AFC East preview [6:32 AM]
D and C reports: '2 - BUFFALO BILLS. Coach Wade Phillips; 11-5 last season, lost 22-16 to Tennessee in AFC wild-card game. The Bills hit the salary cap wall this offseason and the makeover has left a younger but still dangerous team. Keys include keeping QB Rob Johnson healthy and filling a few defensive holes.'
Air Martz looks great, but err Rams do not [6:30 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'In the first half alone, the teams combined for 45 points, and 582 yards of offense.'
Bills are confident that turnover hasn't gutted team's soul [6:27 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: '"Great players don't always mean leadership," Phillips said during a conference call Wednesday. "They are certainly great players. All three of the guys we've lost are Hall of Famers, but so was Jim Kelly a couple of years ago. "Our captains of our team have been Phil Hansen and Henry Jones. They have been captains of our defense for a long time. So, we didn't lose either of them. Our quarterback is certainly a leader. Ruben Brown has been a captain of our team on offense. We didn't actually lose the captains of our team; we lost some great players, all-time great players."'
Bills 31, Rams 27 [6:18 AM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo's Rob Johnson also had a big half in an often sloppy game, going 8-for-12 for 237 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson hit a wide-open Jeremy McDaniel for a 51-yard gain to the Rams 5 on the third play of the game. He and McDaniel also hooked up for an 85-yard touchdown with 2:32 left in the first quarter. Johnson hit Jay Riemersma for a 5-yard score and Bobby Collins for a 26-yard score.'
Bills 31, Rams 27 [6:13 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Buffalo Bills got big contributions from three players who gave them very little last season. Shawn Bryson's three-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter powered the Bills to a 31-27 exhibition victory over the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams.'
Bills' key players to get more work against Rams [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills coach Wade Phillips is continuing to evaluate rookies before the first roster cuts next week. But his main priority is giving most of the playing time to those he expects will contribute during the regular season. "I plan on playing a good group," he said. "It may not be the starters all the time, but guys who are good enough to play in a (regular-season) game. (Center) Billy Conaty can play. He showed that to us last year. He may play some for Jerry (Ostroski), and then Jerry may come back in. I'd like to have our best players out there for a good while."'
Defensive backs tackling big test [6:51 AM]
D and C reports: '...given the nature of the Rams' high-scoring offense, even with Warner on the sidelines most of the night, the Buffalo secondary will be in for a major test when the Rams and Bills meet at the Trans World Dome in the third preseason game for each team. "We're looking forward to it, and I know after the game they played the other night they're going to be a little bit fired up on their end," said Bills defensive backs coach Bill Bradley, referring to the 30-3 pasting the Rams suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. "It's going to be a challenge. They throw the ball deep a lot, and it's a contrast to what we just faced (against Detroit). This is a real key game for some of the young guys."'
Rams will stick to philosophy but try to play Bills tougher [6:48 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'Look for the Rams to turn up the intensity level Saturday night against Buffalo. But will they pull a Tennessee, and summon Michael Buffer, skydivers and fireworks for preseason game No. 3? Absolutely not.'
Rams vs. Bills: Jim Thomas' 5 Things to Watch [6:45 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'Here are five key areas to watch Saturday night when the Rams play Buffalo at the Trans World Dome...'
Warner's shoulder is OK; he will play Saturday [6:43 AM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'Earlier in the week, Martz had indicated that Warner might not play because of soreness in his throwing shoulder. But after Thursday's workout, Martz said, "He'll probably get at least a quarter of work, maybe a little bit more. If he's going to play at all, he needs to practice."'
Preview: Buffalo [6:41 AM]
Rams Update reports: 'In terms of dynasties, the Buffalo Bills may never get proper accolades for their string of success in the 1990s. The franchise compiled a mark of 103-57 and earned eight playoff berths in the process. It also earned four straight invitations to the Super Bowl, something still not matched in NFL annals. But that was then. This is now. The 2000 Bills will bear little resemblance to the recent editions of the team, as 15 veterans were either released and/or left via free agency. That includes the aging trio of running back Thurman Thomas, wide receiver Andre Reed and defensive end Bruce Smith, as well as starting defensive backs Thomas Smith and Kurt Schulz from the league's stingiest defense in 1999.'
Warner to play first half against Bills [8:53 PM]
AP reports: 'The NFL MVP, held out of practice two days this week, is scheduled to play the first half of Saturday night's exhibition game against Buffalo. He could use some work after throwing only six passes in limited action in the first two games. "I was real concerned about the arm,'' coach Mike Martz said Friday. "Provided things are fine, he may go a half."'
