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Monday Morning Bills News

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Let the countdowns begin, folks: as of this morning, we've got 42 days until the start of the free agency period (March 3) and 96 grueling days until day one of the NFL Draft (April 26). Is anyone else still finding it difficult to really buckle in for a long off-season?

As RabidBuffalo pointed out in this diary, ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that the Bills are likely to receive approval to play a 2008 regular season game in Toronto. While it might depress me that I'll only get to go to seven home games next season, I still can't bring myself to resent the move - it's another great idea from COO Russ Brandon to strengthen a fan base over a wider geographic area. Want this game to really mean something, Russ? Go out and put yourself together a playoff team.

Speaking on the Anthony Hargrove suspension, RealFootball365.com's Connor Byrne believes that the virtually certain loss of Hargrove is bad news for the Bills.

Hargrove's numbers in 22 games as a Bill -- 47 tackles, 2.5 sacks -- weren't gaudy, but he was a solid piece on a defense that has sorely lacked useful players during the past two seasons. With Hargrove probably out of the fold, the Bills are now down to a three-man defensive end group (Aaron Schobel, Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney) that's even more mediocre than it was when the season ended late in December. While Hargrove is a decent pass rusher who is good against the run, neither Schobel nor Kelsay brings much of anything for their combined $75 million contracts, and Denney -- like Hargrove -- is a capable backup who shouldn't be counted on to play significant snaps.

Sure - that's all very true. But ultimately, a Hargrove re-signing would have meant that the Bills were satisfied with their end play from 2007 - and they shouldn't be. I'm of the opinion that Hargrove was on his way out anyways, and that the team will look to add a speed rusher in the draft within the first three rounds. After all, it was VP of Pro Personnel John Guy who stated right after the season ended that the club would look to improve at DE, LB and FS.

Mark Gaughan has a nice piece on the loyalty of Dick Jauron - specifically, how he avoided calling out a man (Steve Fairchild-Mularkey) that he would likely have fired had he not taken a head coaching job at Colorado State. Good man, Jauron - keep preachin' that loyalty. Your players love it.

Anybody have HBO? The station is running a series on alcohol consumption at NFL games, and Erie County officials were interviewed for the show. The idea is Bryant Gumbel's, and apparently, Bills fans stand a good chance at being put under the microscope. Personally, I've been attending Bills home games for over a decade as a season ticket holder, and 99% of the fans there - opposing team or not (save Pats fans) - are courteous and cordial, if slightly intoxicated and gleeful that their team is (more likely than not) picking up a road win. It is, however, the only NFL stadium I've been to - so if any of y'all have been to stadiums other than The Ralph, we'd love to hear atmospheric comparisons of game day.