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Buffalo Bills News - October 8, 2000

Marker Bills' scouting report [7:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...They play turnover-free. The Dolphins have thrived on turnovers, forcing a league-high 14 thus far. The game figures to be close and one break off a turnover could prove critical...Their defense outplays the stout Miami defense. The Dolphins will have the advantage of the home crowd firing them up, but top to bottom, the Buffalo defense is stronger than Miami's...Johnson plays efficiently. He can't make some of the poor decisions that plagued him last week.'

Marker Rivalry burns in Miami [7:05 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Whatever you've become accustomed to with Miami-Buffalo games, it's going to be the same, no different," Bills guard Ruben Brown said. "They're going to be coming at us, man. They always bring the heat and we've got to be prepared for that."'

Marker Out of the shadows [6:56 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Since their meeting last November, future Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas were cast out in Buffalo. Dan Marino was similarly vanished from the Dolphins roster, albeit in a more diplomatic fashion. The last time the teams played without this superstar corps intact, President Ronald Reagan was in the White House.'

Marker Is this season real, or is it Wannstedt magic? [6:54 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins are the surprise team in the NFL right now. Dave Wannstedt is the coach of the year or Doug Henning. The early success has the feel of magic, but you wonder if it will disappear. There remains the unsettling sense that Miami's 4-1 record is propped up on matchsticks and toothpicks, held together by masking tape, string and a prayer. Today -- here against nemesis Buffalo, most perfectly -- we should finally get an answer: Can this be real?'

Marker Dolphins looking for another miracle [6:53 AM]
Miami Herald reports: '[Dolphins Special Teams Coach Mike] Westhoff admits the Bills looked bad on special teams their first three games this season. But when he pops in the tape of last week's game against Indianapolis, he notices marked improvement. "Early in the season, you could see they had a lot of things to iron out," he says. "They gave up a lot of plays. But as the season has progressed, they've done a lot of work and have gotten better. They totally changed some of the things they're doing. Yeah, there's no doubt in my mind we can still beat this outfit, but I know we'll have to execute very well."

Marker Enter the Hall of Almost [6:50 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Linebacker John Holecek said of his former teammate-turned-Dolphin Thurman Thomas: "He's the possible Hall of Famer." And I'm thinking Holecek must have Holeinhead, because isn't the Thurmanator, a top-10 all-time ground gainer, a lock to make Canton? Ran the question past two Hall voters, and both said Thomas, right now, looks like an interesting debate, not a lock. Clearly, the topic merited further chewing.'

Marker Dolphins can expect to get physical vs. Bills [6:34 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Buffalo Bills (2-2) come to Pro Player Stadium with a pop-gun offense and without any of the players (Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed) who helped them reach four Super Bowls in the 1990s. But after the success Buffalo enjoyed against the Dolphins last season, linebacker Zach Thomas expects the Bills to walk with a swagger. "They think we`re a soft team," Thomas said.'

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October 7, 2000

Marker Turning the corner [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Winfield is off to a fast start this season, so fast that the name Thomas Smith barely has crossed the lips of Bills fans the past month. Winfield is starting to make a habit of eye-catching plays. "Antoine is an enjoyable guy to coach because usually you tell him one time and he doesn't make the same mistake twice," Bradley said. "Mentally he never makes the same mistake twice. Everybody makes mistakes physically. But he has played extremely well."'

Marker WNSA sounds authoritative, when you can hear it [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills should add another objective assistant coach to Wade Phillips' staff. His sole duty would be to monitor replays and stop Phillips from foolishly challenging calls and losing timeouts.'

Marker Meet the opponents [9:00 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'Nose tackle Ted Washington is a big -- and we mean big -- reason the Buffalo Bills have been so tough to run against over the past few years. If Miami is to have success on the ground this Sunday, the Dolphins will have to find a way to get the big nose tackle from Louisville off the line of scrimmage. Unfortunately, that's easier said than done.'

Marker Buffalo preview [8:58 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'Staff prediction: Dolphins 17, Bills 13.'

Marker Bills seek to conquer red zone in Miami [8:17 AM]
D and C reports: 'Critics are wondering just how the Bills are going to find the end zone against a Dolphins' defense that's allowed just nine points in three games at home and a league-low 38 points overall with just two touchdowns. "I don't know if I've ever heard of a team that played three home games and gave up three points a game," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "They've been a dominant defensive team for a long time but they seem to have put it all together this year. It's going to be a big, big challenge for us."'

