Johnson's gut check needs guts [5:46 AM]
D and C reports: 'While he was taken down five times, that wasn't really the problem, execution was. When the Saints took away wide receivers Moulds and Peerless Price with double teams, that left the middle of the field open for Riemersma. Johnson saw it, but failed to connect.'
Reality still disappointing [5:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'The offense showed some flashes, but they were rare, and the bottom line is the Bills didn't score a touchdown. Rob Johnson once again failed to deliver on his ''potential.'' That storyline is getting tiring.'
Buffalo kicker times things perfectly [5:44 AM]
D and C reports: 'Yesterday, in his first regular- season NFL game, he connected on field goals from 37 and 22 yards, providing the only Buffalo points in a 24-6 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The job is his -- for now.'
Loss of Cowart hurts more than loss to Saints [5:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Consider this: If Cowart -- second only to Baltimore's Ray Lewis among NFL defenders last season -- is gone for the season, the Bills will be without their four leading tacklers and their entire linebacking corps from a year ago.'
Buffalo Bills report card [5:42 AM]
D and C reports: 'Gregg Williams' debut turned out as expected -- his young team played well early against a beatable Saints team, failed to respond to adversity, and petered out in the end.'
Bills' will fight for survival in transition season [7:26 PM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'There you have it, 7 up, 9 down. Nothing too spectacular or out of the ordinary. The hope will have to be that the Bills have swallowed hard and are now in position to make a charge and not so much change in '02.'
Saints 24, Bills 6 [6:41 PM]
AP reports: 'While Buffalo's newly installed 4-3 defense held firm, quarterback Rob Johnson looked unsettled running the new West Coast offensive scheme.'
New Orleans 24, Buffalo 6 [6:40 PM]
Sportsticker reports: '"I thought we ran the ball well in the first half but you've got to come back with some play action and throw teams off," he said. "We didn't do that. I think our game plan was to come in, pound it, try to run the clock a little. I think it worked in the opposite for us. I think they came back and switched up things. I think we played into their hands a little."'
Christie cut on eve of new era [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm shocked and disappointed," Christie said. "I've spent 10 years in Buffalo. This is my 12th year in the league. I've made Buffalo my home. I've loved it here. I've loved the Bills. I think I deserve more from guys who have not been in Buffalo at all. I deserved more. This would not have happened with Marv Levy. Period."'
Bills and Saints have to lay it on the line [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Look for the Bills to feature rookie running back Travis Henry early and often. If Henry is effective, he will take some of the heat off Johnson and give him a chance to make some big pass plays against the Saints' suspect secondary.'
True Survivor [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo News Ronnie Vinklarek is 5-9 and weighs less than 200 pounds, but he's always been a suc-cessful offensive line coach.'
Best Bills' openers are tough acts to follow [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills 17, Dolphins 7 - 1980: Of course, this ended the 0-for-the-'70s, 20-game losing streak against Miami. The game itself wasn't particularly well-played. The winning score was a Joe Ferguson-to-Roosevelt Leaks touchdown pass. It's best remembered for the fact the fans tore down both goal posts.'
Major changes mean it's time for patience with the Bills [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Don't be confused by Williams' optimistic swagger. He's trying to prop up his young team's confidence and help sell tickets. But he's no dummy. He talks about making the playoffs and contending for the Super Bowl, but his actions tell another story.'
Bills' new broom sweeps a bit too clean [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'When Donahoe and Williams arrived in town they pledged that no old favorites would be dumped unless there was a viable "Plan B" to take his place. That's why the cutting of Jones was a last straw. The new guys are looking for a linebacker-type to play strong safety. Jones is no linebacker, but he averaged 109 tackles the last four seasons. His replacement, Raion Hill, has zero starts in his short career and a total of four tackles. He doesn't sound like a viable "Plan B" to me.'
News game plan in place for covering Bills opener [9:19 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'We plan to send eight staffers to the game - including Executive Sports Editor Howard Smith, who coordinates the coverage from the press box. They'll file their stories, columns and photographs for Monday's Sports tab.'
