Monday, December 30, 2013

Bills' Hilliard firing 'a difference in philosophy'


Despite a 6-10 finish, Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone survived Black Monday and, at this point, seems safe to take another shot at the team's playoff drought in 2014. His wide receivers coach, however, wasn't so lucky.

Basing the decision on "a difference in philosophy," Marrone dismissed former New York Giants wideout Ike Hilliard Monday, the first such move the team has made to alter its coaching staff after another disappointing season.

"We appreciate what Ike has done in helping us try to reach our goal this year and we fell short," Marrone told reporters Monday, via

While it may have been a difference of opinion that ended Hilliard's tenure in Buffalo, the production of the receivers under him certainly didn't help. 

Buffalo's top four receivers (Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Marquise Goodwin, T.J. Graham) had a completion percentage of less than 50 percent, combined to tally 17 drops, and recorded three fumbles, according to ProFootballFocus. And while much of the blame can be placed on injuries to the starters or inconsistencies at the quarterback position, a lack of season-long improvement vs. the talent at his disposal may ultimately be the reason for Hilliard's demise. 

The aforementioned quartet is as a whole under contract for 2014, and each piece is expected to return. That includes No. 1 wideout Johnson, who Bills general manager Doug Whaley said Monday is "under contract; we expect him to be here."

Here are the projected salaries of the four starters for next season:

Stevie Johnson: $3.65 million ($1.75 million roster bonus)
T.J. Graham: $580,000
Robert Woods: $576,217
Marquise Goodwin: $495,000

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