Marker Fiedler's scrambling eggs on Dolphins [8:16 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Fiedler is trying to make a name for himself this season, not so much with his arm, a la No. 13, but with his scrambling ability. So far, it's working. A conservative mix of pass and run, augmented by Fiedler's ability to scramble, has the Dolphins at 4-1 heading into today's home game against the rival Buffalo Bills. "Jay is learning, he's a lot like (Bills quarterback Rob Johnson) in that he has started five games," Dolphins head coach Dave Wannstedt said of the Ivy Leaguer from Dartmouth."He has done some good things at times, and he has made some mistakes. I wish there was a quick way to leapfrog things like that, but there's not.'

Marker Relaxed FB Dyer set for 1st pro start [8:15 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The man Dyer is replacing this week, Rob Konrad, believes the Buffalo Bills provide a chance for Dyer to make a quality debut. "He's pretty sharp with what's going on," Konrad said. "And the Bills are not a very complicated defense."'

Marker Webb, Thomas, Martin will play [8:13 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Left tackle Richmond Webb, linebacker Zach Thomas and receiver Tony Martin all practiced Friday. Webb and Thomas will start. Martin, who has missed three games, is still experiencing some pain and swelling in his foot, and said that coach Dave Wannstedt plans to bring him along slowly. Can he still go deep? "Oh yes," Martin said. "I can still go deep."'

Marker A clean bill of health [8:12 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'There are always questions about NFL quarterbacks. For Buffalo's Rob Johnson, the questions aren't about his ability, but rather his durability. The fourth-rated passer in the NFL at 100.4 points, the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Johnson also leads the Bills in rushing with 150 yards. "He's playing smart football mainly because he's holding the ball and not throwing interceptions," Dolphins linebacker Zach Thomas said. "That's what turns games around. It's not the sacks." Unfortunately for Johnson, he's been knocked out of five of his 13 career starts heading into Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Dolphins at Pro Player Stadium.'

Marker Dolphins' sickbay discharges Webb, Thomas, Martin [8:10 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'The Dolphins got good news regarding some injured players Friday as coach Dave Wannstedt said middle linebacker Zach Thomas and left tackle Richmond Webb will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. Wannstedt also said receiver Tony Martin will play, although he might not start.'

Marker Gadsden, Fiedler develop chemistry [8:07 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Now, even though deep threat Tony Martin is expected to return Sunday against Buffalo, it's Gadsden who's emerged as Fiedler's go-to guy for an offense that ranks last in the NFL in passing (145 yards a game). "Oronde is the guy," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said. "There's nobody that I have more confidence in."'

Marker FB Dyer will start; game will be on TV [8:05 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Buffalo week cannot end without a sellout. The Dolphins game sold out and will be on WPEC-12. There is a chance the Bills could return some tickets today.'

October 6, 2000

Marker Thomas adds to heat of Miami-Buffalo rivalry [11:35 AM]
Houston Chronicle reports: 'In their first five games, the Dolphins impressed everyone but themselves while fashioning a 4-1 record and becoming the stingiest defensive team in the NFL, allowing an average of only 7.7 points per game. Unlike last season, when they also started 4-1 and stood 7-1 at midseason before collapsing with only two victories over the second half, there was no controversy. Until this week. Remember, this is hurricane season in South Florida. This week, Dolphins running back Thurman Thomas interrupted the calm before the storm of Sunday's Buffalo game by unleashing his verbal fury at his former team in general and three players in particular. Thomas, the Houston native who played at Willowridge High School, spilled his guts, and it was apparent he's still bitter about the way Buffalo treated him during the offseason. Like his longtime teammates, defensive end Bruce Smith and receiver Andre Reed, Thomas was a cornerstone in the Bills' four Super Bowl teams. They were unceremoniously dumped in the offseason when management elected to use the cap dollars they would save on younger players. Thomas, 34, didn't want to hang up his cleats and retire to Houston, where he resides in the offseason. He did what Buffalo fans considered unthinkable -- he signed with the hated Dolphins, the Bills' most despised AFC East rival.'

Marker Will Zach play?? [11:31 AM]
Dolphin Digest reports: 'If Zach Thomas can not play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills -- and there was a story in Thursday's Miami Herald indicating that was a distinct possibility -- the chances of a Dolphins victory are greatly reduced.'

