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Wilson wants more offense

10/11/2004 - Buffalo Bills

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."