'We were an underachieving football team'

Donte Whitner sums up Bills' epic collapse, Wilson hints at no coaching changes, Simpson gets into trouble and more news 'n notes...

--Three members of the Bills family are up for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when final voting is held Jan. 31 in Tampa, the day before Super Bowl XLIII. The team's all-time receiver Andre Reed, its all-time sack leader, Bruce Smith, and its owner and founder, Ralph Wilson, made the cut from 25 semifinalists to 17. Smith, the NFL's career leader in sacks, is a lock to make the Hall. Reed, a three-time finalist, has a decent shot. He retired as the NFL's third all-time receiver but has slowly been going down the list. Wilson, also a finalist for a third time, helped shape the modern NFL but he has never been very popular among voters. His main competition is former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

--Wilson confirmed to Buffalo television station Channel 2 that he doesn't anticipate any front office or assistant coaching changes. Wilson has elected to keep head coach Dick Jauron and honor a three-year contract extension he signed despite Jauron's three consecutive 7-9 records. Jauron has full hiring and firing authority for his staff. "That's up to Dick," Wilson said when asked about assistant coaching changes. Like Wilson, Jauron is content to stick with the status quo.

--DE Aaron Schobel, who will be coming off a Lisfranc foot injury that cost him 11 games in 2008, will also be turning 32 before next season. There's a lot of speculation the two-time Pro Bowler's best football is behind him, given that in 2007 when he was healthy, he only registered 61/2 sacks. "For me, I'm using it as motivation," he told buffalobills.com of his detractors. "A lot of off-seasons, I take off at the beginning of the year, but I feel like I've already got a lot to prove." Of his foot, he said: "It's getting better. I think a lot of my pain is coming from the bone bruises and not the ligament, which is good." No surgery is planned on his foot but team doctors continue to monitor his rehab closely.

--Free safety Ko Simpson, whose standing as a 2009 starter is already in question, didn't do himself any favors by being arrested outside a Rock Hill, S.C., bar on New Year's Day. Police alleged he wouldn't leave while they were trying to clear the area of patrons, and he was charged with hindering a police investigation. Simpson played in all 16 games last season, but his playing time dropped when the Bills shifted Donte Whitner to free safety and moved Bryan Scott into the starting strong safety spot. Simpson allegedly told the arresting officers, "I'm Ko Simpson with the Buffalo Bills. I am worth millions."

--How epic was Buffalo's collapse from a 5-1 start to a 7-9 finish? The Bills became just the third team in the 31 years the NFL has been playing a 16-game schedule to start 5-1 and finish with a losing record. Since 1978, teams opening 5-1 or 6-0 have made the playoffs 87 percent of the time. Said SS Donte Whitner: "We were an underachieving football team, that's what we are."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's the players, we have to play harder. The coaches here do a great job. Dick Jauron does an unbelievable job of taking care of the players and preparing us each and every game. It's on us. We have to do our part. That's the most important thing. On Sundays, we have to go out and play the game like we've been coached and like we know how to play it." -- LB Paul Posluszny when asked what has to change in Buffalo, which has missed the playoffs nine consecutive seasons.

Courtesy of The Sports Xchange.


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