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Buffalo Bills News - July 30, 2000

Marker Tasker expects Buffalo to be strong again [6:58 AM]
D and C reports: '"Sure, they lost several good players, but they have some potentially great players waiting to come in. Antoine Winfield could be a Pro Bowl player, and I know linebacker Keith Newman is going to play great for these guys. It may not be the No. 1 defense, but certainly it will be a top 8 defense." Tasker likes the offense, too. He says the key will be quarterback Rob Johnson's health. "If he can stay healthy for 16 games, the Bills have a chance to be one of the teams to beat, not just in the AFC East, but in the league," he said. "Rob's that good if he's healthy. But that's going to be a question until he goes out there and does it over the course of a season.'

Marker Wilson heads for Saratoga Race Track [6:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills owner Ralph Wilson, a long-time thoroughbred race horse owner, headed for Saratoga Race Track after watching his team's scrimmage. This will be the 50th straight year he has vacationed at the storied town north of Albany. Though he has cut way back on the number of horses he owns, Wilson still has one racing at Saratoga. It's name is Country Coast, and Wilson says he might enter it in the prestigious Travers Stakes.'

Marker Optimistic Wiley keeps his perspective [6:54 AM]
D and C reports: '"By taking care of my back problem when we did, I'd be able to make it back in time for the regular season, and I'd be coming back without the pain that had been bothering me for a while," Wiley was saying after a recent training camp practice at St. John Fisher College. "Yeah, the timing might have been better, but it also could have been worse. It could have happened in the regular season." Those who know Wiley are not surprised by his positive response. He has always been a turn-lemons-into-lemonade kind of guy.'

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July 29, 2000

Marker Bills remaining quarterbacks struggle in intraquad scrimmage [4:48 PM]
AP reports: 'Doug Flutie is injured, Rob Johnson is still recovering from an illness and Alex Van Pelt is still in limbo. So the Buffalo Bills' remaining quarterbacks, and their offense, struggled in an intrasquad scrimmage before 5,500 spectators Saturday morning at St. John Fisher College.'

Marker Flutie's injury may open door for Van Pelt [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It appears the Bills are leaning toward signing a veteran quarterback in the near future. It could reopen the door for Alex Van Pelt, the veteran backup who was released by Buffalo after last season and remains unsigned. "There are several quarterbacks out there and, of course, Alex has been with us. That's a plus," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "He's been with us and knows the system. But again, we have other considerations. It may turn out we feel we're strong enough to go through the first how many games it takes with a first and a third quarterback."'

Marker Still tired and weak, Johnson back to work [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"From a couple days ago, when I wanted to die, I felt all right," Johnson said after the morning workout. "I just got worn down and tried to practice through it, and that made it worse."'

Marker No flare-ups as Thurman slammed [8:21 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'In a few years Thurman Thomas will be in Canton, Ohio, on this weekend priming for his Hall of Fame speech. Jamie Duncan will not be on his mind. Duncan was on it plenty Friday when the Dolphins practiced against Tampa Bay in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl. In what was supposed to be a controlled practice, Duncan, who is the first choice to replace Hardy Nickerson as Tampa Bay's middle linebacker, picked up Thomas and slammed him to the ground. Not one Dolphin came to Thomas' rescue.'

Marker Van Pelt agent to Bills: Better hurry [8:07 AM]
D and C reports: 'Still-available free agent Alex Van Pelt, who played five seasons for the Bills and is still living in Buffalo, is the likely candidate..."We're looking at our options right now," coach Wade Phillips said. "It's a lot more complicated than it used to be when there was no salary cap. Those things have to be worked out and we're discussing those things." Phillips said the team isn't looking for just "another arm" to get them through the rest of training camp at St. John Fisher College, but rather a player they know can play in the NFL. That's Van Pelt. Brian Kelly, Van Pelt's New Brunswick, N.J., agent, placed a phone call to general manager John Butler yesterday. "It's the obvious move but I haven't heard from them yet," Kelly said. "I've heard there's no one up there that can come in and play (if Johnson got hurt), so I'd expect to hear from them soon."'

Marker Cawley: 'I'd love to get in a game' [8:03 AM]
D and C reports: '"I was two plays away from going into the game and now I'm one play," said Cawley, who moves up the depth chart behind starter Rob Johnson after Doug Flutie suffered a severely torn groin muscle in practice Thursday. "One play isn't much of a difference. I just plan to come out here and perform the way I have been."'

Marker Bryson's chance finally arrives [8:02 AM]
D and C reports: '"It's my first chance to see how my knee is going to react with guys flying around," said an obviously excited Bryson. "We're flying around here (in practice), but it's nothing like a scrimmage situation."..."He's still not going to have any contact because we're not going to tackle anybody, but we're going to hit at the line of scrimmage hard, we're going to get to the football, we're going to knock the ball down, so it will be more of a test," said coach Wade Phillips.'

