Third-string QB often premium insurance [7:18 AM]
Dallas Morning News reports: '"There were no dobbers down when Rob got hurt," Bills offensive coordinator Joe Pendry said. "Even though it was a tight ball game, there was never any thought that 'We don't have a chance now.' "This team felt good about Alex in there. He knows how to play the game. He's a smart guy who prepares well and performs. That's the reason you have a veteran third quarterback."'
Bills have the edge when they hold ball [7:09 AM]
Green Bay Press Gazette reports: 'A year ago, Buffalo led the league in average time of possession. The team's mark of 32 minutes and 12 seconds was one second better than runner-up Tampa Bay. In their opener this year, the Bills controlled the ball for over 33 minutes in a 16-13 win over Tennessee. In Buffalo, Green Bay will face an offensive line that averages nearly 325 pounds per starter. That's about 40 pounds more per man than the Packers' starting defensive line. On the other side of the ball, the Packers have to operate against a defense that held Eddie George to just 37 yards rushing and the Titans to 172 yards overall. A year ago, Buffalo's defense was tops in the NFL. Ball control and winning seem to go hand-in-hand for the Bills. Since 1999, they are 10-2 when they keep the ball longer than their opponent. They're merely 2-4 when they don't.'
Scouting report [7:07 AM]
Green Bay Press Gazette reports: 'The Bills are at home, where they are 61-20 over the last 10-plus years. But there's always the chance they'll take the Packers a little lightly after their emotional win over Tennessee, which beat them in the playoffs last year with a miracle kickoff return for a touchdown.'
Bills wary of Favre [6:59 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Even though Favre is playing with tendinitis in his throwing elbow and despite the fact he needs to ice an injured thumb he hurt last year, the Bills are wary of his presence. "If Brett Favre pulls on that No. 4 jersey and goes out there to play, we know he's going to give 110%. That injury stuff doesn't mean a thing,'' Bills safety Keion Carpenter said.'
Buffalo wants to get offensive [6:55 AM]
D and C reports: '"Our defense played so well they have a better opportunity to let down than us,'' quarterback Rob Johnson said. ''Offensively, we didn't play that well. There's no room for us to have a letdown."'
Bills-Packers scouting report [6:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...They keep Favre's big plays to a minimum. The Packers' ground game figures to stumble, so Favre will be airing it out most of the day and that might be dangerous for the Bills...Rob Johnson doesn't pretend he's Earl Campbell, taking on all comers when he runs out of the pocket. If Johnson's healthy, he will be a productive quarterback this season...The offensive line can win the battles up front and provide running room for the backs as well as time for Johnson to throw...Their special teams provide good field position for the offense and bad field position for Favre, therefore forcing him to drive long distances to get scores against a very good defense.'
'65 championship was a blast [6:51 AM]
D and C reports: 'Today, about 25 members of that Bills team that repeated as American Football League champions in 1965 will be honored before the Green Bay Packers game at the stadium that bears Wilson's name. You can be sure there will be plenty more laughs as the oldtimers tell tall tales over tall ones. Lou Saban, the well-traveled coach, is expected to be there, as is Jack Kemp, the quarterback who became a Congressman and presidential candidate, and Billy Shaw, the Hall of Fame guard who anchored a vastly underrated offensive line. "Our '64 championship team was healthier and had more overall talent, but the '65 season may have been more gratifying because we had to overcome so much more," recalled Kemp, the director of Empower America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.'
Shuffling to Buffalo [7:57 PM]
Packer Report reports: 'Green, Favre and company will face a very good Buffalo defense. The Bills finished last season with the NFL's best defense, and it shows no signs of relinquishing the crown. Last week the Bills limited Titan running back Eddie George to 37 yards on 17 carries. "The Bills defense is very strong and powerful," said Packer head coach Mike Sherman. "They haven't lost much from last season."'
