Skinny on Vinny: Don't Fret Stats [5:06 PM]
New York Post reports: 'His slow starts have become a cause for some concern. But Vinny Testaverde has been a symbol of the perseverance the Jets have shown in their first two games. In Green Bay, he looked rusty in the first half, hardly resembling the form he showed in 1998. He overcame the rust in the second half and led the Jets to victory. On Monday night, Testaverde was even worse early, seemingly befuddled by Bill Belichick's defensive schemes. It wasn't until the fourth quarter, when he helped engineer the two critical TD drives, that Testaverde's game came alive.'
Jets aware that Bills defense didn't rebuild, it reloaded [5:05 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills lost four starters, including future Hall of Famer Bruce Smith, off the NFL's top-ranked defense of a year ago. That defense has fallen all the way to third-best in the league after two games. New York Jets coach Al Groh, whose team faces that defense on Sunday, said Wednesday that the Bills are ''just as tough as before, only faster. They are very aggressive, very physical and very speedy. They are not weak in any one area defensively - they have one of the best lines, one of the best groups of linebackers and one of the best defensive backfields. It's a very cohesive operation, and they have a complementary defense.'''
Jets Keep Up the Pressure - Bills' Johnson next on menu [5:02 PM]
New York Daily News reports: 'They nibbled on Brett Favre and devoured Drew Bledsoe. Nowhere comes another potential quarterback-munch for the Jets - the Bills' Rob Johnson, who, in a moment of gallows humor, joked yesterday, "We've shown the ability not to pick up the blitz. I'm sure they're going to come after us."'
Versatile tight end gets Bills out of tight spots [4:51 PM]
AP reports: 'Somehow, Riemersma gets open. And somehow, Bills quarterback Rob Johnson finds him, even if the tight end isn't considered a read on the play. "Obviously, I have a good feel with Jay," Johnson said this week as the Bills prepare for Sunday's showdown against the New York Jets. "One ball he (caught), he's not supposed to do what he did, but he just found the opening. It's easy to see with him because he's not hesitant. "He just goes there and does it. You can read it really well."'
New QB coming [3:49 PM]
Calgary Sun reports: '...quarterback Mike Cawley has agreed to contract terms with the Calgary Stampeders and will join the club, likely late this week. The Stamps had been negotiating for several days with Cawley, who was recently released by the NFL's Buffalo Bills.'
Q&A with Sam Cowart [2:14 PM]
Shout! reports: 'As the Bills' defense continues to thrive at the top of the league, more people are beginning to pay attention. One of the players they are watching is Mo linebacker Sam Cowart. Cowart was recently featured on a conference call with the national media. Here is what he said...'
Taken to task [1:45 PM]
Fox Sports reports: 'From the very beginning, we knew that Rob Johnson was an injury-prone quarterback. He just can't keep taking those kinds of shots with the history he's had. I'm not putting all this on the offensive line, but they do have to hold up a bit better for Rob. And maybe Rob is holding the ball too long. But he needs to be little smarter, too, throw the ball away more and be conscious of getting down or getting out of bounds, or just get rid of the ball quicker. I'm guessing that the offensive linemen will say to themselves, yeah, we can play better, but Rob's got to do his part, too.'
Jets in battle for best 3-4 defense [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'A four-man linebacking unit that stuffs the run, chases down plays sideline to sideline and makes the lives of quarterbacks miserable awaits the Buffalo Bills' offense. No, we're not talking about the four linebackers Rob Johnson & Co. will see in practice today. We're talking about the New York Jets' linebacking unit, which is one of the best in the NFL and might be even better than the Bills' outstanding linebacking corps.'
Youth movement is under way [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills have moved down 10 spots in the NFL's age ranking since last year. Last year, the Bills were tied for the 10th-oldest team in the league. This year, their 53-man roster is tied for the 10th-youngest in the NFL.'
Jets back on top of East [6:37 AM]
D and C reports: '"I remember the last time Testaverde was their quarterback, they won the division," Bills coach Wade Phillips said yesterday, referring to 1998 when Testaverde drove the Jets to their first AFC East division crown and a berth in the AFC Championship Game. "They seem to do the same things they did the last time he played a full season for them."'
Perfect start by state's NFL teams a real rarity [6:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills, Giants and Jets all are off to 2-0 starts this NFL season. When was the last time New York state's three pro football teams all began a season 2-0? Never.'
Renewed Rush Has Bills' Attention [6:35 AM]
New York Times reports: '"The first couple of games, we've shown the ability not to pick up the blitz," Johnson said. "I'm sure they're going to come after us."'
Cowart leads Bills defense in tackling opponents [8:37 PM]
AP reports: '"I'm just going to start calling him the best," Bills defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell said. "He's a guy now who's never coming off the field. How many 'backers can do that? Not too many. "We're starting to run out of superlatives to describe him."'
