Inside The Bills

Gailey-Shanahan: Mutual respect

Posted by Chris Brown on October 27, 2011 – 9:42 am

While there may have been an effort by the media to make the meeting between head coaches Chan Gailey and Mike Shanahan this Sunday personal, Buffalo and Washington’s head coach indicated it will be anything but.

With Bills fans clamoring for the hire of Shanahan during the 2010 coaching search, it’s safe to say that Chan Gailey was not the popular choice outside the walls of One Bills Drive. When asked about not being the first choice of the fan base Gailey had a clever response.

“We’ve got a bunch of folks on our team that weren’t the first choice,” he said. “So I fit right in.”

Gailey also said that going against Shanahan won’t carry any extra weight this Sunday. That’s because there’s mutual respect and a working history, as the two coached together on the same Denver Broncos staff under Dan Reeves (1985-87, 1989-90).

“Chan and I go back to our days in Denver, we knew each other in college, and we’re very close friends and been friends for a long time,” said Shanahan. “It’s great to see what Chan has done (in Buffalo)…it doesn’t surprise me at all.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Gailey and Shanahan go way back

Posted by Chris Brown on August 13, 2010 – 11:25 am

Chan Gailey and Mike Shanahan are two coaching veterans that share a mutual respect for one another.

Part of the reason is they coached together under Dan Reeves with the Broncos in the mid-80’s working for three seasons together.

“I probably talk to Mike as much as any coach in the league,” said Gailey.

The two have not spoken however, leading up to this preseason opener tonight. With two veteran coaches that are still ultra-competitive both would no doubt like to beat each other as they make new starts with new NFL clubs.

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Report: Shanahan leaning toward QB

Posted by Chris Brown on February 9, 2010 – 1:45 pm

According to the Washington Post, Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan is “eager to draft and develop a young quarterback.”

The Post cites a league source familiar with Shanahan’s line of thinking, which in my mind doesn’t hold a ton of water since it’s second hand. Obviously with Shanahan’s history, which includes drafting Jay Cutler, and his propensity for offense it’s not surprising that this speculative report exists.

What I find interesting is ESPN’s Todd McShay isn’t convinced that QB will be the pick at 4 for the Redskins, which obviously could have a big impact on how the top 10 picks play out, and affect the Bills who sit at ninth overall.

“Bradford is fighting to get in the top 10 and Washington seems like the best fit, but something tells me they’re going to wind up going with a different position,”  said McShay on a national conference call. “They can’t afford with the first pick of the new regime to make a mistake and Bradford has just enough red flags that they may pass.” 

McShay goes on to point out that he could see Shanahan taking an offensive tackle at four knowing veteran LT Chris Samuels is expected to retire after a neck injury.

“Shanahan might like (OT) Anthony Davis,” McShay said. “Each one of the elite first rounders has something you point to that you’re not wild about. I don’t think (Okla. OT) Trent Williams played real well this year. He was dinged up and moved from right to left tackle.  (Okla. St. OT) Okung is physical at times, but not always. Then with Davis there are some questions about his maturity and injuries. But I do think that Davis would fit what they would be looking to do in terms of athleticism and getting out and moving. I think we’re going to see Anthony Davis move up the board. There’s a really good chance he’s a top 10 pick.”

Number four overall however, seems high for Davis, as there isn’t a consensus among talent evaluators as to whether he’ll be NFL ready on day one. Perhaps Washington trades down to grab their tackle for better value. Either way just hearing the divergence of speculative reporting on the direction Washington will take confirms that probably no one knows what they’re going to do.

If Washington does pass on a QB, the only other teams that are likely to take one before the Bills pick at 9 would be Seattle (#6) and Cleveland (#7).

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Shanahan pulls name as Bills coaching candidate

Posted by Chris Brown on December 27, 2009 – 10:41 am

Former Denver head coach Mike Shanahan is officially off the list of coaching candidates for the Bills.

Shanahan has requested that his name be removed from the list of candidates. That according to the Buffalo News.

The two-time Super Bowl winning head coach has also drawn interest from the Washington Redskins.

Truthfully it’s not surprising that Shanahan has removed his name. Shanahan’s next coaching job is likely to be his last at age 57. He undoubtedly would prefer to go to a team where he can be successful immediately. In contrast Buffalo has somewhat of a rebuilding effort to undertake.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Offer still there for Shanahan?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 20, 2009 – 7:55 am

According to Pro Football Talk, the Bills coaching offer to Mike Shanahan still stands.

