Bills Close In On GM
This week was dominated by the pursuit of former Steeler Dir. of Football Operations Tom Donahoe for the vacant GM job. More on that in this week's edition of the week in review complete with our take on that and other issues:It appears that the GM job will probably go to Tom Donahoe. He interviewed with Owner Ralph Wilson on Wednesday and it was a good meeting according to Donahoe. He is the obvious front runner. A story on Empire stated that he has been offered a 4 yr. $3 Million contract. Wilson says he wants a full service GM, meaning someone who will handle more than just the talent end of the job like Butler did. Our Take: We've stated all along that Donahoe is the man for the job. He has Butler's talent instincts and he also knows the horrors of the salary cap. Two concerns here, the money reportedly offered is less than was offered Butler who isn't a "full service GM" according to Wilson. He may need to up that figure if it is true. The other concern, is Donahoe let many free agents leave Pittsburgh and chose to replace from within. Butler always tried to keep his own players. If Donahoe brings that approach to Buffalo, you may see more of a free agent exodus than in the past.
The other big story this week is the debate over the coaching situation. Nothing will happen until the owner and new GM meet with Coach Phillips on Friday. There have been many rumors this week including one that says Marty Schottenheimer will come here as head coach. Our Take: This is a tough call, nobody really knows if Phillips will be back or not. Donahoe says it's Wilson's call but he has ideas about the situation. Phillips may be offered the chance to stay if he gets rid of some of his coaches. The Schottenheimer thing, is just rumor and it is very far fetched. He would want more control over football operations then he would get in Buffalo, especially if Donahoe signs as expected.
Much is being said about comments Donahoe made on an internet chat last week regarding the QB controversy. He said, "Flutie's 21-9, what's the decision". Our Take: Some have taken that to mean that Rob Johnson is gone if Donahoe comes here but don't bet on it. When Donahoe gets inside the situation and evaluates the cap situation and takes the two players' age into account he may change his tune.
Former GM John Butler interviewed for the open Chargers' GM position and it looks like he will take that job next week. It also appears now that the Bills director of pro personnel A.J. Smith will follow him when his contract expires with the Bills in February. Our Take: Smith was a candidate for the Bills' GM position but his loyalty to Butler hurt him. No surprise Butler is heading to San Diego that is where he wanted to be anyway. The other internal GM candidate, Dwight Adams is also loyal to Butler but not as loyal as Smith is. Adams has a year left on his deal and the Bills will have to wine and dine him to get him to stay after that.
The Bills finished the NFL ranked ninth in home attendance with an average of over 69,000 per game. Seven of the eight home games were sell outs. Our Take: Another good showing by the Western New York faithful. The Bills will never lead the league in attendance again since the stadium is smaller now.
The AP all-pro team was announced this week and no Bills were on the team. Ruben Brown and Sam Cowart had enough votes to be second team all-pros. Our Take: Brown's fourth place finish in votes was based on reputation and not performance. Cowart would have made it to the first team all-pro if he wasn't hurt. He finished one vote behind Jeremiah Trotter as it was.
The Bills will draft 14th in this year's draft. The last time they drafted in that spot they got Brown. Our Take: It is a shame that the Bills will finally have a decent pick but Butler isn't here anymore to pick it. Donahoe is no slouch though, and Adams is still running the scouts at least for one more year, so this could be a very lucrative draft for the Bills.
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