To Decide On QB Situation: Tom Donahoe also said it will be up to the coaches to decide whether or not to bring in a veteran QB. He seemed to be leaning towards making J.P. Losman the number two guy right away since he was a first round pick but the final decision will be up to the coaches.

Bledsoe Renegotiates Deal: The Bills announced today that QB Drew Bledsoe has re-negotiated his contract. He had an option due in November that would have cost the team $7 Million to kick in the final three years of his contract or $2 Million to make him a free agent at the end of the year. That clause apparently is not included in the new deal. Terms were not disclosed of the new deal.

Peters Projects At Tackle: One of the more intriguing undrafted free agent signings is Arkansas TE Jason Peters. He was projected to go in the third or fourth rounds in most mock drafts. In fact, we had the Bills picking him in the third round of our mock draft. He is 336 pounds, which is huge for a tight end but he runs very well for his size. The Bills project him as a tackle as they gave him number 67. He will battle for a backup spot at tackle where there is at least one opening. Depth Chart.

Spicer Deal For Three Years: While most undrafted free agents are signed as camp fodder, usually one or two stand out and make teams. One on the Bills list of 18 that has a chance, is Western Carolina defensive end Michale Spicer. A sign may be that he signed a three year deal, while most of these types of players get a one year deal. If he makes the team and plays the three years he can make $750,000. He chose Buffalo because the team didn't draft any defensive ends and he feels he has a better chance of making the team than elsewhere. Spicer broke a school record for most tackles behind the line of scrimmage in his college career.


Monday April 26, 2004

Bills Agree To Terms With 18: The Bills have agreed to terms with 18 undrafted free agents. Two of them we reported earlier, TE Jason Peters of Arkansas and QB Nathan Chandler of Iowa. They added four cornerbacks since they didn't draft any, including Jabari Greer who had a standout career in Tennessee including 147 tackles. They also added UB safety Mark Graham. They added two running backs including Shaud Williams of Alabama. He led the SEC in rushing last year. Other names that stick out in the list of 18 is WR Kevin Beard from Miami. He was solid when healthy but had injury problems throughout his college career. He had 67 total receptions in his career. They did take one fullback in McNeese State's Luke Lawton. Plays with abandon and is one of the strongest players around. Known as a solid blocking fullback who has a chance of making the team due to the lack of depth at the position. An interesting signing is DE Constantin Ritzmann from Germany. He played at Tennessee and is a project but considered an underrated talent. Complete List.

Undrafted Free Agent Signings Begin: Over the next couple of days you will see all NFL teams sign a bunch of undrafted free agents. The Bills have yet to announce who they have signed but rumors and reports have begun. WKBW-TV is reporting that the Bills have signed undrafted free agent QB Nathan Chandler of Iowa. Another player the Bills appear to be showing interest in is undrafted free agent TE Jason Peters, who we had going to the Bills in our mock draft. No confirmation yet on any signings. If the Bills do land Chandler they are getting a huge quarterback. He is 6' 7" tall and has mobility. The main knock on him is experience, he started only one year for Iowa after coming over from a junior college.

Draft Results A Few Years Away: Nobody can really an analyze a draft for a few years but it is more fun to analyze it right after it happens. We have done our annual review and analysis of the Bills draft and we like what we saw as you would know from our final grade. The one thing for sure, Tom Donahoe's future is on the line with the trade up for J.P. Losman. Complete Analysis.



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