The Class of '65 [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I had a great fondness for that team," said Saban, who is coaching at Canton (N.Y.) Tech. "I thought it was one of those teams that I coached that did it when they were all beat up and still able to win the championship. I had great respect for the people as individuals as well as football players." Saban will return to Western New York this weekend and join some 40 of the 52 players on the Bills' last championship team. Festivities include a cocktail party and dinner tonight, a ceremony before the Packers-Bills game Sunday and the Quarterback Club luncheon on Monday. Among those in attendance will be the stars of that game, Jack Kemp and Ernie Warlick, who connected on an 18-yard touchdown pass, and Butch Byrd, who had a 74-yard punt return for a TD. Others include Dubenion, Hall of Fame guard Billy Shaw, center Al Bemiller, fullback Wray Carlton, cornerback Booker Edgerson, linebacker Harry Jacobs, linebacker Marty Schottenheimer, quarterback-receiver Ed Rutkowski, defensive tackle Ron McDole and linebacker Mike Stratton. "It's always good for a good time," said Stratton, whose tackle on Keith Lincoln in the '64 title game was one of the biggest plays in team history. "You get to match your recollection of things against other people's recollection. It's amazing how much difference there can be. If you look back 35 years, I made all the tackles and (safety) George Saimes didn't make any. Of course, he remembers it just the other way."'
Bentley back in Buffalo on dual career path [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bentley is moving his wife and five children from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Western New York because he is the head coach of the Buffalo Destroyers of the Arena Football League. "I can't not be there," said Bentley, who expects his Destroyers position to be mentioned in the broadcast. Fox, after all, has allowed him to continue coaching. "They understand that it really can only help as far as being a better broadcaster," Bentley said. "Now I can look at it not only as a former player but also from the perspective of a current coach."'
Moulds looking to play bigger role for the Bills [7:32 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"I've had teams hold me to one catch and things, but I'm not really concerned about it," Moulds said. "If I go out and play hard, you can't (double-cover me) every play, so eventually I'll be singled up and that's when I have to make the play." Moulds might have a field day tomorrow when the Bills play host to the Green Bay Packers. The Packers secondary is banged up and will be without Mike McKenzie, Green Bay's top cornerback who hurt his knee during last week's loss to the New York Jets.'
Rossum set to return to scene of perceived crime [7:24 AM]
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: 'Green Bay Packers return specialist Allen Rossum will not only be the smallest player Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium but also possibly the biggest target. Two weeks ago, Rossum was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles in their final exhibition game when, with 31 seconds left, he hustled around the corner and dived, attempting to block a field-goal attempt by Steve Christie of the Buffalo Bills. Rossum slid into Christie's leg and the kicker went down for more than a minute before being carried off the field. Bills coach Wade Phillips was yelling and pointing at Rossum, who stayed with medical personnel until Christie was moved. His 33-yard field goal ensured the Bills' 16-12 victory. Rossum was penalized 15 yards for running into the kicker. It turned out that all Christie received was a bruise below the knee, and within a few days he was fine. But some Bills were incensed at the time, given the circumstances. "In high school, we'd have had a fight after the game over something like that," Bills defensive end Marcellus Wiley said. Traded to the Packers the next day, Rossum forgot about the incident until he was asked at mid-week if he feared the Bills' special teams would be out to wreak physical revenge. "You know, I'm not worried about that if they're going to have that type of attitude," he said. "I didn't try to hurt the guy. If that was the case, I would have run right for the kicker. He was coming down and we just bumped into each other." Bills general manager John Butler was as concerned as anyone about Christie's condition at the time but absolved Rossum of malicious intent and doesn't anticipate retaliation from Buffalo coverage units.'
Bills know Favre will go all out [7:17 AM]
D and C reports: '"If Brett Favre pulls on that No. 4 jersey and goes out there to play, we know he's going to give 110 percent," free safety Keion Carpenter said. "That injury stuff doesn't mean a thing." Said defensive end Marcellus Wiley: "Brett Favre can go 0- for 20 then rip your heart out with pass 21. They say he's hurt but like they say, a wounded animal is a dangerous animal."'