Marker Welcome to Miami: TDs at a premium [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There have been several changes with the Miami Dolphins, but one thing has remained the same. The Dolphins' defense is still among the best in the NFL.'

Marker Stolen tickets are a bad buy [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If you buy a ticket off the street for the Oct. 15 Buffalo Bills game against San Diego, it might not get you into Ralph Wilson Stadium. And if you put up a fuss, you're in for a run-in with some extra security personnel the Bills are stationing in Section 309. Fifty tickets were stolen when a purse was grabbed from a car parked at Main Street and West Oakwood Place, Buffalo police said Thursday. The tickets, incentive gifts for Burger King managers from Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, were being carried by an employee of Carroll's Corp. They have since been canceled and reissued to the rightful holders.'

Marker Zach likely back in lineup [6:42 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'Zach Thomas gave a thumbs-up signal Thursday as he walked off the practice field, but left it to Miami Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt to update his status for Sunday's game against Buffalo. "Unless something drastic happens (today), he'll be in there starting," Wannstedt said of Thomas. "I was real encouraged by how he moved around today."'

Marker Buffalo veterans few in number [6:41 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The Bills are going through the same identity crisis as the Dolphins. Each game brings the same question: What's it like without . . . Thurman Thomas? Andre Reed? Bruce Smith? For the first time since 1984 it's not Buffalo week like the old Buffalo weeks. The Bills do not have Smith, their all-time leading sacker, Thomas, their all-time leading rusher, and Reed, their all-time leading receiver. Twenty times Webb has played against the Bills in his career, and he allowed 12.5 sacks to Smith, who is now with Washington. "He's just the complete player," Webb said. "You had to study him on every play." Not any more. The Bills released Smith and Thomas on Feb. 10, the day after they let Reed go. "I think all three of those guys made a big contribution to this team for a long, long time," Buffalo coach Wade Phillips said. "We're trying to find people who can fill in, not just take their place."'

Marker McDaniel proves he belongs [5:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Through four games, Moulds has been the go-to receiver, but McDaniel has been the most dangerous receiver with 11 catches for 244 yards and two TDs. His 22.2-yard average per reception ranks second in the AFC and sixth in the NFL. "He was doing things like that last year in practice, giving the defense good looks on the scout team," said Moulds. "It was just a matter of him getting a chance to play and making the most of the opportunities he gets. "His strength is unbelievable. He can break tackles. He worked out with me in the off-season and I just told him to go out there and play relaxed because when you play relaxed you play better and you don't make as many mistakes and that's what he's doing."'

Marker Foes run at heart of Dolphins' 'D' [4:50 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'The Dolphins' run defense has been lacking at times this season. Especially at Cincinnati on Sunday, when the Bengals gained 191 yards on 35 carries. This Sunday the Dolphins take on Buffalo at 1 p.m. at Pro Player Stadium. Though the Bills have had problems running the ball, the Dolphins have no doubt about what is coming. "It doesn't matter," Dolphins defensive end Rich Owens said, referring to the Bills running backs averaging 3.0 yards per carry - 3.7 if quarterback Rob Johnson is factored in. "They are going to run the ball. They are going to pound it. They are going to hand the ball off, we know that."

Marker Z. Thomas expected to start [4:48 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Thomas, who was unsure about how he would do before practice, didn't talk to reporters after practice. However, when one reporter flashed a thumbs up/thumbs down sign at Thomas as he walked off the field after practice, Thomas gave a thumbs up.'

Marker Dolphins `D' gets Zach back [4:47 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Dolphins middle linebacker Zach Thomas practiced Thursday for the first time since spraining his ankle 10 days earlier and should start in Sunday's game against Buffalo at Pro Player Stadium. "Unless something drastic happens tomorrow, he'll be in there starting from what I've seen today," Dolphins coach Dave Wannstedt said after Thursday's practice. "We'll see what happens, but I was real encouraged by how he moved around today."'

Marker Players will work during off-week [4:44 AM]
Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reports: 'Because of the flooding in South Florida from earlier this week, the NFL granted the Dolphins a one-day extension toward lifting the local television blackout for the Bills game. Although 1,000 tickets must be sold by 1 p.m. today for the game to air locally, a sellout is expected.'

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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