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Buffalo Bills News - August 6, 2000

Marker There's more to Black than returns [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills drafted Black in the fourth round to be their kickoff returner. He averaged 34.2 yards a return last year at Tennessee State. He brought three kicks back for touchdowns, including two for 100 yards. He scored a fourth touchdown in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. Black, who was clocked by Bills scouts at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was unimpressed by Friday night's electrifying score. "It's something a person like me should get used to," Black said. "I feel that's just the beginning." Black's confidence and college credentials aside, Bills coach Wade Phillips has said his special teams players must be able to contribute at their other positions to make the roster. Black certainly did his part on Friday.'

Marker Scouting staff's shrewd work on display in Bills' preseason victory [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have 14 scouts, including General Manager John Butler who is out in the field on a regular basis, and Director of Pro Personnel A.J. Smith, the guy responsible for Doug Flutie's presence in Buffalo along with that of three of the more promising free-agent defensive backs in camp. Smith's responsibility is the 30 other NFL teams, NFL Europe and the Canadian and Arena leagues. The Buffalo organization blankets the nation. It knows what's going on at just about every campus. It ranges from scouts in their mid-30s, like Doug Majeski and Tom Gibbons, to three septuagenarians, David G. Smith, Bob Ryan and Chink Sengel. Ryan, 76, and Sengel, 78, have ruminated about retiring for years. Owner Ralph Wilson always talks them out of it. He understands that his scouts are the heart of the product. This bunch knows where the bodies are buried.'

Marker Statistically speaking, Bills get dealt the toughest schedule [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The NFL's annual strength-of-schedule statistic reveals that the Bills have the toughest schedule in the league. It's based on the cumulative won-lost records of their opponents. Buffalo's foes went 150-106 in 1999, an overall winning percentage of .586. The Bills will play nine games against teams that had winning records, all but one of those against 1999 playoff teams.'

Marker Ball was dropped on some picks [6:59 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '"A lot of people are saying we're a second-rate defense now because of the players we lost, but we believe we can be just as good as last year," Cowart said. "We'll be a little younger, but with youth I think we're faster than last year." The Bills allowed the fewest total yards per game last year and have been in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed for four straight years.

Marker Bryson shows knee is OK [6:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'When Shawn Bryson re-injured his surgically repaired left knee in practice last week, coach Wade Phillips said he wasn't worried. "I never fear the worse," he said. "I always think a player's going to be all right." The power of positive thinking paid off in Friday's night's preseason opener against Cincinnati. Bryson, the best player in Buffalo's training camp last summer until blowing out his anterior cruciate ligament, not only played, he dazzled.'

Marker Hey ref! What about holding? [6:54 AM]
D and C reports: 'First-round draft pick Erik Flowers, who had a sack, forced fumble and a blocked pass, was asked what he learned Friday. "That the refs don't call holding," he said. "I didn't think it would be that bad. I mean, on one play my jersey was turned inside out and no call. But you can't complain, you just line up and play the next play."'

Marker Fortunately, preseason games are history here [6:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'St. John Fisher is the team's new training camp and the proposed new soccer downtown stadium might accommodate as many as 25,000 fans, but don't expect the Buffalo Bills to ever play another preseason game in Rochester.'

Marker The view from above [6:49 AM]
D and C reports: 'For 31 years, Kunttu literally has been above it all, filming and taping virtually every move the Bills make in practice and games. He has seen the good, the bad and the ugly; the 2-14 debacles and the trips to the Super Bowl. Though he claims to know little about football strategy and says he wants to keep it that way, his work has contributed mightily to the success the team has enjoyed. At the news conference announcing his retirement as Bills coach three years ago, Marv Levy praised Kunttu. Wade Phillips understands why. "Players and coaches get all the credit, but there are other people who have a say in your winning, and Henry's certainly one of those guys," says Phillips, the eighth head coach Kunttu has worked for in his three decades with the team. "Film has always been vital when you're developing your strategy, your game plan. But it's equally important as a teaching tool. You can tell a player what he's doing wrong, but it's more powerful if he can watch himself on film."'

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August 5, 2000

Marker Bills loosen grip on fans' drink containers [1:50 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I've been a season ticket holder for 38 years, and I think it's great," Bob Buczynski of Cheektowaga said of the Bills' decision Friday to allow fans to bring one-quart thermoses of nonalcoholic beverages into the stadium. "This is Ralph Wilson and the Bills showing appreciation to the fans."'

Marker New faces may help defense go places [1:48 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'No one is claiming all the potholes seem repaired off one early-August exhibition game. There are no prophecies about a repeat as No. 1. But judging from some promising cameo appearances, the Bills still bear the look of a top 10 defense, which isn't bad for starters.'

Marker Antowain delivers for Bills [1:47 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The 228-pound back looked nearly unstoppable in a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason opener before 37,282 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "The biggest thing is I'm healthy again," Smith said. "You couldn't ask for a better start. Last year, I was slow out of the gates with a groin injury. That slowed me down. Then came the toe. "It feels good to get off to a positive start and see what we have looking forward to with this team out there."'

Marker Simple no gain means plenty in Bryson's comeback [1:46 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bryson wasn't even supposed to play Friday. He hurt his knee at practice earlier in the week and was expected to be held out of the game. "I was particularly happy for Shawn Bryson," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "All year he's been waiting. "He came to me the other day after he got banged up and said, "I want to play.' I said, "I'm not going to play you unless you're well.' We worked him out before the game and he was well. "It took him a little while to get the feel, but you could see what he can do, especially in the open field."'

