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Buffalo Bills News - August 31, 2000

Marker T. Thomas enjoys Pro Player cheers [7:07 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The feedback from the Bills fans hasn't been as jovial. "I've gotten nasty mail," he said. "Stuff like 'watch your back' when I come to Buffalo (Oct. 8). I'm thinking maybe a couple of snowballs, but you never know when you get letters like that."'

Marker AFC East Preview [7:02 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'There's no depth left after they cut key players to get under the salary cap. They lost leadership in Bruce Smith and Schulz but managed to re-sign G Ruben Brown. There's a quarterback controversy lurking if Rob Johnson, the designated starter, doesn't produce. Doug Flutie has a lot of fans in Buffalo.'

Marker A talk between 2 Bills QB's [6:57 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Flutie always knew the Bills wanted it to be Johnson, and it would have stayed that way if he wasn't getting donged so much. And if Flutie hadn't gone 17-8 as the Bills' starter. Flutie has told me that he thinks Johnson is very talented, a guy with a strong arm and yes, Flutie said, he can run too. But the fierce competitor in Flutie just wanted his shot last January 8 against the Titans. He thought he'd earned as much. Didn't happen. He's said some things. Johnson's said some things. But nothing's changed. Johnson starts, Flutie waits. The waiting game he's good at. We'll see what happens.'

Marker Flutie preparing for game if he's needed [6:32 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: '"I feel good," Flutie said. "I wouldn't want to run for a 40 time right now, because that would scare me a little bit ... I've played in games when I felt worse than I do now." Rob Johnson will start Sunday nigh and Flutie said he didn't know whether he would be in uniform for the game. Alex Van Pelt is the third quarterback and punter Chris Mohr would be the emergency quarterback if Flutie is not ready to play.'

Marker Bills re-tool with Super Bowl hopes [6:31 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The Bills believe the youth movement will add some flash to an offense that ran the ball more times than any other in the NFL last season. "Last year we didn't scare people," Price said. "We didn't give that threat out there. This year we have the emphasis of getting big chunks of yards, and I think we can put the fear into defenses." The Buffalo defense, which finished No. 1 in the NFL overall, has just three starters over 30 -- defensive end Phil Hansen, nose tackle Ted Washington and safety Henry Jones. They're 32 each. There's also a 25-year-old Ivy Leaguer, Marcellus Wiley, replacing Smith at right end. "But he replaced someone too, and I don't know that guy's name," Wiley said. "Everybody is going to remember Bruce Smith here, I just want to let them know who Marcellus Wiley is. But you don't get 170-some sacks in one year. You don't go to Canton in one year."'

Marker Bills set to play tune on Titans [6:18 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"There's no way we're going to put that behind us, but that's not a motivation for revenge," defensive end Marcellus Wiley said. "This game only means we can be 1-0. The Super Bowl isn't going to be won or lost this week."'

Marker Bills are eager to change tune [6:12 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"We don't need to discuss the details of that but I am pretty sure (the Bills) circled this game on their schedule," [Titans running back Eddie] George said on a conference call. "It's going to be a great challenge. "I expect a hostile environment. I think we are all expecting that going up into Buffalo, especially the way it did end."'

Marker Bills replay Music City Miracle [5:59 AM]
D and C reports: '[Titans Coach Jeff] Fisher doesn't think Phillips' refusual to accept the legality of the lateral as crying sour grapes. "It's just his opinion of the play," he said. "I often put myself in coach Phillips' shoes and can only imagine how Wade feels after the way his team played, doing what it took to win that game, the expectations they had as a team, and have it end like that. I can only begin to understand how he feels."'

Marker Dyson knows about ecstasy and agony [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'I learned what it's like to be as high as a kite and as low as the grass you walk on," says Dyson, who will start at wide receiver Sunday night against the Bills in the teams' NFL season opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "This is going to sound strange, but the way that Super Bowl ended made me feel the way the Bills must have felt after we beat them the way we did.'

Marker Flutie very unlikely to play despite brief return to drills [5:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'Backup quarterback Doug Flutie, expected to be out of action at least the first three games, participated briefly in throwing drills yesterday and said if there was a quarterback emergency Sunday, he could play. "It's not 100 percent, but if you want a percentage it's somewhere around 90," Flutie said of his torn groin. "I've played a lot of games more hurt than I am right now." Flutie said it was very unlikely that coach Wade Phillips would activate him as the third-string quarterback for the game because the team does not want to rush him back into action and risk further injury.'

