Thursday, December 30, 2004

Here come the Bills

Funny thing about sports, is the so called Guru's. Guys from ESPN exc. who get to predict how one season is going to be.

Truth is that stats don't mean crap. It is about the team. It has always been about the team. Eric Moulds knows that.

"It doesn't matter who is getting the ball or who is getting the stats, just as long as we're winning," said wide receiver Eric Moulds. "There is a big difference since I've been here. Guys are unselfish and want to win games."

The Bills started the season at 0-4. Then critics of course criticized Coach Mike Mularkey about the lack of scoring, scoring just 51 points in their 0-4 start. Then road wins became a problem but Mularkey seems to be getting his team overcome the mental mistakes and not listen to what other sports writers had to say.

The Bills would need a win to help send them to the playoffs. And win against the Steelers. It will be tough, but the fact the Bills haven't been to the playoffs since 1999 might motivate them enough to out score the Steelers.

FYI - If the Bills make the playoffs, they will be the second team in NFL history to reach the playoff with a 0-4 start.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

All Business for Bills Fullback Shelton

by Gregg Pastore,
Bills fullback Daimon Shelton may not show up on the stat sheet on Sundays, and he's perfectly fine with that. But the seven-year veteran takes pride in knowing that opposing teams won't miss his numbers when they review the film on Mondays.

After a season away from football, Buffalo's 6-foot, 262-pound fullback is having a Pro Bowl year. Shelton is the ideal lead blocker, mixing power and leverage along with his size to help him blow up defenders at the point of attack.

"As long as I'm doing my job and opening holes for the running back that's my reward," said Shelton.

Shelton has helped pave the way for 100-yard rushing games in six of Willis McGahee's first nine NFL starts and Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements credits a large part of the team's success running the ball this season to the former Sacramento State tailback.

"He's probably the best blocking fullback I've been around," said Clements. "A smart and physical player, he never makes a mistake and when you ask him to do something he'll do it to the best of his ability. He's certainly having a great year and it would be nice to see him get some recognition."

Shelton was out of football in 2003 after being released by the Chicago Bears at the end of training camp last summer. Buffalo was only team to contact him.

"I came out and worked out for the Bills and shortly after that I signed," said Shelton. "I'm happy to be here and hoping that it's all worked out for the good."

Bills guard Chris Villarrial played with Shelton for two seasons in Chicago and he describes him as a hard nosed player that is all business.

"He's very quiet but he is a guy that brings his lunch pale to work every day," said Villarrial. "He comes to work, does his job, and goes home. You never hear him complaining."

I'm glad to see him doing so well this year. He really deserves it. In the off-season he works as hard as he can and he never gripes."

Earlier this season, Head Coach Mike Mularkey called Shelton the team's most consistent player on offense.

"I'd like to know if there's a fullback playing better in the league," Mularkey said. "I mean that. Daimon has been a great addition to this team. He's a very solid football player."

Ironically, Shelton signed with Bills prior to the team hiring Mularkey but when the two sat down to talk for the first time, Shelton was convinced he would fit right in.

"He talked how he wanted to establish the run and be a physical team and that was right up my alley," Shelton said.

For Shelton, becoming a successful fullback requires more than film study.

Earlier this season Shelton told Bills Digest, the team's official publication, that he feels it's important to establish a relationship with the back he's blocking for.

"I try to establish a relationship right away with the running backs I'm blocking for, so maybe we'll watch film together or we'll talk about different looks and different adjustments we both can make to be successful. It's definitely an on and off the field relationship."

After scoring his first career NFL touchdown, running back Willis McGahee handed the ball to Shelton as a reward for providing a key block that sprung McGahee for the 5-yard TD run.

After a spectacular first season the question remains will Shelton be elected to his first Pro Bowl this week?

"It comes to mind and sometimes the coaches say stuff about going to the Pro Bowl after the year off and how exciting that would be," Shelton last week. "I try not to focus on that too much because if it happens then it's going to happen. I just try to keep my focus on a weekly schedule and concentrate on the team that we play that week."

Pro Bowl or not, Shelton has made his presence felt this year for the Bills.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Tight End Campbell Out; Trafford In

Gregg Pastore,
Sunday's win over the AFC East rival Miami Dolphins came at a cost for the Bills.

Starting tight end Mark Campbell injured his ACL on his right knee and has been placed on Injured Reserve. Head Coach Mike Mularkey said the six-year veteran has not had surgery.

Campbell is third among Buffalo receivers with 17 catches for 203 yards and five touchdowns.

To make matters worse, backup tight end Tim Euhus has been listed as doubtful to play this week against the Browns. Euhus injured his right knee against Miami and his status is still being evaluated.

To fill the void at tight end, the Bills signed Rod Trafford on Wednesday. Trafford had been part of the Philadelphia Eagles practice squad since Week 2.

The former NFL Europe standout is familiar with Buffalo's offense, having spent part the entire 2004 preseason with the team before being released a week before the regular season began.

"Rod has been out of the system for four months and we'll get him caught up as much as we can with out overloading him and expecting him to do too much," Mularkey said on Wednesday.

The Bills also have tight end Ryan Neufeld on the roster and Mularkey has confidence in Neufeld's ability should he be pressed into extended duty.

"Obviously Ryan Neufeld played a lot in the game this past week and I thought he played extremely well," said Mularkey.

Neufeld is an athletic tight end that catches the ball well and has shown versatility as part of the special teams unit.

"You've got to have guys that can step in and play for you," said quarterback Drew Bledsoe. "We'll address it in the best way that we can. As with any position you have to have somebody to step in and play at a high level so that you can stay on track."

Mularkey said that tight end/offensive tackle Jason Peters will also have a limited role at tight end behind Neufeld.

"We have enough personnel groupings scheme wise to get it done," said Mularkey.

Meanwhile, veteran cornerback Troy Vincent is listed as questionable for the Browns game with a lingering knee injury that has kept him sidelined for the past nine games. Vincent did practice fully with the team on Wednesday.