Inside The Bills

Cowher on Whaley

Posted by Chris Brown on May 16, 2013 – 9:21 am

Former Steelers head coach and current CBS NFL commentator Bill Cowher worked with Bills new GM Doug Whaley for the better part of a decade in the Pittsburgh organization. He was anything but surprised that Whaley has risen to the GM ranks in the NFL.

“Doug Whaley to me has “paid his dues.” He has done his job professionally and with high-quality,” said Cowher. “I know from working with him in Pittsburgh he is a guy who put due diligence towards every opportunity and task he was given. He has a wealth of knowledge, a good feel for people and a good eye for talent.

“I think when you talk about people that earn the opportunity to advance and earn the opportunity to have more responsibility that Doug is a guy who has proven along the way at every step that he can equal the challenge and then surpass it. It does not surprise me that he has been named General Manager.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher on Bills-Pats

Posted by Chris Brown on September 23, 2011 – 11:58 am

Appearing on the Tim Brando radio show this week, CBS analyst Bill Cowher believes the Patriots aren’t going to have an easy go of it at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday.

Here was Cowher’s assessment of Sunday’s AFC East showdown.

“When you look at New England it’s always hard to beat them,” Cowher said. “One of their top receivers is not going to play this game in (Aaron) Hernandez. Now they only have one and you can take away one tight end, and that puts the pressure back on the outside and I like Buffalo’s corners.

“Some are saying it’s been nice the Bills are starting out 2-0, but now New England is coming to town. I think it’s going to be a lot harder game for New England than some might think. Patrick Chung just had surgery on his thumb so they’re not coming in real healthy. You’ve got a Buffalo team that is really confident and has an opportunity to make a statement. People are wondering if the Bills are for real and I’ll tell you what that is going to be a challenge going to Buffalo for New England this weekend.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey already fostering change

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2010 – 8:53 am

Bills head coach Chan Gailey not only had to revamp the offensive, defensive and special teams schemes to his own liking this offseason along with assembling the best roster he could for success. He also had to change what had been a losing culture at One Bills Drive for the past few years. As his former colleague and current CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher sees it, it’s already happening.

“I saw it in the preseason,” said Cowher in a national conference call this week. “This was a football team that came out and tried to change a mentality.  He did that.  They had some impressive wins.  I can see him game-planning.” 

“He’s trying to change the culture in Buffalo right now.  There’s no better coach that can do that than Chan Gailey.  He understands what’s ahead of him.  He’s got some good young talent.   They can run the ball.  You have a deep threat in Lee Evans.  And I think it’s a defense very deep in the secondary. 

“I think with the Buffalo Bills you’re going to see a team that plays hard, a team that’s going to re-establish an identity and they’re in the process of changing the culture.”

Certainly a welcome observation from a Super Bowl winning coach.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher on Bills offense

Posted by Chris Brown on September 10, 2010 – 8:48 am

CBS NFL analyst Bill Cowher in a national conference call this week offered some pretty encouraging comments when asked how he sees the Bills offense developing under Chan Gailey as the season wears on.

“This is going to be a football team that’s going to try to establish the running game but I’m going to tell you he’s going to throw the football,” said Cowher. “Yes, he’s trying to build an offensive line, but the best thing you can do with a young offensive line and one that’s not established is run the football.

“So I think, again, this is going to be a football team that’s kind of in the process of trying to establish a mentality. I think they’re going to do that. But I will say this about Chan Gailey – he’s a master at being unpredictable. He will come up with a few wrinkles every week that will keep their team excited and it’s going to keep the defenses guessing with each team he place each week.

“He’s a very good signal caller. He’s  got a very good offensive game plan when he puts them together. I think this guy is going to utilize what he does best and he’s going to let Trent Edwards develop some confidence early in this season, and just take it from there. As Trent gets more comfortable he’ll open it up a little bit more.”

So although the Bills three-pronged rushing attack will figure prominently in Buffalo’s approach, Trent Edwards role could become more and more pronounced as the season moves along.

