Best Draft 2001 - Buffalo Bills [8:49 AM]
ESPN reports: Yes, we have looked at the Bills' record, so don't suggest that we ought to be fitted for a straitjacket. Eleven of the 12 choices are still on the active roster or injured reserve, and this group, which is starting to produce modest results, will represent the foundation for the future. The top 3 choices have combined for 14 starts, and corner Nate Clements is going to be a "shut down" defender. Buffalo is taking its lumps now, for sure, but the Class of '01 will contribute to improved play over the final 1½ months of this season. The Bills got quality and quantity.
Upon further review, never mind [5:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams, however, is also eager to play a game where plenty of television cameras will be in use. That's because he's 1 of 7 on instant-replay challenges this season, a .143 batting average he feels likely would be better had Buffalo not played in mostly regional telecasts that provide limited camera angles for replay analysis.'
Graham finally realizes dream of kicking in NFL [5:25 AM]
D and C reports: 'In between working as a substitute school teacher, selling cars, and running his own sportswear embroidery business, Shayne Graham has managed to keep alive his dream of becoming a National Football League place-kicker.'
Better Bills [5:25 AM]
D and C reports: 'Of the NFL's three teams with fewer than two victories, the Bills have by far the best combined ranking in total offense and total defense.'
Don't count on Texans taking Johnson from Bills [5:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'League rules dictate that the Texans must spend 38 percent (approximately $30 million) of their salary cap money on the expansion draft, but general manager Charley Casserly reportedly won't be selecting a high-priced, sack-prone veteran quarterback (i.e. Johnson, or Chris Chandler if they were made available) because he knows they'd be sitting ducks behind a porous offensive line.'
Chargers sign Christie [8:36 PM]
AP reports: 'Christie, cut by Buffalo in early October because of a groin injury, will handle field goal attempts and PATs, while struggling Wade Richey will do kickoffs and maybe long field goal attempts.'
Chargers sign free agent K Steve Christie [8:34 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Terms were not disclosed, but ESPN reported the deal to be at one year for $477,000.'
Van Pelt making a case as Bills full-time starter [8:34 PM]
AP reports: '"I'm real pleased that Alex has given us a chance offensively right now to be in these ballgames," Williams said. "He's given us some life."'
Graham ready to quit his day job for Bills [8:32 PM]
AP reports: 'To make ends meet, Shayne Graham spent the past two years working odd jobs -- including a stint as a substitute teacher -- while pursuing his dream to become an NFL kicker.'
Second-round picks make big contributions [5:38 PM]
CNNSI reports: "This really has been an impressive second-round group," said Buffalo general manager Tom Donahoe who, in addition to Henry, got suddenly emerging defensive end Aaron Schobel in the second round. "That round is producing a lot of good players."
Early winners and losers from 2001 draft [4:52 PM]
Espn.go.com reports: Yes, we have looked at the Bills' record, so don't suggest that we ought to be fitted for a straitjacket. Eleven of the 12 choices are still on the active roster or injured reserve and this group, which is starting to produce modest results, will represent the foundation for the future. The top three choices have combined for 14 starts and corner Nate Clements is going to be a "shut down" defender. Buffalo is taking its lumps now, for sure, but the Class of '01 will contribute to improved play over the final 1 ½ months of this season. The Bills got quality and quantity.
Power Rating 29 (was 29) [2:13 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Someday, maybe five or 10 years from now, Gregg Williams will be sitting down and reminiscing about the darkest days of his coaching career and the game that topped 'em all, Miami, when he lost it on a blown extra point and a fumbled kickoff. What I will say to him today is, "Get em all out of your system right now, so there won't be any left over for next season."
Chargers will hold audition for relief kicker today [1:32 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: Former Buffalo kicker Steve Christie arrived in town yesterday and passed a physical. Christie is to kick at the Chargers' practice facility this morning and, assuming all goes well, will be signed to a contract and will kick in Sunday's game at Seattle.
Kicker Steve Christie passes physical [1:32 PM]
North County Times reports: 'If the Chargers like what they see from the 34-year-old Christie, they are expected to sign him to compete with beleaguered kicker Wade Richey, whose field-goal misses from 25 and 27 yards cost the Chargers dearly in their 20-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.'
Alex Van Pelt press conference (11/28) [1:18 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: On if the team's quarterback solution last off-season should have been him:
"That's for you guys and the fans. I'm just trying to get ready and give us the best chance to win. I could care less about that, I could care less what people think about Rob and myself, none of that matters to me right now, it would be keeping the guys going and getting us a win."
