Inside The Bills

More wins in year 1 with new coach?

Posted by Chris Brown on July 20, 2013 – 10:23 am

It might seem hard to believe knowing how difficult it’s been for the Bills to post winning seasons since the 2000 season, but when a new coach comes in for Buffalo an improved win total in year one from the previous season isn’t as rare as one might think.

As we covered today in our Top 25 questions until training camp, Doug Marrone stands a good chance of improving on the win-loss total from that of a year ago (6-10) for a number of reasons.

Also encouraging is recent history is on his side.

Mike Mularkey inherited a team in 2003 that went 6-10, but had a good deal of talent on its roster. In 2004 the Bills improved their win total by three and finished 9-7 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

Dick Jauron inherited a team that in 2005 when 5-11. In 2006, year one under Jauron, the team went 7-9, improving the team’s record by two victories.


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Mularkey: Bills environment “one of the best”

Posted by johnmurphyshow on November 29, 2012 – 7:45 pm

It’s back to Ralph Wilson  Stadium this Sunday for former Bills Head Coach Mike Mularkey.  He brings his 2-9 Jacksonville Jaguars to Orchard Park to play the Bills.  Mularkey, who has been back while an assistant with the Dolphins, is now the Head Coach of the Jaguars.   He was a guest on The John Murphy Show Wednesday night.

Mularkey says the fans make the atmosphere in Ralph Wilson Stadium “one of the best” in the league.

“I think the environment there is one of the best in the NFL,” he told John Murphy.

” You’ve seen all the new stadiums and everything over the last dozen years.  That stadium and those fans are just true blue, how they show up during the week with the Winnebagos and they’re ready for the game on Sunday.  It’s a great environment, if you’ve never been a part of it.  And we’ve got some guys on our team who’ve never been a part of something like that.  They’re going to see what I’m talking about.”

Mularkey’s first game as Head Coach of the Bills came in Ralph Wilson Stadium.  And his first Bills team suffered a bitter defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars in that game.

After leading most of the way, Jacksonville moved the ball 80-yards on the final drive, scoring the go-ahead points on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Byron Leftwich to Ernest Wilford as time expired.  The Bills finished the year out of the playoffs, despite winning 9 and losing 7 games.  And Mularkey says he’s talked about that game, the season opener in 2004, when he talks to his players about taking plays off.

“I’ve used that game and that season, even here, with the way things started out here,” Mularkey said.  “What’s really unique about that 2004 season, you talk about how one play changes games.  Really, one play changed that entire season.  The first game of the year, we really had Jacksonville on the ropes.  I don’t think they had 80-yards of offense the whole day.  And then they went  80 in the last two minutes, converting three fourth downs to win on the last play of the game.  If you stop any of those third downs  you do something different for one play and you win that game, then the last game of the year against Pittsburgh would not have been a must win situation for us.  We would have been in the playoffs.”

“It is important to explain to people that the one play that you may take off may be the play that not only changes this game, it changes your season when it’s all said and done,” he continued.

The John Murphy Show airs weeknights from 7-9pm on the flagship station of the Bills, WGR Sports Radio 550.


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Mularkey has no hard feelings

Posted by Chris Brown on November 29, 2012 – 10:53 am

Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey returns to Buffalo to face his former team for the first time as a head coach Sunday. Mularkey, who chose to resign after the 2005 season harbors no hard feelings about his time with the Bills.

“No, don’t try to make anything out of that,” Mularkey told the Buffalo media via conference call. “I have very good memories from there, but not incentives or motivation to do this or that. I have very good memories it was part of my NFL career. I’ve been in the league for 28 years. I’m very proud of the things that were accomplished there especially in 2004. It was one of my most memorable seasons as a coach to do what we did. And again the disappointment is just like the disappointment my three years in Atlanta where we didn’t win a playoff game. Those are things that are memories, but there are no hard feelings at all. You talk about a place that’s passionate about football it’s hard not to like it. Just like Pittsburgh and the fans that are passionate here (in Jacksonville).”

Mularkey is referring to the 2004 season when the Bills started the season 0-4 only to put together a six-game winning streak down the stretch, needing just one win to qualify for the playoffs in the season finale against Pittsburgh, but lost 29-24 to finish 9-7, the only winning season for Buffalo since 1999.

“Where we were to start and what we had to do to get to that point,” said Mularkey of the 2004 season. “The Jacksonville game to open that season, if we stop Jacksonville any one of the three fourth downs that they convert on the last drive of the game we don’t have to beat Pittsburgh to go to the playoffs. And I’ve used the example of how one play in a number of plays in that 2004 season there were a number of one plays that changed the whole scenario in that Pittsburgh game where we would not have had to win it. We would’ve been in the playoffs. Yeah, I still talk about a lot of the things in that season. Getting over the adversity of starting 0-4. That’s a very memorable season for me.”


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Bills 2012 schedule note

Posted by Chris Brown on April 17, 2012 – 10:06 am

While we await the dates and times of all 16 regular season games for the Bills, here’s a note to chew on concerning Buffalo’s opponents and those who will be patrolling the opposite sideline.

The Bills will face three of their previous four head coaches this season. In reverse order Buffalo faces Dick Jauron (Cleveland def. coord.), Mike Mularkey (Jax. head coach) and Wade Phillips (Hou. def. coord.).

It would’ve been all four previous coaches had Gregg Williams not been suspended indefinitely by the NFL. He’s the defensive coordinator for St. Louis. Buffalo hosts the Rams this year.


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Mularkey to bring Jags to Buffalo

Posted by Chris Brown on January 11, 2012 – 11:08 am

Newly named Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey will be making a return trip to Buffalo this fall.

Jacksonville will be playing the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in the 2012 regular season, so the former Bills head coach (2004-2005) will return to Buffalo for the first time as a head coach of another NFL club. Named the head coach of the Jaguars officially on Wednesday, Mularkey has a lot of work ahead of him to fix the league’s last ranked offense (32nd).

The exact date of the Jaguars-Bills game will be released in mid-April with the rest of the 2012 NFL schedule.


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Identifying each team’s ‘Wildcat’

Posted by Chris Brown on June 25, 2009 – 3:18 pm

The Bills play in the division where the popularity of the ‘Wildcat’ sprang last season, but one former Bills coach said it’s really nothing new.

Mike Mularkey, now the offensive coordinator for the up and coming Atlanta Falcons claims to have had ‘Wildcat’ like plays in his playbook for 10 years as he was quoted by atlantafalcons.com as saying.

“We’ve been doing that for 10 years,” Mularkey told his team’s website. “I don’t think we caught anyone off guard with it. All of a sudden it has a name but Hines Ward, Antwaan Randle El and Roscoe Parrish have been doing those things for 10 years now.”

While I don’t doubt Mularkey had such plays in his playbook, I’m confident the Bills didn’t make use of it as much as the Dolphins did last year. I can only recall an option pass play for Parrish one time since Roscoe is a former high school QB (he throws a pretty good ball).

In any event identifying the ‘Wildcat’ for each NFL opponent is another layer of advance scouting. Not that it’s difficult, but for the Dolphins it’s likely to be rookie Pat White. For Atlanta, who the Bills will be playing in 2009, it’s RB Jerious Norwood.


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