Interesting insight from a head coach that had Gailey as his offensive coordinator for four years.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher waiting on Giants job

Posted by Chris Brown on January 14, 2010 – 6:47 pm

Many outside observers are wondering how long Bill Cowher is willing to wait before returning to coaching. According to Jerome Bettis, it’s until the Giants coaching job opens up.

Bettis, appearing on Sirius XM radio with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, said Cowher was hoping to land the Giants job in 2007 before Tom Coughling orchestrated a run to the Super Bowl title.

“That’s the team that he really coveted,” Bettis said. “This is where he always wanted to be. The Mara family, he’s been very close to them. … He’s known them very well and was on the inside track — before the Giants won the Super Bowl — for that job. And I think he’s holding out for that opportunity if it presents itself.”

Speculation in New York, including by Daily News Giants beat writer Ralph Vacchiano, is that Coughlin could be out the door as soon as next offseason if the Giants aren’t back in the playoffs in 2010.

Bettis even went so far as to say that Cowher will wait until the Giants job, and only the Giants job, opens.

“That’s what he’s doing,” said Bettis. “That’s where he’s got his eyes.”

That would explain his apparent lack of interest in the Bills job, and potentially every other one that might come down the pike that’s not the Giants.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Names being mentioned for Seahawks job

Posted by Chris Brown on January 8, 2010 – 2:59 pm

It’s all speculation at this point, but here are some of the names being thrown out there for the now vacant Seahawks head coaching post.

Obviously Bill Cowher and John Fox’s names have come up. But also Brian Billick, Jim Fassel (UFL), Kevin Gilbride (NYG OC) and Marty Mornhinweg (Phil. OC). Those names courtesy of ESPN’s NFL Insider rumor page.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Thurman gives shout out to Cowher

Posted by Chris Brown on January 7, 2010 – 11:35 am

Bills Hall of Fame RB Thurman Thomas gave a shout out to Bill Cowher on his twitter account.

Thomas tried to appeal to Cowher by sharing with him the rabid fan following in Buffalo in one of his recent twitter posts.

thurmanthomas    Hey Cowher, besides The Steeler and Cowboys, this the best Fan Base. Not Tampa or Carolina, r any other team period!!!!!

As much as I agree with Thurman on the fan base (and Thurman, I like the passion), I don’t think that’s a potential sticking point, if there is one, for Cowher. How aggressive the team is willing to be in free agency and final say on personnel decisions are more of what Cowher is interested in getting clarification on if things have even gotten that far.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher’s interest still up for debate

Posted by Chris Brown on January 5, 2010 – 12:34 pm

Some national reporters have said Bill Cowher will stay behind the CBS TV desk in 2010. Others aren’t so sure.’s Jason LaCanfora believes Cowher is still seriously considering coaching options, but those options appear to be few and far between, which should benefit Buffalo. Without competition from the likes of Tampa, Chicago, Houston and at this point Carolina, Cowher doesn’t have another team to leverage against Buffalo.

LaCanfora is reporting that Cowher is reaching out to potential assistants for his staff should he land a coaching gig.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Insight on Cowher

Posted by Chris Brown on January 4, 2010 – 12:35 pm

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Bill Cowher might not be coaching in 2010 after all.

Here is his latest twitter post concerning Cowher’s coaching prospects.

Adam_Schefter    New development to coaching carousel and to Buffalo’s coaching search: Being told that Bill Cowher not likely to coach in 2010.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen also reported the same on ESPN Sportscenter during the noon hour.

Posted in Inside the Bills

King thinks Cowher’s choices will be limited

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2010 – 11:04 pm’s Peter King isn’t expecting there to be many head coaching openings in the NFL on what is often called ‘Black Monday.’

When asked about possible job openings and where Bill Cowher could land he offered the following.

“I think it’s going to be kind of a Charcoal-Grey Monday because there aren’t going to be a lot of firings,” King said.

Then King pretending to be Cowher added this comment.

(King as Cowher)
“If I want to coach this coming year, I may have to coach in Buffalo.”

Posted in Inside the Bills

Schottenheimer has itch to coach?