Henry relegates Morris, Bryson to lesser roles [11:10 AM]
The Sporting News reports: The emergence of rookie RB Travis Henry has resulted in diminished roles for Shawn Bryson and Sammy Morris, the team's top two RBs last year. Henry leads the team with 565 yards in 168 carries; Morris and Bryson have only 73 rushing yards in 17 carries between them. Still, the team values Bryson and Morris because of their versatility. Both are good runners and receivers, and they are key members of the special teams. The Bills have been trying to incorporate them into the offense more in recent weeks. ...
For all the talk about QB Johnson's future, the next several weeks will be an audition for his backup, Alex Van Pelt. Van Pelt will be a free agent after this season, and a strong finish would increase his bargaining power for a new deal. Even if the team decides to keep Johnson beyond this year, it would like to have Van Pelt back. He knows the WCO, and his teammates believe in him. ...
Alex Van Pelt has now thrown $90,000 worth of TD passes [10:05 AM]
ESPN reports: From Chris Mortensen:
For the Bills, how's this for a stat: Alex Van Pelt has now thrown $90,000 worth of TD passes, thanks to injuries suffered by RJ this season. Van Pelt has an incentive clause in his contract that pays him $10,000 per TD pass (he has now thrown nine). Yes, I think if Van Pelt keeps this up, he just might be the Bills' QBfor a while. Maybe a longer while than I ever believed.
Tillman raising his voice, and his game follows [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The way Tillman is playing, Carpenter may struggle to get his job back.'
Arians' dismissal and other Bills bits to kick around [6:41 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Four words of advice for Erik Flowers: Don't buy a house.'
Now it's going to be a kicking merry-go-round [5:20 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's imperative that Williams finds someone dependable because in the National Parity League, games more often than not are decided by a touchdown or less.'
Tom Donahoe Weekly Chat [9:36 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Q: How has Alex performed in his first two starts?
"He's been exceptional in the game's he's played. He's managed the offense very efficiently, he's shown ability to spread the ball around to a multitude of receivers, the reads that he's made in the offense have for the most part been the correct one.
"We were able this week to get our running game going, which we've been inconsistent with this year, but that will only help Alex in the passing game if we can continue to run the football. We've been very pleased with his progress to date, and we want to see him making strides, just like we want to see our team continue to make strides over the last six weeks."
Chargers bring in Christie for audition [9:30 PM]
AP reports: 'If Christie signs, he'll be the fifth former Bills player to follow Butler, Buffalo's GM from 1993 until last December, to San Diego.'
Bills sign K Shayne Graham [9:27 PM]
Sportsticker reports: 'As a collegian, Graham kicked at Virginia Tech and set the Big East Conference record with 371 points. He was a four-time all conference player, an honor shared in the Big East only by Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb.'
Niners rookie RB Barlow doubtful vs. Bills [3:20 PM]
USA Today reports: Rookie RB Kevan Barlow's dislocated shoulder could keep him out of the 49ers game against Buffalo on Sunday night. Barlow is listed as doubtful for the game after injuring his shoulder in the 49ers' 40-21 win over Indianapolis. An MRI exam on the joint revealed no new damage on Monday, but coach Steve Mariucci said Barlow probably won't be ready.
ESPN Special team player of the week [2:27 PM]
ESPN reports: Bills (not good). Kicker Jake Arians missed a PAT, and rookie cornerback/kick returner Nate Clements fumbled a kickoff that set up the game-winning touchdown for the Dolphins.
Eric Moulds named one of ESPN's Prime Time Players [2:09 PM]
ESPN reports: Despite coming out on the losing end of Sunday's game against the Dolphins, Moulds makes the list. Moulds had six receptions for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills' 34-27 loss to Miami.
Moulds, Van Pelt and Henry all make top 10 in Stats Leaders [2:06 PM]
ESPN reports: Eric Moulds was the top WR this week with 6 receptions for 196 yards including 2 TDs against Miami. Van Pelt was #3 QB with 21 of 34 with 309 yards and 3 TD with 1 interception. Travis Henry rounded out the top 10 RBs with 97 yards on 19 attempts.
Pinch kicker in wings [1:35 PM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Chargers director of pro personnel A.J. Smith, who knew Christie from their days together in Buffalo, kept in contact with Christie while he rehabilitated in case the team needed help.'
Source: Bolts will turn to Christie [1:33 PM]
North County Times reports: 'Neither Chargers coach Mike Riley nor general manager John Butler would confirm that Christie is headed to San Diego. Gil Scott, Christie's agent, said, "It's a possibility, but nothing is confirmed."'
Bills sign Graham as kicker [1:18 PM]
AP reports: 'Graham had been released by the Seattle Seahawks before the start of the season. He kicked at Virginia Tech and is the Big East's career scoring leader.'
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