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Buffalo Bills News - September 21, 2001

Marker Bills can't let Peyton pass at will at his place [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Everybody talks about the (Colts') Big Three people. It goes back to the Big One," said Buffalo Bills coach Gregg Williams. "Peyton Manning controls it all. You'll see him control protection, control coverage, control the run game, does a great job audibilizing and checking at the line of scrimmage."'

Marker Bills owner finds way to give back [9:23 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'His response was to buy the remaining tickets for the Bills' Sept. 30 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for the purpose of distributing them to the families of local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians. The cost of the tickets was more than $130,000.'

Marker Fisher to play with bad thumb [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams said Fisher should be ready to go Sunday, although it's unlikely Fisher will wear his cast during the game.'

Marker Football 101 absolutely A-1 for some pupils [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'About 100 women have participated in Buffalo's NFL 101 each season. Age is no barrier. "Believe me," Leffler said, "we get women in their 70s and 80s."'

Marker No-huddle means trouble for Colts' foes [9:20 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Marchibroda was patient. Not until 1989, when he was offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, did he install the no-huddle. He did it because he had the right personnel: a bright group, a heady, take-charge quarterback in Jim Kelly, and a versatile, pass-catching running back in Thurman Thomas to help spread the field and force the defense to cover multiple receivers.'

Marker Colts get more time to avoid blackout [9:19 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'The league stepped in on Thursday, altering its policy of requiring teams to sell out home games 72 hours prior to kickoff for the games to be televised live in the local market. The deadline was adjusted league-wide to 48 hours prior to kickoff, which would be noon today for the Colts, who play host to Buffalo on Sunday. Colts spokesman Craig Kelley said fewer than 1,000 tickets remained Thursday afternoon for the game.'

Marker It's time for Bills' offense to produce [5:11 AM]
D and C reports: '"We're not discouraged at all. We've played one regular-season game in this system, and we'll get better in this system, and we'll get more comfortable as we go along."'

Marker Johnson finding it tough to avoid repeated sacks [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"He always wants to make a play down the field and I think that's a positive trait, but one that has to fit in with the constraint components of your offensive system and that's not to take negative yardage plays. He understands that." Or does he?'

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September 20, 2001

Marker RJ both blessed and cursed by disaster [9:47 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: When it comes to his personal game, Bills QB Rob Johnson was both blessed and cursed by the NFL's decision to take last Sunday off to mourn the country's terrorist victims.

The extra time off gave Johnson's chronically sore throwing elbow and index finger time to heal and the extra practice work in the team's new West Coast offense was beneficial. Still, the time off gave Johnson an extra week to stew over his poor performance.

Marker Eight days, three games: How would players respond? [9:34 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: It was Haslett, a former LB with the Bills, and Saints general manager Randy Mueller who proposed that each team play Thanksgiving Day to make up games, between regularly scheduled weekend games.

"It would be tough, but it's doable," Haslett said. "If it means getting in the four wild-card teams the league is thinking of eliminating, then it would be worth it."

Haslett even has a Jan. 5-13 schedule worked out: Play Saturday, off Sunday, practice Monday, walk-through Tuesday, play Wednesday, off Thursday, practice Friday, walk-through Saturday and play Sunday.

Marker New Bills regime: They don't hold back any punches [9:28 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: One thing about the new regime in Buffalo: They don't hold back any punches. Whether it's new HC Williams or GM Donahoe, they make sure players know what they're thinking -- even if it's sometimes through the media. Donahoe questioned the play of veteran John Fina this week. That comes on the heels of the release of veteran safety Henry Jones and linebacker John Holecek. With Donahoe and Williams, the Bills are going to be a good football team down the road. It's just going to take a few years. As one personnel director said, "They have the worst team in the league." In a year or two, nobody will be saying that.

Speaking of Jones, he was a Pro Bowl player for much of his 10-year career with the Bills, but he still remains unsigned after the Bills determined he didn't fit Williams' defense, which stresses physical safeties who can play near the line of scrimmage. There's another reason Jones was let go: He's clearly not the same player he has been. "He's terrible," said one scout who has studied him on tape. "He didn't come close to tackling anybody on the tapes I watched."

Marker Williams starting to lean on Johnson ever so slightly [8:03 PM]
WGR reports: Williams, has for the most part been protecting his starting QB from the slings and arrows that have been thrown his way. All the while he has downplayed lackluster performances in the preseason and a 3 interception performance in the season opener. But now heading into the Bills 2nd regular season game he isnít coddling his QB anymore. As far as he is concerned itís time for Johnson to take hold of the reins of this offense and ride.

Marker NFL 101 Football Clinic For Women [7:51 PM] reports: The Bills will hold their fourth annual NFL 101 Football Clinic For Women on Oct. 2, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. in the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Registration (689-6981, ext. 101 or 112) is required.