Citing a conversation presumably with a league source, Pro Football Talk maintains that Buffalo’s offer to Shanahan is still on the table despite all the reports coming out of Washington DC that the former Broncos head coach is already negotiating with the Redskins in the wake of Bruce Allen being named GM this past week.

Reports surfaced earlier this week that Shanahan communicated to the Bills that he and Allen were a “package deal” as front office man and coach.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Shanahan to Redskins?

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2009 – 9:54 am

With the resignation of Redskins front office czar Vinny Cerrato there is rampant speculation that his stepping down clears the way for Mike Shanahan.

ProFootballTalk is citing a league source as saying that Shanahan, who has met more than once with Washington owner Daniel Snyder, does not care for Cerrato, so Cerrato resigned.

There are sure to be further developments on this in the not too distant future.

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

Shanahan: “We had an excellent meeting.”

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 12:59 pm

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter Bills COO/GM has met with former Denver head coach Mike Shanahan in Denver.

Per the report, Brandon was very persuasive with his pitch to Shanahan.

“We had an excellent meeting,” Shanahan told Schefter Wednesday. “I was really impressed with Russ Brandon and everything he had to say. We’re going to stay in touch and see what develops.”

This is certainly a positive first step. Unlike Cowher and Holmgren, who have reportedly declined to meet with Bills officials until the end of the season, Shanahan at least sounds as if he’s considering what the Bills have put before him.

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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 Wilson ready to spend big

Posted by Chris Brown on November 25, 2009 – 9:49 am

According to, Bills owner Ralph Wilson is ready to invest big time money into a big name coaching candidate.’s Vic Carucci reports that Wilson is willing to spend up to $10M per season on a coach to get his man, which by most accounts is Mike Shanahan. Carucci cites a source close to Shanahan with those figures. That source also said a stake in ownership of the club could also be on the table.

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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

No Shanahan contact… yet

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2009 – 10:53 pm

Despite ESPN’s report that former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan had been contacted by the Bills to meet with the club, National Editor Vic Carruci is reporting that no contact has been made.

Carucci in a blog posting reports that no contact has happened as of Wednesday evening. He does go on to say that the Bills have him on their list as a person of interest, but conversations about meeting have yet to take place.

Hold onto your hats Bills fans it’s going to be a crazy final seven weeks and a mad, mad January.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Shanahan contacted by Bills?

Posted by Chris Brown on November 18, 2009 – 3:45 pm

ESPN is reporting that former Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan has been contacted by the Buffalo Bills in an effort to arrange a meeting.

That according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who also reports that Shanahan is willing to listen according to two of his league sources. Shanahan has said in the past that he wants to be back coaching in 2010. Schefter also mentions Jim Haslett, former Bills offensive coordinator and current Giants OC Kevin Gilbride as possible candidates. He also listed Montreal head coach Marc Trestman in the CFL, who was a former 49ers coordinator.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Bills practicing outside

Posted by Chris Brown on December 18, 2008 – 4:42 pm

For the first time in a month the Bills are practicing outside here on Thursday. The team has been practicing in their Fieldhouse for a while, but with the forecast in Denver expected to be in the single digits Sunday, it’s probably a good idea to get out in the elements.

Denver head coach Mike Shanahan is encouraged that Jay Cutler played well on a cold rainy day in New York a few weeks back, but he’s wondering how both quarterbacks will perform in Sunday’s forecast frozen conditions.

“Cutler’s a guy who enjoys the elements. He played great in New York in that rainstorm we had,” said Shanahan. “We haven’t played with the conditions we’ll probably have on game day being somewhere around zero. but we’ll see if he can do it then.”

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Posted in Inside the Bills

Broncos won’t be scoreboard watching

Posted by Chris Brown on December 17, 2008 – 10:23 pm

Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan knows all his team needs to clinch the AFC West is a loss by San Diego on Sunday OR a win over Buffalo.

San Diego plays at Tampa  Bay at 1pm and the Broncos don’t play the Bills until 4:05pm. So Denver could know if they’re division champs before they take the field against Buffalo.

Only Shanahan doesn’t intend to give his players the means to find that out.

“To be honest with you we’re not going to have any TVs on and we’re not going to have them announce it at the game,” said Shanahan. “I guess if guys want to find out the score they probably could, but it’s not going to be easy for them. I don’t care what San Diego does, we want to play a complete football game and hopefully we will.”

Not hard to respect that approach and after getting beaten 30-10 last week at Carolina in a game in which the Panthers rolled up 23 unanswered points to beat the Broncos, getting back on the winning track is important for Denver heading into the playoffs.

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Posted in Inside the Bills
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