McDaniel will get souvenir today [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He was open over the middle and when his eyes locked with quarterback Rob Johnson's, Jeremy McDaniel just knew. It was his first touchdown in the National Football League. It came with 48 seconds left in the first half and was the opening score in the Buffalo Bills' 27-18 victory over the Green Bay Packers. "It felt great," the 24-year-old wide receiver said. "When I first made eye contact with Rob, I knew I was getting the touchdown. I was so excited I kept the ball. I think they're going to give it to me on Wednesday."'
Even at 2-0, the Bills still have their problems [6:50 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Following Sunday's solid win over Green Bay, head coach Wade Phillips was disinclined to find fault with a victory that made his team 2-0 and put it atop the AFC East with the New York Jets. But that didn't change the fact that for the second straight game the Bills had no running game and quarterback Rob Johnson took a tremendous beating.'
Pass rush fearsome without adding blitz [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'As if opposing quarterbacks aren't already concerned with the Buffalo Bills defense, there must be one thought that wakes them in the middle of the night in a cold sweat: What if the Bills blitzed? They already have eight sacks on the year, costing opposing offenses 68 yards. At four sacks per game, the Bills are on pace to surpass last year's measly total of 37 sacks (2.3 per game) by November.'
Favre's play puts fears to rest [8:26 AM]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: 'The Bills didn't do anything fancy. They rushed four players on 85% of the Packers' pass plays and never rushed six or seven. It was mano-a-mano with their stout front four in a physical skirmish with the Packers' front on a warm afternoon. Favre was sacked four times but one was a coverage sack and Favre was half-responsible for another when he held the ball too long. Mike Wahle got beat outside by Marcellus Wiley for the sack and fumble that proved to be a critical play late in the first half, but other than that he was solid. So, too, was Ross Verba, who held up well on passing downs against cagey veteran Phil Hansen. Frank Winters was controlled by Ted Washington for a sack and on three runs that went nowhere, but the gargantuan nose tackle is almost impossible to move.'
You Make the Call - Edition #14 [7:30 AM]
TBD reports: "You Make the Call" is a presentation of both real and imagined NFL scenarios, where we invite you to "make the call" based upon the Official Rules for the NFL for 1999. Good luck, because you'll need it.
Bills very suspect to blitz [6:17 AM]
D and C reports: 'Green Bay recorded five sacks of Johnson, and four came on blitzes where the line, backs and tight ends looked woefully overmatched. On a couple of sacks, the blitzer came through untouched and had a clear run at Johnson. Given his brittle nature, Johnson is lucky none of those shots put him out of the game. "They shouldn't be able to get to us with linebackers and safeties," said Phillips. "We've got to do a better job of picking it up, getting rid of the ball, hots, all those things."'
Bills running game still stumbling along [6:10 AM]
AP reports: 'For a team that finished fifth in the AFC with 2,040 net yards rushing last year, the Bills have averaged 109 yards a game this season, and have yet to establish a consistent threat. Starter Antowain Smith has had trouble finding holes. Backup Shawn Bryson's longest gain of the year has been 10 yards. And third-down stalwart Jonathan Linton is just returning from a rib injury. The Bills leading rusher? That would be Johnson with 91 yards -- many of them coming on scrambles. It doesn't help that Pro Bowl fullback Sam Gash -- released last April due to salary cap constraints -- is no longer forcing open holes to lead the way. "It's certainly not one position's fault, it's a whole team effort. All 11 guys out there have to be on the same page," Johnson said. "It's usually just one or two guys here or there. "I think eventually we'll come out of this little two-game stretch where we haven't run the ball very well."'
Redskins, Westbrook get thrown for loss [6:06 AM]
Baltimore Sun reports: 'Washington Redskins wide receiver Michael Westbrook tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee Sunday and will miss the remainder of the season, the team learned yesterday. The Redskins moved quickly to replace him, reportedly agreeing to terms with veteran receiver and former Buffalo Bill Andre Reed. That should open things up for Reed, who reportedly signed a one-year contract worth $500,000, though he will not be paid for the first two games. He had spent this preseason with the Denver Broncos but asked for his release the day before the start of the regular season because he did not feel he would play enough.'
Injury Will Sideline Westbrook for Season [6:03 AM]
Washington Post reports: 'The club was on the verge late yesterday of completing a contract agreement with veteran wide receiver Andre Reed, sources close to the situation said. The Redskins likely will sign the 36-year-old Reed, the former Buffalo Bills standout who is the second-leading receiver in NFL history, today to replace Westbrook on the roster, sources said...Reed apparently will sign with the Redskins for a pro-rated portion of the minimum veteran's salary of $440,000. He had 941 receptions in 15 seasons in Buffalo, where he was a longtime teammate of Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith. Like Smith, Reed parted ways with the Bills unceremoniously during the offseason. Reed was entering the final season of a contract that would have paid him $1.75 million. The Bills wanted him to accept a reduced role and tutor young wide receiver Peerless Price. Reed balked, and his request to be released was granted by the Bills. He signed with the Denver Broncos for a $160,000 signing bonus and a $440,000 salary. But when Reed was told he would be on Denver's inactive list for the opening game of the season, he informed the Broncos he would rather move on and again was granted his release.'
