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Bills Fire Offensive Coordinator

Gregg WilliamsThis was the first busy week of the off season at One Bills Drive. Gregg Williams fired offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard and the Bills released the five names that are on the expansion draft list. We take a look at those issues along with our take on all the news from the week in our week in review:

The Bills made news on Friday by firing Offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard. The decision was made by head coach Gregg Williams and it came after he finished his evaluation of the coaching staff. There are no other moves expected. Williams would not say if the team will use the West Coast Offense next year. He said he wants to find the best person for the job who will work the talent that is already there. He would not divulge who is a candidate but most people think Kevin Gilbride is a possibility. He worked with Rob Johnson in Jacksonville and has ties to both Williams and Donahoe. Our Take: Sheppard was definitely a scapegoat, but his offense did lack ingenuity. When key players of the offense speak out publicly against the play calling you know the coach isn't popular. The handwriting was on the wall but we are somewhat surprised Williams didn't give Sheppard another chance. This means that Williams must be feeling the pressure after a three win season.

The expansion draft list was set this week and the Bills put Rob Johnson, John Fina, Avion Black, Ken Irvin and Raion Hill on the list for the Texans to look at. The expansion draft is February 18th. Donahoe said some players weren't happy about being on the list and there were a lot of different reasons for putting a player on the list. The team spoke to all the players on the list and explained why they were placed on it. Our Take: These five names were no brainers. Irvin has a high cap figure and won't return anyway. Johnson most likely won't be back and the team would be very happy if the Texans took his $11 Million cap figure from them. Fina is aging and may not be back. Black hasn't performed well, neither has Hill but they are the most likely Bills to be taken in the draft.

Rob Johnson told the Buffalo News that he feels the club doesn't want him since they placed him on the list. Donahoe said that the door isn't closed on Johnson returning and that he has opened talks with his agent. He described those talks as amicable but slow moving. The Bills want Johnson to take a big pay cut to return to Buffalo. There are some sources in Houston that says they are interested in picking Johnson but his cap figure may scare them away. Our Take: Why would Houston take him when they can get him for cheaper when the Bills release him? Johnson's relationship with the Bills is beyond repair at this point. His days as a Bill are over. Expect him to be cut after the expansion draft.

Tom Donahoe and Gregg Williams met with Owner Ralph Wilson last week to discuss the completed season and the course of action for next year. Donahoe spoke about some of the issues in a radio station interview last week. He said he expects the team to be in the market for some second tier free agents since the salary cap situation is not in dire straits. The club is currently finishing off evaluating the coaching staff and compiling the list for the expansion draft. Five players must be exposed and Donahoe said he will let the players know that are left unprotected but some players will be on the list because they are unlikely to be taken. Our Take: The expansion list should be easy to compile since there are many players that could go on the list for one reason or another. The second tier free agents should be good enough to help this team out tremendously without killing the cap. Any decisions on the coaching staff fall on Coach Williams but he is expected to bring all his coaches back. That is probably the right move since the team did show improvement and changing coaches and/or schemes at this point could impede further progress.

The Bills signed a CFL star over the weekend when they added Demetrious Maxie to the team. He is a defensive tackle standout that was with the Bears during training camp. He supposedly comes recommended by Ted Washington. Our Take: The Bills are weak at that position so it can't hurt bringing in some talent from the North.

James Lofton and Jim Kelly both addressed the media this past week to discuss their candidacy for induction to the hall of fame. Lofton said that his days in Buffalo during the Super Bowl years were very important to him. Kelly said he would love it if he were inducted while his son is still alive. He is considered to have a good shot at getting in. He told the media that history is looking fondly on the Bills four Super Bowl appearances and that he couldn't have had the career he had if it wasn't for the talent around him and the wisdom of Marv Levy. Our Take: Kelly should get in on the first ballot since it isn't a very tough class. Lofton will have a tougher time since there are two other wide receivers listed as finalists.

Director of Football Operations Tom Modrak appears to be staying in Buffalo for another year. There are no general manager jobs open at this point and there are no other jobs he is interested in. Our Take: This is good news since the Bills figured his stay in Buffalo would be short, he will be an immense help with the draft this year.

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