Buffalo to feature powerful running game

New head coach Mike Mularkey plans to bring a much more balanced attack to Buffalo.

Updated: February 10, 2004, 11:00 AM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
When the Buffalo Bills were looking for someone to become their 13th head coach, they didn't take the search lightly. General Manager Tom Donahue knew that his tenure in Buffalo would be defined by this pick after his previous selection, Gregg Williams, failed to achieve a winning record in any of his three seasons in charge. So he went through six thorough interviews before he had a sit-down with Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey.

It was during that face-to-face that Donahoe was so impressed he gave Mularkey a five-year deal, very unusual for a first-time head coach. The deal pays the former tight end $7.5 million, making him the highest-paid coach in franchise history. While it's far too soon to tell whether or not that investment was sound, Mularkey has given indications that he can bring winning football back to Buffalo.

Travis Henry
The running back job in Buffalo is still Travis Henry's to lose.
He started by hiring assistants that spoke specifically to the Bills' glaring weaknesses. In their last three seasons the Bills offensive line has given up 151 sacks, so Mularkey appointed Jim McNally, largely considered one of, if not, the best offensive line coaches in the league to tidy up the unit. Largely due to that lack of protection, Drew Bledsoe looked more like a tackling dummy than a quarterback and had his worst season since his rookie year. So Mularkey brought in former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, who held that position under Bill Walsh in San Francisco, to work with Bledsoe.