Report: Redskins close to signing veteran WR Reed [6:02 AM]
AP reports: 'The Redskins were close to signing 36-year-old wideout Andre Reed, The Washington Post reported in Tuesday's editions, citing sources close to the situation. Reed, who has the second-most catches in NFL history, was a standout with the Buffalo Bills before asking for his release during the offseason when asked to play a backup role. Reed then signed with the Broncos. But he also wanted out of Denver when he was not on the active roster at the beginning of the season.'
Packers offense is MIA [8:41 PM]
Appleton Post Crescent reports: 'The Packers defense did give up 27 points, but that wasn't bad considering it was asked to make up for the mistakes of the special teams and the offense. The average starting point of the Bills' five scoring drives was just past the Green Bay 40-yard line. And even though the Bills didn't take full advantage of their opportunities, the Packers offense didn't force the issue.'
Packers defense has its moments [8:39 PM]
Appleton Post Crescent reports: 'The Packers held the Bills scoreless until late in the first half. But their offense only gained nine yards on a drive that started at its three-yard line, and even a good punt by Josh Bidwell gave Buffalo good field position at its 46. The Bills drove the 54 yards in six plays, scoring with 44 seconds left in the half to take a 7-0 lead. The defense gave up three more points before the half was over, without giving up a yard. Quarterback Brett Favre was hit from behind by Marcellus Wiley and fumbled, and the ball was picked up by Bills defensive end Phil Hansen, who returned it to the Packers 27-yard line. The Bills took one shot at the end zone and had a deep pass fall incomplete before Steve Christie kicked a field goal as the half ended.'
Postgame breakdown [8:37 PM]
Appleton Post Crescent reports: 'Worst sight: Buffalo tackle Jamie Nails taunting the Packers' Vonnie Holliday when the defensive end appeared to be hurt. On the following play, fans cheered when Packers defensive back Antuan Edwards was hurt.'
Questions and answers [8:35 PM]
Appleton Post Crescent reports: 'Q: Did I really see Tyrone Williams celebrating and playing to the Buffalo crowd after knocking away a pass to Eric Moulds in the fourth quarter, with the Packers hopelessly behind by 17 points? A: Unfortunately, yes.'
Packers notebook [8:31 PM]
Appleton Post Crescent reports: 'The Bills celebrated Alumni Weekend by honoring the 1965 AFL Champion-ship team before kickoff. Among those on hand were Hall-of-Famer Billy Shaw, Jack Kemp, Elbert Dubenion, ErnStratton and coach Lou Saban. Incidentally, next Sunday's home game against ie Warlick, Booker Edgerson, Ron McDole, Al Bemiller, Wray Carlton, Mike Philadelphia has been designated Green Bay's homecoming, featuring many former players. ... Buffalo tight end Jay Riemersma extended his receiving streak to 15 games and recorded his second multi-touchdown game of his career. ... Buffalo is off to a 2-0 start for the 12th time in team history, and first time since 1996. The last time Green Bay started a season 0-2 was 1992. The club finished 9-7, but missed the playoffs. ... Green Bay has lost three straight road games, its longest streak since 1995.'
Bills Bullish on Defense [4:37 PM]
Syracuse Post-Standard reports: 'Bills fans spent the off-season moaning over the controversial lateral in the playoff loss to the Tennessee Titans and eulogizing the Buffalo careers of popular veterans Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed. The easiest way to forget the past is embrace the present, and Bills fans are doing just that. They've spent the past two weeks rejoicing the revenge of the Home Run Throwback with a win over the Titans and cheering on a bright crop of new young stars.'
Bills pack away a win [4:28 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Two areas where Buffalo needs to improve are the offensive line and the running game, which are also tied together. Johnson was sacked five times - though two were off blitzes that weren't the line's fault - and was hit on virtually every throw. And, on the ground, the Bills totaled a mere 89 yards (2.6 per carry) with feature back Antowain Smith held to an anemic 17 yards on a dozen attempts. "I was a little disappointed that we didn't run the ball better," admitted Buffalo head coach Wade Phillips, "especially late in the game when we could have run out the clock." But while the line has to answer for the failings of the ground attack, the pressure on Johnson involves everyone. "I think it's on all of us," said Riemersma. "You can point somewhat to the offensive line but by no means is it all their responsibility. "We have to take responsibility as an offensive unit - to get our hot reads, to get our blitz pickups - and make it one of our goals that Rob doesn't get hit like that."'
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