Marker Youngsters make most of diversions [7:59 AM]
D and C reports: 'Families who have visited the Buffalo Bills' training camp say the experience is a hit because it's free, includes sports activities for kids and visitors often meet some of the professional football players. But to make the most out of a visit to the St. John Fisher College campus, families who've been there recommend some strategies. For starters, be ready to move around or bring diversions...line up early if you want autographs.'

Marker Visit proves an asset for youth [7:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'There were hundreds of kids with proud smiles at training camp yesterday afternoon. Among the crowd of 8,100 were girls and boys, with moms and dads and teachers and pastors and community leaders and . . . well, slices of whole communities . . . who showed up wearing T-shirts with "Healthy Communities, Healthy Youth. Working Together to Build Assets" on the front. The camp visit was a special treat for the many who've been helping build a grassroots program of positive experiences, opportunities and personal qualities for youth in every corner of Monroe County.'

Marker Johnson returns, but takes it easy [7:54 AM]
D and C reports: "I was hoping to get a little work in yesterday and just ended up throwing," Johnson said. "Once I got the IV in me, I felt a lot better and got a couple good nights sleep. I told them I'd do as much as I could today and if I felt weak or sick, I'd stop. I felt weak, but from a couple days ago, wanting to die, I thought I did all right." Johnson lost some weight -- he didn't know how much -- and that contributed him to feeling weak yesterday morning. "I'm just glad it happened early in camp and not later in the year," he said. "It will take a while to get it back, but I'll be all right. Give me a week or two."'

July 28, 2000

Marker Unsettled QB situation normal for Bills [9:52 PM]
AP reports: '"Last year when they named me the starter, it was more the outside of Buffalo that was more shocked. The team was very supportive. Most of them came up to me and gave me words of encouragement. I think they sort of wanted a change last year. I don't know, just my opinion,'' Johnson said Friday.'

Marker Another dip in Flutie's football life [1:10 PM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Now the Buffalo ups and downs, and you wonder, has the guy used up his nine lives? Is there more? He's been ignored before, discarded, lost and forgotten in the Canadian wilderness for nine years. But he's still here. It's another football season, and you never know what part Doug Flutie's gonna play in it.'

Marker Flutie's injury leaves Bills thin at QB [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Preseason and camp is shot," Flutie said. "They just said to be patient because they know if they tell me a certain number of weeks (to return) that I'm going to push that and want to be on the field. "They set a general time frame of being sometime early in the season. I just have to rest it for a couple of weeks and let it settle down, and then we'll start rehabbing it and strengthening it."'

Marker Mohr steps in as emergency quarterback [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Mohr, the Bills' emergency quarterback if all of them go down in a game, didn't mind at all. "I love throwing the football," Mohr said. "I played quarterback my whole life growing up." Mohr, who has classic QB size at 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, was a star signal caller at Briarwood Academy in Thomson, Ga., where he rushed for 1,000 yards and passed for 700 as a senior. He once threw a touchdown pass for Alabama and also completed his only NFL attempt for 27 yards on a fake punt against the Green Bay Packers in 1997.'

Marker Misfortune trips Flutie [6:25 AM]
D and C reports: 'Flutie suffered a "severe" groin injury during the morning workout and will be sidelined the rest of training camp, all of the preseason, and possibly for a few games in the regular season. "That's the great thing, that we have another quarterback, but it's not a good thing for me right now," Phillips said when he learned the extent of Flutie's injury. "The guy's in tremendous shape; it was just one of those freak things that happen. It is a setback for us."'

Marker UB star Haddad a nifty long shot [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'Haddad's teammates like what little they see of the 5-foot-11, 184-pound natural receiver, a Cleveland native and rabid Browns fan who could make a catch in the middle of a demolition derby -- and often had to for winless UB last fall. "He's a good receiver," Bills cornerback Ken Irvin said. "He runs nice quick routes. I don't know whether he'll make the team or not. That will be up to the coaches. But he certainly has as good a shot as anyone."'

Marker Young players itch for contact drills [6:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills rookie defensive end Erik Flowers' eyes lit when asked to comment on tomorrow's scrimmage at St. John Fisher College. "Yeah I'm looking forward to Saturday," the first-round pick from Arizona State said. "We finally get to tackle a running back."'

Marker Moulds becomes 'go-to' teacher [6:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'Though only 27, Eric Moulds is the old sage of the receiving corps now that 15-year veteran Andre Reed is no longer with the team. Of the nine other receivers in camp, five are rookies. His young teammates are lauding Moulds for the way he's taken the time to help them improve. "Those guys don't have any NFL experience, besides Peerless Price," Moulds said. "We have a lot of young guys so I'm trying to pass things along to help them." One way he is doing that is leading by example. Moulds actually enjoys seeing double coverage in practice because he feels it will help make him a better player during the season.'