Packers facing 3-4 defense again [9:37 PM]
Appleton Post-Crescent reports: '"No secret," Packers quarterback Brett Favre said. "(The Bills) are as good as they are hyped up to be. Very good, even better at home. Tremendous size up front and, on top of that, they're very quick. "I'm not blowing smoke here, they're good. We'll have our hands full. By far the best run defense that we'll probably face all year, or close to it. If you can't run, then you have to throw every time and are playing into their hands." The heart of the defense are nose tackles Ted Washington and Pat Williams, perhaps an ideal combination of size and more size. Packers coach Mike Sherman used to coach Williams at Texas A&M, so he knows what the Packers are up against. "It's a strong, powerful defense," Sherman said. "Washington is listed at 330 pounds, he might be more like 360. He is a huge man, probably one of the best run stoppers in football."'
Packers offense works out kinks [5:33 PM]
Appleton Post-Crescent reports: The coach began the day by comparing the Week 1 defeat to Muhammad Ali losing the first round of a heavyweight fight. It was an analogy the players appeared to buy into, Favre in particular. "I'd like to think this of'fense has a knockout punch to it," Favre said. "It has in the past. To say that I was rusty, had not played in three weeks, had not played in a game - yes, that is true. That is no excuse."'
Week 2 at a Glance [9:25 AM]
CNN/SI reports: "Miracle: Have y'all tired of hearing "miracle" tied to Tennessee and Buffalo. It's over -- besides, in Buffalo, it wasn't a miracle; it was a forward lateral."
Nice bit on the "Social Security Three" at the bottom, too.
Bills bundle running game in a package [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Smith will be the man mostly on first and second downs when the Bills are more likely to run. He still has the power and burst of speed to make plays. Even though Smith won't catch a lot of passes, his presence in the backfield on first-and-10 could help set up the play-action pass. Linton, who led the team in rushing last year as a part-time player, excelled as a third-down back. He's got good hands and the 6-foot-1, 230-pounder is difficult to bring down. Though listed as questionable, it's possible he could see his first action on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. Linton also can play some fullback. Bryson has unlimited potential as a runner and receiver. He also has the breakaway speed to turn short gainers into long ones.'
Moulds miffed by offensive unit's miscues [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Last year, the defense just carried us," he said. "I don't want it to be a situation where we're a one-dimensional team as far as the defense just carrying us each week because we're going to play Minnesota and some great offenses. Tennessee has a good offense, but they don't have the capabilities of the Minnesota offense."'
Bills double down on 'D' [6:37 AM]
D and C reports: 'It will be harrowing enough on Sunday for Brett Favre to have to look across the line of scrimmage at two fire-breathing behemoths who weigh a combined 650 pounds two. But the Green Bay Packers superstar knows things could be worse Bills. "That's a 1-2 combo that's as good as any in the league," Favre said of the Bills' two imposing nose tackles, Ted Washington and Pat Williams, who are now being used in tandem in certain situations by defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell drive. "I can say this, I'm just glad I'm not a center or a guard," Favre said the other day. "Ted's an imposing force. We go way back, and it never ceases to amaze me how quick he is. And Pat Williams may be the quickest nose tackle I've seen. "Being a quarterback against them ain't easy, but being a center or a guard, you've got your hands full."'
Moulds speaks up, worries about 'O' [6:35 AM]
D and C reports: 'Disgruntled Buffalo Bills wide receiver Eric Moulds has cleared the air with his coaches and teammates and is ready to resume his role as the team's most marked man two. Moulds, who caught just two passes for 46 yards in last Sunday's victory over the Tennessee Titans, stormed out of the locker room after the game, apparently upset with not getting the ball enough Bills. He refused interviews for three days, but yesterday told The Empire Sports Network he spoke with offensive coordinator Joe Pendry and felt better drive. It's also known that Moulds spoke with all three of the team's quarterbacks, Rob Johnson, Doug Flutie and Alex Van Pelt, about his role. Without released veteran Andre Reed, second-year pros Peerless Price and Jeremy McDaniel have to prove themselves in order to take some heat off Moulds. Until that happens, the former Pro Bowler will attract much attention.'
Bills' defense leads the way [6:26 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: '"We didn't have a high number of sacks, interceptions, things like that," said linebacker Sam Cowart, who led the Bills with 186 tackles last season (fifth-best all-time in team history two). "We were a very conservative defense Bills. As a result of that, we gave up the least amount of big plays last year drive. That's our philosophy. It kind of takes away from our players' stats, but we're able to do that and finish in the top three or four in defense every year."