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2010 – 5:14 pm

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen had a lot to say about the Bills coaching search on NFL Countdown Sunday. And as much as he said about Bill Cowher, he also had an interesting comment concerning Marty Schottenheimer’s coaching aspirations.

Mortensen indicated that Schottenheimer could be used as a reference for Buddy Nix, as they share a good relationship from their days together in San Diego. Cowher coached under Schottenheimer as an assistant and Mortensen thought Schottenheimer might be asked by Nix to paint a healthy picture of the Bills for Cowher. But he also said the following about Schottenheimer.

“Nix has a healthy relationship with Marty Schottenheimer from their days together in San Diego, so Marty certainly would give Cowher a favorable endorsement on the new Bills GM – if Marty himself isn’t a candidate,” said Mortensen. “And, yes, Marty has the hunger to coach again, no matter what he’s stated publicly, sources said.”

Schottenheimer is a coach that I felt would be a perfect fit for the Bills. He’s a disciplinarian and would be able to assemble an impressive staff of assistants. He also has one of the best winning percentages in football at .613 of coaches in the modern era that have coached more than 100 games. Only Cowher has a better mark at .623.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Level of interest meeting w/Cowher

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2010 – 1:00 pm

ESPN is reporting that Russ Brandon and Ralph Wilson met with CBS analyst Bill Cowher last week to gauge his interest in Buffalo’s head coaching job.

The report by Chris Mortensen termed it a “stealth meeting” and not a formal interview as it took place before the Bills named Buddy Nix their general manager.

The report also says that interim head coach Perry Fewell will interview for the permanent head coaching job on Monday. And Mortensen also reported on NFL Countdown that Charlie Weis will not be in the running for Bills head coach.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher assembling a coaching staff?

Posted by Chris Brown on January 3, 2010 – 11:11 am

According to Bill Cowher is reaching out to potential assistant coaches.

The report from’s Steve Wyche indicates that Cowher is trying to gauge what kind of coaching staff he could assemble should he elect to take one of the NFL head coaching jobs that will be available after this weekend’s slate of games.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Cowher has Tampa calling

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2009 – 11:19 am

Bill Cowher is the latest big name coach being given a possible destination for his next head coaching gig and it’s not in the AFC.

NFL Network reporter Jason LaCanfora is reporting that Cowher has been contacted by Tampa Bay to gauge his interest in the position of head coach of the Buccaneers.

According to LaCanfora, Cowher has taken the position that he took with the Bills when approached by Buffalo, that he will not interview with any NFL club until the regular season is over.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Fan Friday 12-11

Posted by Chris Brown on December 11, 2009 – 1:26 pm

The snow has been flying late this week in Buffalo. Crazy wind and at least a foot of snow in most places. But we still bring you Fan Friday as always here on the Inside the Bills blog. As always you can email your questions to

1. Hi, Chris,
With the talent level the Bills have at running back, why don’t they have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield at the same time? They could pound opposing defenses continually, and keep our defense off the field. This would take pressure off of the QB, and maybe put the Bills in position to win more games. The offensive line as it stands right now, is having issues pass blocking. Just a thought…
Tony Falzone, Daytona Beach, Fl

CB: There has been more of this in recent weeks, but not a ton more. I think that set presents a lot more options for the Bills offensively and also affords better pass protection with both Lynch and Jackson back there. We’ll see if there are more snaps with that look over the final four games, but I agree it has a lot of potential for an offense that has struggled all season.

2. Chris,

I know it’s very early in the process, and I keep hearing the Mr. Wilson wants to hire a GM to hire a coach (you could probably say how true that is better than me,) but I had a couple of names I was hoping to get your feedback about for a potential new coach.

1. Brian Billick: While I don’t know how well he actually knows quarterbacks like he claims– I do know he won the Super Bowl with the Ravens, and even when they struggled before he was fired, they played great defense. He seems like he wants to get back to coaching, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him in Buffalo.