Bills defense looks to shut down Rams [8:44 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo (1-1), which finished 1999 atop the league in pass defense and tied with Tampa Bay for fewest touchdowns allowed (23), will have its hands full in containing the high-flying Rams. St. Louis (1-1) scored 525 points last season and averaged 272.1 yards per game through the air. Rams quarterback Kurt Warner sliced up plenty of defenses, going to weapons such as Isaac Bruce, Tory Holt and Marshall Faulk out of the backfield. "It's great to go against a great passing offense," said Bills head coach Wade Phillips. "All their stats are unbelievable as far as last year ... and, of course, that's why they won the world championship."'
Pingel makes last-ditch effort to earn NFL job with Buffalo [1:11 PM]
St. Louis Post Dispatch reports: 'Pingel wasn't sure he would be invited to an NFL camp, even after finishing his college career with an NCAA record 436 receptions, which shattered Jerry Rice's mark of 301. He established seven all-division records, including career yards (6,108), receiving touchdowns (75) and receptions per game (13.6). He received the 1999 Melberger Award, which is given to the Division III player of the year. As astonishing as Pingel's statistics were at Westminster [College], his 4.7-second time in the 40 wasn't exactly the stuff that makes the NFL take notice. These days, he's training with the likes of Buffalo receivers Peerless Price and Eric Moulds, and while doing so has determined that he can play professionally at some level. "As far as practice goes, I'd like to be getting more reps, but I have seen improvement in my game," he said. "Coming from Division III, I thought the cornerbacks would totally kill me, but I'm finding out how to play them. I've always felt I belong here. I never have felt out of my element."'
Phillips ready for roster trimming time [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills will trim their 79-man roster to 65 as early as Monday, a day before the NFL-imposed deadline. Some of the cuts will be easier than others, but coach Wade Phillips said there is still time for players to make an impression. "The talent evaluation will go all the way through," Phillips said. "There may be a couple of guys on the bubble as far as 65, so you want to get it right every time. I think there will be a pretty good competition over who will be the final 53. "The last two weeks are important for guys, but the most important thing is getting ready for that first game with the guys who are going to play it."'
One tough Cookie that wouldn't crumble [7:52 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Today, after a number of ambitious, innovative but, ultimately, disappointing business ventures, the well-spoken 65-year-old is living in the Philadelphia area, polishing his biography. He's lost none of his combativeness, nor his conviction he's been a life-long victim of racism...So now that you have your own provocative Internet Web site (http://www.cookiegilchrist.com), what do you propose to call your book? "The Cookie that did not Crumble."'
Hansen steps out of the shadows [6:03 AM]
D and C reports: 'In reality, Hansen -- in his unassuming way -- has always been a reliable leader and coach Wade Phillips said that will not change. "He's still leading by example, but he's also a vocal leader, and he's been a captain for a number of years," said Phillips. "We get the leadership qualities we need from him and we always have." Said Hansen: "It's really hard to believe that Bruce, Thurman and Andre are gone, but now it's time for guys like myself and Henry to take a more prominent role. "I don't think it's a burden, I think it's my responsibility as a 10-year member of the Buffalo Bills to make sure that this team stays on course and does what it has done in the past and that's be a good successful team." The best way Hansen can do that is to lead by example, which is what he has always done.'
Bills Preparing for the St. Louis Rams
Shout! reports: 'Where was the second practice field? Where was the crowd? The Bills returned to the practice field outside the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse for a session closed to the public. The cloudy, breezy day was another reminder that fall was coming.'
Former Bill reunited with ring [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Former Buffalo Bills executive Chuck Burr was reunited with his lost championship ring Wednesday night as he and Paul Hudson, who found the ring, met for the first time. Burr lost his 1964 AFL Championship ring 30 years ago while playing catch on the edge of Lake Erie at Sherkston. Hudson found it in July off Wyldewood Beach at Sherkston Shores while snorkeling with his metal detector.'
Bills happy to put camp in rearview [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This year's camp drew 122,000 fans and was considered a marketing coup, as the Bills tried to further regionalize the team.'
UB rookies made it easier for each other [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Drew Haddad and Josh Roth found their first NFL training camp experience to be a bit wearisome. And they're glad they had each other as much as they're glad it's over. The rookies from the University at Buffalo broke camp with the rest of the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, departing St. John Fisher College for their local apartments. Haddad, a receiver drafted in the seventh round, and Roth, a free agent fullback, were roommates at camp. Whether things were going well or poorly, their friendship made the experience that much better. "We're very fortunate to have the opportunity we have," Haddad said. "Every night we would just sit there and joke and talk about the things that happened at UB. "Like when we won (the Bills' preseason opener) against Cincinnati. That was our first win in a long time."'