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August 30, 2000

Marker Flutie won't play, but is nearly recovered from torn groin [8:22 PM]
AP reports: 'Quarterback Doug Flutie, who practiced in pads on Wednesday for the first time in almost a month, says his torn groin muscle feels "90 percent" healthy. Despite Flutie's faster-than-expected recovery, he won't play Sunday in the Buffalo Bills' season opener against the Tennessee Titans. "He won't be ready for this game, but he's coming along fast," coach Wade Phillips said.'

Marker Johnson earns Bills respect as No. 1 quarterback [8:20 PM]
AP reports: 'Quarterback Rob Johnson says he's still the same hard-throwing, laid-back kid from Southern California. His Buffalo Bills teammates beg to differ, noting he's grown in poise and confidence as the team prepares for Sunday's season-opener against the Tennessee Titans. "He's shown maturity. He's shown that he's ready to lead the ballclub. He's shown that he's the guy this year," Bills linebacker Sam Cowart said Wednesday. "Once the season gets underway, we get a couple of wins and he proves to the fans, himself and to the team that he's our quarterback, I think there won't be so much of a quarterback controversy. "It'll be Rob's show."'

Marker AFC Preview [3:17 PM]
Florida Times Union reports: '[Buffalo Bills] 2000 Prediction: 10-6, second in East.'

Marker A Bill comes due [11:55 AM]
AP reports: 'Helping motivate Moulds is that this is the final year of his contract. He can't help but consider the multimillion-dollar prize that could await him. "You're a competitor, and you see all these guys getting these big contracts and, of course, you would like to be in that situation," Moulds said. "But you still have to go out this year and have a good showing." Watching the team's off-season moves to clear room under the salary cap, Moulds hoped some of that was being saved for him because he wants to remain a Bill. "I want to be here and I'm pretty sure it'll get done," he said. "But I just go out there and approach it that, if I play well, then I figure they'll take care of it."'

Marker Buffalo Bills Preview [11:53 AM]
TV Guide reports: 'Buffalo (11-5) will forever be known as the victim of football's most unexpected lateral, but coach Wade Phillips may be remembered for a fumble if the Bills struggle this year.'

Marker Turnovers on Bills' defensive menu [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It's hard to improve on being the top-ranked defense in the NFL, which the Bills were in 1999. But there is one area the team is looking to get better. Despite their defensive success, the Bills did not create a lot of turnovers. They forced 21 of them last season, the 15th-lowest total in the AFC and 29th overall in the NFL. But if the preseason is any indication, the Bills may wreak more havoc on opposing offenses than they did a year ago. In four exhibition games, the Bills created 10 turnovers (four interceptions and six fumbles). There were at least four other passes that could have been intercepted and a couple of forced fumbles that were almost recovered. "The more opportunities you give your offense to score, the higher their scoring percentage is going to be," linebacker Sam Rogers said. "This defense has that capability to make things happen. It's an exciting defense to play in."'

Marker Wilson's view is clear [6:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 81, the man who pays the Bills hasn't lost his sense of humor, and that's good because you need one to survive in a business that can be just a kickoff return away from breaking your heart. "Sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry," says Wilson, one of the National Football League's most respected owners. Such an attitude will come in handy during Sunday night's season opener against Tennessee at Ralph Wilson Stadium because the Titans' visit is sure to conjure memories of Buffalo's devastating loss to them in last January's AFC wild-card game in Nashville. "Worst defeat I've experienced in 40 years of football," Wilson says. "Worse than any of the Super Bowl losses."'

Marker 'One yard short' reminders dog Dyson every day [6:11 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Every single day since Super Bowl XXXIV, Kevin Dyson has been reminded about the way the game ended. Dyson, the Tennessee Titans receiver who was tackled on the 1-yard line by St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones as time expired, insists this without a doubt. Was it not brought up for one day . . . like maybe on vacation? "Not one day," Dyson says. "I don't think about it until people ask me about it. I was done with it right after it happened. But wherever people see me -- at the mall, in stores, on the street, wherever -- if they recognize me, they say something. "Every single day, it's either that or the Buffalo play." Ah, the Buffalo play. Tennessee would never have been in position to lose Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16 without Dyson's breathtaking 75-yard kickoff return touchdown off a cross-field, Frank Wycheck lateral. Dubbed "The Music City Miracle," it lifted the Titans to a 22-16 victory in an AFC wild-card game. "And just think," Dyson says, "I wasn't even supposed to be on the field for that."'

