Wilson wants more offense

Updated: October 11, 2004, 7:24 PM ET
Associated Press

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson is unhappy with his team's troubled start, and rookie coach Mike Mularkey can't blame him.

Mularkey doesn't agree with Wilson's suggestion the Bills open up their offense after managing just five touchdowns in losing their first four games.

"When you say open up the offense, I'm not sure what open up is. Are we going to be an Indianapolis? No," Mularkey said Monday, referring to the Peyton Manning-led Colts, who lead the NFL in scoring. "I don't think we're going to change our whole offensive philosophy, because when we've done it right, it's worked."

Mularkey was responding to comments Wilson made following the Bills' 16-14 loss at the New York Jets on Sunday.

"I thought we played lackluster," Wilson told The Buffalo News. "I was hoping we'd come down here and really open it up. ... I've had enough of this smashmouth football."

Believing the offense is leaving Bills fans bored, Wilson said quarterback Drew Bledsoe should throw deep more often, even if it means risking interceptions.

Mularkey said he had not read Wilson's comments, but added that they were likely made out of frustration.

"I think we're all frustrated," Mularkey said. "And he has every right to be, being where we are right now."

Right now, the Bills are going nowhere. The Bledsoe-led offense's best outing was 247 yards passing in a 31-17 loss to New England on Oct. 3. Bledsoe has failed to surpass 200 yards passing in Buffalo's three other games, and the Bills have yet to score more than 17 points in a contest.

The running game hasn't been any better. The Bills are averaging only 95 yards per game, and have yet to score a TD rushing.

Mularkey is against a deep-passing attack because of the Bills' protection troubles. Bledsoe, who's immobile, has already been sacked a league-leading 19 times -- once for every seven times he drops back.

"Throw it a little more, maybe deeper? We did. We tried and we got sacked," Mularkey said. "We're going to keep doing whatever we can to protect him and take some shots when the shots are there."

Buffalo is now one of only two NFL teams yet to win a game this season. The other is Miami (0-5), who the Bills host Sunday.

Unlike the injury-riddled Dolphins, the Bills are relatively healthy, but proving incapable of winning in the clutch. Three of the Bills' four losses have been by three points or less. On three occasions they've squandered fourth-quarter leads.

And the blame can't be pinned on the offense alone.

The defense has had its share of letdowns, twice allowing teams to take the lead in the final minute. That includes Sunday's game, in which Doug Brien hit the winning field goal with 58 seconds left, capping a 5-minute, 60-yard drive.

"If we realize how to win games in the clutch, we could be 4-0 or at least 2-2," offensive lineman Ross Tucker said. "You just learn to do it by doing it. And we will."

Safety Izell Reese called it a matter of the whole team playing consistently.

"We've just got to keep fighting and stay together," Reese said. "It's easy for a team to get divided when things are going this way. But that's one thing I'm not seeing. ... We're going to get through this."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press