2. Russ Grimm: He was a finalist for the Pittsburgh and I think Arizona job as well, before Whisenhunt was hired– so I get the impression the guy has something management likes. He’s a firey presence that helped change the culture of the team in Arizona in a VERY short time period…exactly the kind of change Buffalo needs. Also, the guy has an o-line background, and ours desperately needs work.

3. Pete Metzelaars: I know Pete is relatively green… but he was a blink of Tom Moore’s eye from being the OC in Indy this year before he and Mudd decided not to retire. Also, I get the impression that just the timing of some of the early 90’s Bills going into the HOF these past years, that the Bills and its fanbase are reconnecting with those teams. What better way to do it than to bring in one of the pieces that got us there? At the very least in an OC capacity.

I could be wrong, but I can’t imagine any of these guys commanding the kind of money the Cowhers or Shanahans of the world do… so maybe they’d be a fit here?

I’m curious to know your thoughts

Farmington, NY

CB: I think Billick and Grimm are worthwhile candidates. Grimm would certainly put attention where it’s needed on the offensive line. Heck with Grimm at the helm they may draft a tackle before a QB, which I’m not opposed to. The Dolphins showed that could work drafting Jake Long and then Chad Henne. Cleveland had the right idea too with Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn. Quinn is actually playing a bit better of late.

As for Metzelaars I think he is too green for a head job. Wouldn’t mind making him an assistant on this staff, Frank Reich as well for that matter. I think Cowher and Shanahan are unfortunately long shots at best.

3. Hey Chris,
Are the bills done with Trent? Why go back to Fitz again? I think you go with trent, for better or worse, to see if he’s your franchise guy, your thoughts?
CB: I’m afraid that ship appears to have sailed. Players have made no secret even to the media that they prefer having Fitzpatrick in there. No doubt they made those preferences known to the coaching staff as well. So my feeling is Trent will remain the backup for the rest of the season barring injury.

I don’t think there’s any question that Edwards is physically superior to Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick is more willing to take chances in the passing game and he has seen the whole field better when he’s been in there. As to whether Trent is still considered franchise material, I think that’s a determination that may also have been made already, but under a new regime that’s always subject to change. Time will tell.

4. They had a crowd of 51,000 people. We could have sold 70,000 in Ralph Wilson stadium, w/ the large majority cheering loudly for our (undermanned) Bills.

I’m no marketing guru, but how is this putting more money in the franchise’s pocket? Simply because it’s guaranteed money? We haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years and we still get near sellout crowds for most games in Buffalo. The players have repeatedly said the fans support gets them pumped up.
Given the 3 tepid performances so far in Toronto, including the preseason game, it’s hard to see that we are expanding our fan base playing there. The Canadian fans may enjoy seeing the NFL, but they are hardly there to cheer on our home team.

I was pretty skeptical of the idea in the first place. I don’t think it has helped the Bills as a team, or the franchise, or even (cynically) Ralph Wilson himself.  Help me out, Chris. What am I missing?
Gilbert, AZ

CB: The Bills sold the Toronto Series to the Rogers group for $78 million. It equates to $9.75M per game, which is almost double what the franchise pulls in for a regular home game, and far more than that for a preseason game. So that’s a major revenue benefit, which is important in the league’s big market/small market climate right now.

If 2010 goes off without a salary cap, which is looking more and more like reality, this regionalization effort will be more important than most fans realize. It will continue to help to keep the team financially competitive.

Though it may be hard to see how the games in Toronto are helping the fan base, 15% of the season ticket base is from southern Ontario. And figures show that number is now increasing thanks to the team’s annual presence in Toronto.

Believe me when I tell you the decision makers for this franchise understand that it’s a bitter pill to swallow for Bills fans that respect the franchise’s tradition and home field advantage with respect to the 12th Man. But this is a necessary step to keep the team financially viable and competitive in a league where the ‘haves’ are continually trying to make life more difficult for the ‘have nots.’
The Toronto Series helps to keep the team financially viable, while staying in Buffalo.