August 29, 2000

Marker AFC East Capsules [8:51 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Even with all the defections, the Bills are still a solid football team. However, facing the NFL's toughest schedule will make it tough to challenge Indianapolis for the division title. Nine wins may be the most realistic projection.'

Marker 2000 Buffalo Bills Preview [8:46 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The Bills like many of their division rivals will be looking up at the Indianapolis Colts most of the season. Look for an 8-8 finish and a possible coaching change at year's end.'

Marker Bills think they can 'go deep' now [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The problem for the Buffalo Bills was that opposing defenses eventually became untangled by Flutie's antics. They worked toward shutting down the run and dared the Bills to beat them with their quarterback. And his arm didn't scare anyone. This year should be different. Rob Johnson is the quarterback now. He has a stronger arm, one more suited for throwing downfield. He has younger, faster receivers, who can get open downfield. And he's running an offense geared more toward making plays downfield.'

Marker Haddad, Roth will watch and learn [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'University at Buffalo products Drew Haddad and Josh Roth were among five players who were assigned to the Buffalo Bills' developmental squad on Monday. Haddad was taken in the seventh round and hoped to catch on with the Bills as a punt returner and receiver. He returned three punts for 22 yards in the preseason. He also had three catches for 22 yards. Roth had one catch for 11 yards. He did not carry the ball. "It's a big help for kids in the developmental stage," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "I think they can learn a whole lot in that situation."'

Marker Not again [8:12 AM]
Fox Sports reports: '[New Buffalo Bills Special Teams Coach Ronnie] Jones is here to make sure Buffalo's kickoff coverage team doesn't forget what happened nearly eight months ago. "That play will not work this time," he promised. "Now, something else I can't guarantee, but I can guarantee that one will not work."'

Marker Music City Miracle memories [8:03 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: '"It was a blur. The first thing I remember after it really was one of the chain gang came up to me and said, 'Hurry and kick the extra point because it was a forward lateral.' And I said, 'It doesn't matter because it's the last two minutes, they're going to review it anyway.'"'

Marker Reed's happy to stay, he'd just like No. 83 [8:00 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: "He shot straight with me," Reed said of [Broncos' coach Mike] Shanahan. "Last year in Buffalo I didn't get that kind of straight talk.'

Marker Broncos' Reed has Monday memories [7:57 AM]
Denver Post reports: 'The date was Oct. 17, 1988, the site the New Jersey Meadowlands. The Buffalo Bills were playing on "Monday Night Football" for the fist time in more than four years. For young Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, it was the first glimpse of the NFL spotlight. "It was special," Reed, now with the Denver Broncos, said Monday. "It was kind of a coming out party for our whole team, because nobody knew about us." Reed was a star that night, catching seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yarder. The Bills pounded the New York Jets 37-14, went on to win the AFC East and came within one victory of reaching the Super Bowl. Reed's performance that Monday night propelled him to the first of his seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections.'

Marker Reed adjusting to minor role [7:54 AM]
AP reports: 'There was speculation that Reed might not survive the [Denver Broncos'] final cuts, but he gave coach Mike Shanahan his assurance that he could accept his role as a backup - even if it meant not suiting up for some games. "I talked to Mike on Friday, and he shot straight with me about a lot of things,'' Reed, 36, said. "Obviously, there's a reason why he wants me here. Am I an insurance policy? To a certain point. If this is the last year for me, I'm going to make it as fun as I can. "It's all about trying to get a Super Bowl ring with this team. And this is the only team I feel I can get that with.'

Marker Finally, a home opener [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: "...I just wanted us to play at home the first game," Phillips said yesterday. "We've been on the road the past couple of years and I really feel there's a big advantage at home, especially in Buffalo. It didn't matter who we had to play, but to play one of the best teams on our schedule the first game, here, with a young team, it's important. We'll be ready."'

Marker Phillips still irked by 'forward' lateral [6:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'When discussing "Home Run Throwback," the official playbook name of the Titans' disputed kickoff lateral play that beat the Bills 22-16 in last January's wild-card playoff game, Phillips referred to the play as "Home Run Throw Forward" twice during a news conference yesterday. He'll never be convinced it was a legal lateral, he said.'

August 28, 2000

Marker Bills still haunted by 'Music City Miracle' [8:07 PM]
AP reports: '...reporters questioned Phillips about his curious turn of a phrase. "Home run throw forward just rolls of your tongue,'' a reporter said. "Well, that's what it was,'' Phillips replied.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
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09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
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