The clinic teaches all aspects of football while providing interaction with current and former players.

The fee is $40 per person, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation

Marker No Cowart? No problem, Bills say [7:24 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo's defense prepares for an intimidating test this weekend without its most important player, linebacker Sam Cowart. Raising a white flag is not an option.'

Marker Owner donates $130,000 of tickets to emergency personnel [4:02 PM]
AP reports: 'Citing their heroism, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson donated more than $130,000 worth of football tickets (3,300 tickets) to local police, fire and emergency medical technicians on Thursday.'

Marker Cowart-less defense faces huge test in James [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'James has won the NFL rushing title in each of his two seasons in the NFL and is the second-best rushing-and-receiving threat in the league behind St. Louis' Marshall Faulk. And he opened the 2001 season with a blast - gaining 135 yards in the Colts' rout of the New York Jets.'

Marker Pregame should be emotional [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'All game telecasts Sunday afternoon will open with a 60-second piece prepared by NFL Films recognizing the unprecedented events of the past week. The piece also will air in the stadiums. There also will be a moment of silence.'

Marker Nimda virus hits area computer networks hard [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'And, a Web portal operated by The Buffalo News, unplugged itself to avoid catching the virus and spreading it to users, officials said. The site was offline for most of Wednesday after being switched off Tuesday afternoon.'

Marker Bills back at it [5:37 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"In our meeting (yesterday) we discussed, 'If you were handed a hard hat, if you were handed a shovel, if you were handed a rope, would you take it?' To a man, they said they would. We have been handed a football. That's our job, that's what we're supposed to do."'

Marker Bills want to keep Johnson off turf [5:32 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Bills coach Gregg Williams made it clear on Wednesday that it would behoove Johnson to pick up a few pointers from watching his counterpart Sunday afternoon. In fact, it won't be the first time Manning will have served as a role model for Johnson. "We use as many examples as we can in our coaching and our teaching, and (Manning) is one of the examples that we've used with Rob," Williams said.'

Marker Chartered flight eases Bills' concerns of flying [5:29 AM]
D and C reports: '"I have no concerns about it," Williams said. "It's time to play, it's time to travel, and Indianapolis is where we're going."'

Marker Fina says he's been playing poorly [5:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills have worked free agent Kris Farris with the starting unit for some series in practice but Fina is still slated to start Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.'

September 19, 2001

Marker Prepared for anything [12:17 PM] reports: 'Along with rest of the country, the Bills are adjusting to a new life AFTER last week's tragic events. Now it is time to get back to normal and deal with the situation at hand including a revised 16 week schedule and an injured Pro Bowl linebacker Sam Cowart.'

Marker Quick Hits [12:16 PM] reports: 'Former Bills practice squad wide receiver Drew Haddad made the Colts' regular season roster, and made an impression with some solid kickoff and punt return work, although he did not return a kick in the Colts' season opener.'

Marker Bills re-start season in Indianapolis [12:15 PM] reports: 'Offensively for Buffalo, the Bills likely will look to control the clock to help keep the dangerous Indianapolis offense off the field, and with that, they need a solid performance from rookie running back Travis Henry. Henry rushed for 22 carries against the Saints, gaining 58 yards.'

Marker Bills will cut Christie as soon as he is healthy [8:04 AM]
D and C reports: Donahoe said the Bills will release Christie once he's recovered from his groin injury. Donahoe said Christie refused the team's injury settlement, which would've allowed the Bills the option to re-sign him in 10 weeks.

Marker NFL reschedules cancelled games for weekend of Jan 5-7 [7:51 AM] reports: The NFL playing schedule that was postponed this past weekend will be played on the weekend of January 5-7 to retain a 16-game regular-season schedule, the league announced Tuesday.

They are continuing on working on keeping the six division winners, six Wild Cards and our entire postseason format intact. If they cannot resolve the entire postseason lineup, they will go to a system of six division winners and two Wild Card teams for this one season only.

Marker NFL, officials agree to contract [6:59 AM] reports: 'The NFL and its officials agreed to a new contract Monday, all but ending the lockout and the need for replacements, a league source told The Associated Press.'

Marker Bills send message to Fina [5:22 AM]
AP reports: 'What's unusual with Donahoe's remarks is that general managers -- in Buffalo, at least -- have rarely publicly challenged their players, especially during a season. Then again, this isn't the old Buffalo Bills.'

September 18, 2001

Marker Bills' Achilles heel … losing Cowart's skill [1:23 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Thus, it's virtually assured that the Bills' best defender is out for the season, leaving Buffalo's run-stopping responsibility in the hands of second-year pro Kenyatta Wright and rookie fourth round draft choice Brandon Spoon. In reality, though general manager Tom Donahoe and head coach Gregg Williams will never admit it, this is the Bills' worst nightmare come true.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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