Saints ready to let loose with all weapons [8:17 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'The Saints appear to be catching Buffalo at a good time. The Bills, like the Saints last season, are still in the throes of an offseason overhaul. The club has a new head coach, general manager, coaching staff and 16 new players.'
Bills resemble last season's Saints [8:16 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I see a significant difference in how the two teams went about the job," said Larry Felser, a longtime Bills watcher for the Buffalo Evening News. "The Saints, it seemed, brought in new free-agent blood, but they kept the players worth keeping. The Bills seemed to go out and make changes in the name of change."'
Fourcade's day in the spotlight [8:14 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: 'Today's game is the first for the Saints at Rich Stadium since that fateful day 12 years ago.'
An inside look [8:13 AM]
New Orleans Times Picayune reports: '"I always knew Jim (Haslett) was cut out to be a coach. Jim has one of the big intangibles you need to be a great head coach. He's not afraid to cut anyone's throat and then leave them for dead." -- Former Bills NT Fred Smerlas.'
Saints' journey starts in Buffalo; will it end in Super Bowl? [6:34 AM]
Baton Rouge Advocate reports: '"They're going to get to the quarterback," admitted Johnson, who may benefit from the Bills' switch to the rhythmic, quick passing game of the West Coast offense. "They've hit every quarterback they've played."'
Bills face imposing defense in season opener [6:08 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The feeling is that this afternoon's game at soldout Ralph Wilson Stadium has all the makings of a train wreck.'
Bills have no more time for excuses [6:06 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Well, the hype and posturing are over, it's time for the Buffalo Bills to show what they've got. And, frankly, there's some legitimate concern.'
Brooks wants to light up Buffalo [5:41 AM]
Mobile Register reports: '"We want to make a statement throughout the year and it starts today," said Joe Johnson. "It's very important we rattle (Rob) Johnson early and take out the running game."'
New-look Bills ready for first test [5:33 AM]
D and C reports: 'The majority of fans and media in western New York think not. There isn't much hope for success today, or in 2001, the negative nabobs insisting that the Bills have undergone too radical a change, are too young and are simply not talented enough to contend for a playoff berth. Not surprisingly, the attitude is much different within the confines of One Bills Drive as players, coaches and front office officials deny the team is about to embark on the mother of all rebuilding years.'
Q and A with Jonas Jennings [5:32 AM]
D and C reports: 'What pops into your head when someone mentions Buffalo? ''The cold weather. I don't know what it would be like. Everybody I talk to back home, it's 'How's the weather? Is it cold up there? Is there snow on the ground yet?''
In Thurman's footsteps [5:31 AM]
D and C reports: '"When Travis gets the ball, you get the feeling he knows where he's going. He understands the importance of not rushing things and letting the play unfold. Thurman was like that. Real patient with the ball, real intelligent -- then boom he sees his opening and takes advantage of it. And Travis can't be a treat to tackle because he is nothing but shoulder pads and knees coming through that hole. Like a bowling ball ready to make contact with pins."'
Scouting report [5:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'But because the NFL is so parity-driven, there is still a glimmer of hope that the Bills can be competitive this year.'
Haslett a fan, but ... [5:29 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"You have a lot of fans up there. I have a lot of friends still living up there, a lot of players I played with still up there, and it's odd. I still want them to be successful too, other than against us."'
Booted into limbo [5:27 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'With former teammates Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas standing proudly at his side, Andre Reed -- the leading receiver in Buffalo Bills history -- bid adieu to the team yesterday. Too bad Steve Christie, the team's all-time leading scorer, did not have the same opportunity to say goodbye.'
Man in the middle tackles West Coast [5:26 AM]
Biloxi Sun Herald reports: 'How well the Bills' untested offensive line protects Johnson is a huge key. "One of the things that I really studied hard the last two years when we played against this team was the extreme depth of drops," said Bills coach Gregg Williams, who was the Tennessee Titans' defensive coordinator the past four years. "We knew going into the ballgame that we were going to have a chance to get after him and put a lot of hits on him because of how deep they were setting him."'
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