The goal standard [9:44 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The list is scribbled toward the back of the notebook he uses for scouting opposing players. The rookie cornerback opens it daily, making sure he's keeping an eye on receivers around the league while keeping tabs on himself. It reads: 1. Improve every day...2. Be the best defensive back in the league...3. Lead the league in interceptions...4. Defensive rookie of the year...5. Pro Bowl..6. Best kickoff and punt returner...7. The word "can't" is not an option for me.'
Parker and Ellis have their own Buffalo connections [9:42 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'They are two guys with strong ties to Buffalo. But any feelings Vaughan Parker and Ed Ellis have for the Queen City will be put aside today. Parker and Ellis are offensive linemen for the San Diego Chargers, who host the Buffalo Bills in Qualcomm Stadium. "I grew up in Buffalo, so I was a big Bills fan," Parker said. "I still want them to do well...when we're not playing them."'
Bills-Chargers: It's a whole new ballgame [9:40 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'But Wilson and Butler won't be able to carry their bitterness onto the field. The players will, though.'
Wilson gave aid, comfort to Chargers [9:39 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'A whole lot of talking has been going on in the past week, though. Chargers linebacker Sam Rogers, yet another transplanted Bill, said today's game will be "very, very personal." He said they want to beat Buffalo for Butler in the same way they wanted to beat Washington for Norv Turner, their offensive coordinator.'
Bills need to see another good game from Johnson [9:38 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Doug did a con job with the media this week, lavishing praise on Buffalo's cornerbacks, Antoine Winfield and rookie Nate Clements. Yes, they're good, but Flutie's wide receivers, Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway, are big and have long experience.'
Bills-Bolts not a game; it's a made-for-TV soap [9:06 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Even so, the Chargers don't believe they will fall today. Rogers said publicly during the week that the Chargers should win by 10 points, which surely made the worrisome Butler cringe. He is an old-school guy who doesn't like providing bulletin board material to opponents, which is why he has told writers he plans to remain silent until after the game.'
Flutie-Johnson debate won’t end today [7:14 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The reality of it is, the controversy isn't going to go away. Either Doug Flutie or Rob Johnson could put up huge numbers this afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium and the question of which of them should be the Buffalo Bills' quarterback would still rage on. And remain ugly.'
Flutie or Johnson? Move on, people [7:13 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'This has a chance to sound really silly again about 7 tonight, but why would the Buffalo Bills have done things any differently? When it came to making a choice between Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson, a 39-year-old against a 28-year-old for a rebuilding team, what choice was there?'
Johnson versus Flutie [5:57 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"You never really got the feeling that they were going to hit each other, nothing like that," said Holecek, who like Flutie is now a member of the San Diego Chargers. "But you had to think maybe they wanted to."'
QB battle isn't the only story [5:56 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Expect the Bills to stack the line of scrimmage and try to stuff the TCU grad much like the Denver Broncos did last week when Tomlinson mustered just 58 yards on the ground.'
Battle of Bills becomes Super Bowl for Buffalo [5:54 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"If people don't think after this chronology that Butler didn't have any intention of extending his deal with the Bills," Wilson said, "then they think people don't drink beer in Munich."'
Flutie, Rob can settle it on the field [5:34 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Did the Bills make the right choice? Long-term, yes. Short-term, no.'
Atmosphere is charges [5:32 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'After listening to this all week, I began to wonder whether anyone in Buffalo or San Diego besides Marcellus Wiley was ever told the story of Pinocchio, because if it still applies, there's no facemask thick enough to keep the noses of most of the people involved in this game from poking each other in the eye.'
Super Bowl XXXV 1/2 [5:24 AM]
D and C reports: 'He'll never say it publicly, but does anyone really doubt that Johnson isn't frothing at the mouth to beat the Chargers and Flutie, his arch enemy who he spent the previous three seasons sparring with in Buffalo?'
Butler, Smith happy in new environment [5:23 AM]
D and C reports: '"When you're told that Doug Flutie, after the first mini-camp, is terrible and send him back to Canada, you fight those battles. When you're told Eric Moulds is a bust, and let's cut our losses, you fight those battles. You fight 'em until you've had enough. The same with Antowain Smith. There's a long, long list of names. I'll give you three, not 43."'
Phillips finds himself on fence again [5:21 AM]
D and C reports: 'So when asked to predict the winner of today's Buffalo-San Diego game, pitting Johnson's Bills against Flutie's Chargers, he politely played it right down the middle. "Shoot, I don't know. I couldn't pick 'em when I was coaching them," Phillips says by phone from Texas, letting out a chuckle. "I just don't think you can tell. I know and like people on both sides so that's the good thing for me. It doesn't matter who I pull for, one is going to win."'