Marker Pressure is on Warrick to produce for Bengals [1:45 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Warrick caught two balls for 31 yards in his first pro contest but looked overmatched at times by Bills cornerback Ken Irvin's constant jams at the line of scrimmage. Still, Warrick was out there playing, doing what he loves to do even though he is as infamous for his off-field exploits as he is famous for his on-field excellence.'

Marker Phillips impressed by rookies [1:42 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Coach Wade Phillips, normally reserved in his responses, was decidedly enthusiastic afterward. "Obviously, we've got a lot of things to work on, but I saw a lot of good things out there," he said. "We had a lot of young players who made some plays ... all the way down to the end of the ballgame. We had some individuals who played real well for us," Phillips continued, "We have some exciting young players and I think that points toward our future. Our draft choices made some big plays for us."

Marker Bills beat Bengals 21-20 [11:15 AM]
Shout! reports: Buffalo Bills insider, Mike Doser, recaps the Bills' victory over the Bengals last night in Orchard Park.

Marker Bills vs. Bengals Game Day Photos [11:08 AM]
Shout! reports: Catch some of the game day action in the Shout/TBD photo gallery.

Marker Bengals find life in running game [6:08 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'The Bengals didn't tear it up on the ground in their exhibition opener, running 40 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns. But the four guys angling to replace the malcontented Dillon - who seems more adamant than ever to sit out through the 11th game of the regular season - put on a pretty good audition against one of the best defenses in the AFC.'

Marker No quarterback controversy in Bills' camp [6:06 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Johnson is the starter now. Flutie, when he returns from a severe groin injury a month into the season - as Dennis Miller would say, aren't groin injuries always severe? - will be on the bench. He will be ready to come in, as good a change-of-pace artist as there is in the NFL. He will get another chance to do his thing, as backup NFL quarterbacks always seem to do. He may even take the Bills back to the playoffs, and spark another controversy for another day. Until Flutie is healthy again, the pressure on Johnson is immeasurably less.'

Marker Bills get positive efforts from QB's [6:02 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'And while there were several less memorable sequences for the Bills quarterbacks, there doesn't appear to be any need for injured quarterback Doug Flutie, who started the first 15 games of the 1999 season for the Bills, to hurry his return.'

Marker Flowers preserves victory [5:58 AM]
D and C reports: 'When it was over, Buffalo was on the positive side of a 21-20 score as Erik Flowers preserved the win by blocking Doug Pelfrey's 29-yard field goal on the final play of the game, but that, of course, really didn't matter. This was a game Bills coach Wade Phillips said he was going to use for individual player evaluations, and he'll have plenty to evaluate in film sessions over the next two days.'

Marker Receiver Black impresses with his speed [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'When the Bills selected Tennessee State wide receiver Avion Black in the fourth round of last April's NFL draft, the scouts raved about his sprinter's speed. They weren't exaggerating. Black turned a five-yard catch into an electrifying 34-yard touchdown play at the end of the first half, giving the Bills a 14-10 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals in last night's preseason opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'

Marker Defense needs turnovers to get respect [5:54 AM]
D and C reports: 'The defense may have been ranked first in yards allowed last season, but it ranked almost at the bottom in takeaways with 21. Nothing last night indicated the Bills have suddenly become pirate-like.'

Marker Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:52 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"We put 'em every which way but loose, but they won on the scoreboard," coach Bruce Coslet said. "We'll take the positives out of, and, boy, we've got to learn from some of the boo-boos we made."'

Marker Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:49 AM]
AP reports: 'Rookie linebacker Corey Moore blocked Doug Pelfrey's 29-yard field goal attempt with no time on the clock, and the Buffalo Bills hung on for a 21-20 victory in both teams' preseason opener.'

Marker Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:43 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rookie defensive end Erik Flowers made a favorable first impression on his new teammates. Flowers blocked a potential game-winning 29-yard field goal by Doug Pelfrey as time expired, giving the Buffalo Bills a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the exhibition opener for both teams.'

August 4, 2000

Marker Bills vs. Bengals Audio Feed [11:34 AM]
TBD reports: Find out how you can hear the preseason games over the internet.

Marker Cohen seeks spot with Bills [11:31 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'Former Miami University linebacker Dustin Cohen is fighting for a slot as a second- and third-team strong-side outside linebacker with the Buffalo Bills.'

Marker Bengals search for answers in tonight's exhibition opener [11:29 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'A backup center starting for the Bengals. A slimmed-down Ted Washington tag-teaming with Pat Williams. Who wins that battle?'

Marker Johnson ready to show why he's No. 1 [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson is the starter. Any ounce of leftover doubt vanished the moment Flutie suffered a groin injury in training camp that could keep him sidelined for the first three games of the regular season. This is Johnson's team now. Tonight, Johnson will be behind center when the Bills open the preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. His performance against the Bengals will have no bearing on the depth chart at quarterback. For the first time since 1998, Johnson can start a game without controversy. "I'm just anxious to get back in the groove and throw the ball well," Johnson said. "Actually, last year, when they named me the starter, it was outside Buffalo where they were more shocked. The team was very supportive. That's what made it so easy for me."'

Marker Bengals open preseason with goal: Win [7:51 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"It would be helpful for us to win games in the preseason,", club president Mike Brown said. "If you have an established team, there isn't the emphasis put on it. But for us, it's different. We have to build from the bottom up. And part of that is re-establishing our confidence and getting to feel a little better about ourselves."'

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