5. Chris,
Do you see the Bills keeping Perry Fewell around after the season is over?  I like a lot of Bills Fans, like his attitude and think he will be a great loss on the Defensive side, and the same goes for Bobby April. What do you think?
Frederick, MD

CB: I do think both Fewell and April have a lot to offer, but a new head coach generally likes to bring in his own people. I think April has the resume to be offered a job on the staff, no matter what head coach comes in, but I doubt he will take it. It wouldn’t surprise me if April felt passed over for the interim head coaching job, especially with Assistant Head Coach as part of his title under Dick Jauron.
It’s my belief April will be moving on after this season is over, and make no mistake it would be a great loss.

As for Fewell, unless a new coach coming in is a big believer in the Tampa-2 scheme he too is likely to be looking for work elsewhere. It sounds cruel, but these men know its part of the business. I like what Fewell has done in his stint as interim head coach, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the organization determines that they have to wipe the slate clean and turn the page on all that is associated with the Dick Jauron era.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Another NFL team looking for coach?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 10:15 am

One advantage the Bills have had in their preliminary search for a new head coach is time. Time to get in touch with every one of their top candidates without worrying about getting beaten to the punch by other NFL teams looking for coaches. But they may now have some competition.

Per Pro Football Weekly Editor in chief Hub Arkush, the Chicago Bears have already begun surveying the NFL landscape for a new GM and head coach.

Arkush specifically named Mike Shanahan, Bill Cowher and Jon Gruden while appearing on a Chicago Sports Radio Station. The Bears are denying the report.

According to Yahoo Sports, the Chicago Bears are on Bill Cowher’s list of teams that would “excite him.” And we all know the connection that Shanahan would have with the Bears, with Jay Cutler now playing there.

This isn’t going to be easy.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Interesting take on Cowher pursuit

Posted by Chris Brown on November 24, 2009 – 3:10 pm

While National Football Post guest columnist Robert Boland commends the Bills for trying to land the big fish in Bill Cowher, he believes there are a lot of factors at play concerning the Buffalo job and Cowher’s approach to the NFL coaching landscape.

Boland thinks Cowher’s decision not to meet with the Bills was done more to benefit his own leverage than interest or disinterest in the job. Knowing Shanahan will be listening, Cowher loses leverage knowing he’s in competition with Shanahan for the position. Of course that could back fire as it may be perceived as a lack of interest in returning to coaching.

He speculates that Cowher is looking for a very specific situation (close to his N.C. home, a roster with a proven QB and final say over all personnel matters). Tough to say that perfect storm type position will even exist this offseason.

In the end Cowher’s aim is apparently to have more than one team courting him at the same time thereby allowing him to leverage one team against the other (there’s that leverage thing again).

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Posted in Inside the Bills Bills contact Cowher

Posted by Chris Brown on November 23, 2009 – 8:39 pm

According to’s Jason LaCanfora, the Bills have made contact with former Steeelers head coach and current CBS football analyst Bill Cowher.

Per the report on Cowher informed the Bills that he isn’t interested in speaking to any teams about potential jobs until after the season. But citing a source LaCanfora reports that Cowher is more interested in returning to coaching this offseason than any other previous one since he left the Steelers in 2006.

Cowher also apparently isn’t interested in a management/coach role. He wants to coach only.

Posted in Inside the Bills Shanahan to meet with Bills next week

Posted by Chris Brown on November 19, 2009 – 6:25 am

In the rapidly changing world of the NFL hiring process, a meeting with former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan is apparently going to take place next week for the Bills front office.

That according to’s Vic Carucci, who said owner Ralph Wilson and COO/GM Russ Brandon will meet with Shanahan next week as Brandon is overseeing the hiring process. It sounds as if the organization is ready to cede control of the entire personnel side of the organization over to a coach the caliber of Shanahan, who Carucci reports is currently the frontrunner for the position.

Even though Washington has tried more than once to lure Shanahan to run their organization, Buffalo’s job is apparently more appealing due to the solid financial footing it rests on with respect to salary cap and dead money on its books in player salaries.

Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher is also on a short list, but Shanahan is the main focus, likely due to his strong offensive background, an area of Buffalo’s team that has been near the bottom of the league for most of the decade.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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