It's time to bring end to QB quarrel [5:19 AM]
D and C reports: 'I don't know what's been most nauseating about this No-Longer-So-Great Quarterback Debate: Rob Johnson's inability to take the high road in the fray; the fanatics who think Doug can walk on Flutie Flakes without crushing them, or the thin-skinned members of the western New York media who believe Flutie should burn in hell because his huge ego rubbed them the wrong way.'
Scouting report [5:18 AM]
D and C reports: 'Travis Henry and the running game need to give Johnson some help. Johnson isn't good enough to win this game with a one-dimensional passing attack, so he'll need Henry to rip off chunks of yardage on the ground to keep the San Diego defense honest. Rattle Flutie and prevent him from getting into a comfort zone.'
Buffalo Injury report from ESPN [7:49 PM]
ESPN reports: The Bills had a scare Thursday when WR Eric Moulds rolled an ankle, but he returned to practice Friday and was fine. He participated in all of Friday's drills. The Bills are expected to give backup WR Jeremy McDaniel another week to heal from his ankle injury. DE Phil Hansen says he will return after two missed games because of a dislocated elbow. He may not start, but he is expected to play. That will help the Bills run defense against San Diego. Jon Carman will start at right tackle for injured Jonas Jennings,who has a foot injury.
Sore Seau practices, hopeful of playing [10:55 AM]
North County Times reports: 'Bills quarterback Rob Johnson has a big fan in Riley. The two share a special relationship from their days together at USC. Johnson set numerous records there while Riley was the offensive coordinator. "Rob spent about every day in my office," Riley said. "He was a great guy to have around, and I really enjoyed coaching him. He was a heck of a kid."'
Running man [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'All Tomlinson has done is resurrect a Chargers' running game that hasn't produced a 1,000-yard rusher since 1994. He is the NFL's fourth-leading rusher with 544 yards - more than any San Diego running back has gained in a season the last two years.'
Butler exhales, then fires back at Wilson [9:08 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He insists he had no arrangement in place with San Diego when Wilson fired him before the last game of the regular season in December. And he said it's ludicrous to think any financial decisions were made without Wilson's knowledge and consent.'
Henry pleads guilty, hurts endorsement potential [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Henry was accused of having consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl in his home Sept. 23, authorities said. The girl, a runaway from the Hopevale residential facility for girls whom Henry had met at a Camp Road gas station, told Henry she was almost 18.'
The throwback [9:05 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: '"I came in as a second-round draft choice and I went to three Super Bowls right away," Hansen said. "They (the Bills) have done nothing but treat me well, and I've given them an honest day's work with the talent I've got. It's been a good marriage."'
Seau still sore, uncertain about playing [9:04 AM]
San Diego Union Tribune reports: 'Yesterday's practice was supposed to give linebacker Junior Seau a better idea of whether he'll be able to play tomorrow against Buffalo. But after going through his second practice in as many days, Seau (strained groin) seemed no closer to having an answer.'
At long last, feuding QBs meet on same field [7:47 AM]
National Post reports: '"I don't have to face him," Johnson said of Flutie. "He's not playing defence. Some of his fans probably think he can play defence, but no." Johnson's problem, of course, is that few Buffalo fans believe he can play offence.'
Johnson’s put Flutie feud behind him [7:42 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: '"We've gone beyond ridiculous (on the Flutie-Johnson issue) a long time ago," he said with a sad smile.'
Bills' defense mindful of Flutie's abilities [5:46 AM]
D and C reports: '"He's a great player, a great athlete, so you always like to watch him, but now the tables are turned. We have to go against him, I can't be in awe of what he's going to do next. The awe is over with, I know what he can do, now we have to stop it."'
Chargers almost Rob-bed [5:45 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'With that in mind, tomorrow may provide the ultimate irony. Just as Ralph Wilson Stadium is sprinkled with Flutie supporters on any given Sunday, there will be a pro-Johnson faction of family, friends and fans at Qualcomm. Johnson is still remembered fondly in these parts for setting a number of passing records while at USC.'
Winging it in Buffalo [5:43 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Here," longtime Buffalo News football columnist Larry Felser said, "you're not considered an outsider, a mercenary, even if you are. It's a very important, very impressive thing, to be an athlete here." Sunday, as they watch how the Bills fare against the Chargers, Buffalonians will be renewing a time-honoured habit. They will look west, toward the sun, and measure the friends who moved on against the friends who stayed.'
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