Players glad camp grind ends [6:19 AM]
D and C reports: '"Rochester's nice, but you want to get home, sleep in your own bed and eat your own food," quarterback Rob Johnson said.'
Bills offense still lacks chemistry [6:18 AM]
D and C reports: '"Offense takes a little more time than defense, we've got to be totally on the same page, and if one guy screws up, the play doesn't work."'
Rookie Jones earns high praise from Bills [6:16 AM]
D and C reports: 'Early in training camp, Buffalo Bills veteran linebacker Sam Rogers pulled rookie Fred Jones to the side and whispered, in so many words, "Don't worry kid, you've got this team made." When word filtered back to coach Wade Phillips that Rogers might be filling Jones' head with grandiose praise, he quipped: "I want Sam and the rest of the team to worry about cuts. Maybe Sam better worry about Freddie." Indeed. Jones, like Rogers a product of the University of Colorado, began making plays in practice on Day One and hasn't stopped. With the first cut to 65 players fast approaching on Tuesday, Mr. Jones is among the few newcomers who can breathe easy, not that he'll allow himself that pleasure, despite what Rogers has told him. "I'd stress myself out thinking like that," he said. "Every day out here, anything can happen. All I can do is try my best. If it's not good enough, at least I know I tried."'
Bills break camp with focus on regular season [8:34 PM]
AP reports: 'The new-look Buffalo Bills broke training camp Wednesday with much still to do, but with some pieces firmly in place. With almost three weeks of practices and two preseason games behind them, the Bills relocate to their Orchard Park home to concentrate on the regular season.'
Bills end SJF workouts, then thank fans [2:37 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'After the separate offensive and defensive workouts and before the 7-on-7 drills, coach Wade Phillips interrupted Tuesday afternoon's practice for about 15 minutes and had players go the fences to sign autographs for the crowd of over 8,000. "The players want to get home to their families," Phillips said of today's expected hasty exit following practice. "And I didn't want it to look like we didn't care or that (the fans' support) wasn't important to us. "That's why I thought we should make the gesture to all the fans today. We opened camp that way (with an autograph session) and we finished it up that way."
New Flutie Flakes on sale Wednesday night! [1:31 PM]
TBD reports: If you are one of the 1st three online orders - you will receive an autographed box! Find out more...
Coverages still shy of special [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Considering how bad the Buffalo Bills' kickoff coverage looked on its final play of the 1999 campaign, maybe fans should be a little more forgiving when watching this year's unit get the kinks out. The Bills, who covered dozens of kicks in actual games and countless more in camps and practices, were embarrassed when their season ended on the Tennessee Titans' now-infamous Home Run Throwback return. So if the Bills' special teams can have that sort of letdown after all that repetition and with their playoff lives at stake, it only stands to reason those units will experience some growing pains this year with a new coach and a slew of young players. "They're going to make mistakes," coach Wade Phillips said after Tuesday afternoon's practice at St. John Fisher College. "I saw the aggressiveness I want, but some of the techniques and mental mistakes we've gotta correct. We've gotta get that aggressiveness tuned in."'
Thomas surfaces as Dolphin [7:28 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Then there's the prospect of playing the Bills at least twice a year in the AFC East. Thomas insists that wasn't a factor in signing with Miami, but can hardly contain his desire to see the Bills again. Miami hosts the Bills on Oct. 8 and visits Buffalo on Dec. 3. "It won't be just another game for me," Thomas says. "It's personal." Thomas left Buffalo with a bitter taste, he says, because he learned the news that he, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed were going to be cut while watching ESPN2, when a news item "crawl" appeared at the bottom on the screen. He says it wasn't until after the release was official that GM John Butler called. Had the team approached him earlier, Thomas says, he might have just announced his retirement as a Bill rather than be humiliated with a release. Thomas and Reed share the Bills record for career touchdowns (87). "I was angry," he says. "I was upset over how it went down. But I'll use it to motivate me. I always seem to find something to keep me going."'
Camp ends smash run [6:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'But from owner Ralph Wilson on down, no one on the Bills seems to question that the camp at Fisher met its marketing goals, showcasing the team before large numbers of fans. (Indeed Wilson believes that the camp may have outdrawn all other NFL camps.) "The reception by the people in Rochester was just great," Wilson said by telephone yesterday. "Our players, our staff, everybody was accepted. We were really pleased."'
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