Marker A model carnival of style and precision [6:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'With enough tents to rival the Monroe County Fair, enough advertising signage to make NASCAR blush, with interactive games and clown entertainment, this isn't you're father's training camp. The scary thing is that the marketing festival underway at St. John Fisher College is actually a "tasteful" version of what it could've been, a team official said. Numerous businesses wanting a piece of the action but at the last minute were turned away. In other words, the fan who actually cares about football can be thankful that he doesn't also have to walk through a carnival midway and The Bearded Lady to get a glimpse of Erik Flowers.'

July 27, 2000

Marker Flutie will be out until September [7:52 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo Bills quarterback Doug Flutie will be out until at least September after suffering a severe groin injury when he slipped in practice Thursday. "He's going to be out quite a while, probably into the regular season,'' coach Wade Phillips said after learning the result of an MRI. "We don't know the timetable yet, but it's a severe injury."'

Marker Flutie to undergo MRI after straining groin [1:28 PM]
AP reports: '"Doug Flutie strained a groin muscle this morning and he will (miss) this afternoon for sure," Bills coach Wade Phillips said, adding that the MRI will be done to determine the extent of the injury. "His foot slipped a little bit. It didn't grab. Just typical of what happens when you strain a groin." Taking the snap, Flutie appeared to be ready to run the ball up the middle, but the turf gave out from under his right leg. Flutie went down face-first and grimaced in pain while holding his leg. He got up on his own after less than a minute, and did not appear to limp as he walked off the field to the trainers' room.'

Marker First five days of Bills' camp encouraging [1:10 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Collectively, the team reported in fabulous shape. The most obvious example is Ruben Brown, the four-time Pro Bowl guard, who showed up at 285 pounds ... about 40 less than the weight at which he played last year. "My wife (Kenia) wanted to lose weight after having the baby and we went on a diet and started going to the gym", Brown said. "The weight came off me really easily ... almost without trying. My wife prefers me like this and, personally, it's nice not to be a fat slob." But while quarterbacks Doug Flutie, approaching his 38th birthday, and starter Rob Johnson, are both in extraordinary condition, there is one exception. Fourth-year offensive lineman Jamie Nails is enormous, looking every ounce of his listed weight of 360 pounds ... and then some.'

Marker Greer happy with Bills' show of faith [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The 25-year-old Greer is one of the lesser-known names on the Bills' team but he might prove to be the most important backup player on the entire roster, No. 2 quarterback Doug Flutie included. Flutie isn't going to get on the field much unless Rob Johnson gets hurt. Greer, however, plays more than one third of the defensive snaps, and they're the most important plays in the game; the third downs, when the opposing offense either keeps its drive alive or is forced to get off the field. Greer enters in all obvious passing situations, whenever the Bills go to five or six defensive backs. "His worth has just skyrocketed," defensive backs coach Bill Bradley said. "The third corner is just about as important as a starting corner."'

Marker Intrasquad scrimmage set for Saturday [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills' intrasquad scrimmage is scheduled for Saturday morning at St. John Fisher College. The Bills will start practice at 9:30 a.m., run some drills with all players participating, then have mostly young players work in game-type situations. "We'll work more of the new guys, the guys we need to look at - guys who have been doing a good job but who haven't gotten all the reps," said Bills coach Wade Phillips. "There's a possibility all the quarterbacks might play but we haven't finalized that." The scrimmage probably will end about 11:30 a.m. There will be no afternoon practice on Saturday.'

Marker QBs on spot: Pass or fail [7:43 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Stay well: Rob Johnson emerged as Buffalo's quarterback in the playoffs when coach Wade Phillips benched Doug Flutie before the Tennessee game. Key issue: durability. In two seasons with the Bills, Johnson has started eight games and played in 11 but had to leave four of them because of injuries. Secondary issue: Can Flutie tolerate the backup role?'

Marker He's Winfield for the defense [7:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'Antoine was one of our best defensive backs -- last year. Maybe the best, in grading overall films," coach Wade Phillips said. "He had a tremendous rookie year and I expect him to just keep going from there. He's really a heady player, a great tackler, a real competitor and he makes plays. He'll make some more interceptions for us, too, with experience. I just feel he's got a great future."'

Marker Two veterans, rookie compete to replace Schulz [7:22 AM]
D and C reports: 'Kurt Schulz was never a Pro Bowl performer, and even though he signed a lucrative free-agent contract with the Detroit Lions, it is unlikely he will ever become a Pro Bowl player. Schulz was a good solid player, nothing more and nothing less. The Bills will miss the veteran who started the past five years at free safety. However, with Daryl Porter, Keion Carpenter and rookie second-round draft pick Travares Tillman to choose from, coach Wade Phillips doesn't think the Bills will have too much trouble replacing him. "I think both Porter and Carpenter can play well enough to help us be back at the top where we were last year," said Phillips, referring to Buffalo's No. 1 league rankings in overall defense and pass defense. "I have confidence in both those guys going in."'

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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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