Under the microscope [6:24 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'Moulds is one of the NFL's best receivers and look for him to test whoever starts at cornerback in place of the injured Mike McKenzie two. The candidates are Edwards, who has practiced and played at safety all summer, and McBride, who was flagged four times and surrendered a 61-yard pass to the Jets last week Bills. Moulds, however, was contained by Tennessee last week, catching two passes for 46 yards drive. "(Last week Tennessee) did a lot of stuff with their pass rush where we couldn't get him the ball that much," Bills quarterback Rob Johnson said. "They doubled him in certain situations. Hopefully, we'll be able to get him the ball more. Obviously, we're not going to try to force the ball to him if they're doubling him."'
Bills' notes [6:22 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'Phillips surprised most Bills fans last year when he replaced Doug Flutie in the starting lineup with Johnson for the final regular-season game two. Flutie had guided Buffalo to a 10-5 record Bills. The move drew criticism, but Johnson was glad his teammates were around for support drive. "Last year, I felt the guys rallied around the change," Johnson said. "That made it easier to handle, because Flutie's such a fan-favorite up here. The support I was getting was more from the organization than the community." This year, he feels the fans have come around. "I think they have accepted that as long as we keep winning," Johnson said. "If you lose some games, they will want the other guy in there."'
Tailgate Blitz [6:19 AM]
Green Bay News Chronicle reports: 'I picked up the recent edition of Penthouse and was overjoyed to find another quality piece of journalism mixed in with all those annoying advertisements and pictures two. In the story, Bills starting quarterback Rob Johnson says former starter Doug Flutie is "not much fun to play with Bills." Hey, you can't blame Flutie drive. You'd be bitter, too, if your only claim to fame these days is hocking cereal and discount telephone calls.'
Moulds frustrated by Bills offensive mistakes [8:14 PM]
AP reports: 'Too many mistakes on offense make Eric Moulds an unhappy man. After avoiding questions from the media all week, and amid speculation that he's discouraged over his contract situation, the Buffalo Bills marquee wide receiver said Thursday his frustrations stem from the team's play -- specifically on offense -- and are not personal. "I'm more frustrated two, not really to get the ball bills, I'm more frustrated for the offense as a unit drive," Moulds said as the Bills prepare to play the Green Bay Packers Sunday. "Last year the defense carried us. I don't want it to be a situation where it becomes a one-dimensional team as far as the defense carrying us each week." Moulds added that he was particularly discouraged by the number of times Bills quarterback Rob Johnson was knocked down in Sunday's 16-13 win over Tennessee. Johnson was eventually knocked out in the fourth quarter with a nerve "stinger" in his lower left leg. "I was upset about the way they were hitting Rob," he said. "You could just see his eyes during the game, he was worried about getting hit so much that it takes a little bit away from his game."'
Super Sunday night game topped MNF [5:14 PM]
CNN/SI reports: Dr. Z doesn't have a whole lot to say about the game itself. Mostly, he compares and contrasts the announcing styles of ESPN's Sunday night crew with ABC's Monday night bunch. Still, it's an interesting read, with a few nice comments and insights in it.
Chiefs expected to follow Buffalo's lead [1:23 PM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The Titans didn't rush for enough yardage in Buffalo. The Titans didn't throw enough downfield passes in Buffalo. The Titans offense, one that had sparkled in the preseason, was just nowhere to be found in Buffalo. OK, now tell the Titans something they don't know. "We knew going in (the Bills) were going to play that kind of game," Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. "We told our guys it was going to be a slow, methodical game against a defense that deserved their ranking last year (No. 1 in the NFL). We were going to have to pick and choose, we were going to have to be smart, and when the one or two plays came free we were going to have to make them. "One or two plays came free and we didn't make them," he added. "Anybody that wins against (the Bills) will have to win ugly."'
Favre's game streak may be his top record [1:16 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'But of all his stats - the 16 fourth-quarter comebacks, the second-place standing behind Dan Marino in passing yardage for the '90s, the decade's lead in TD passes - one means more than any of the others. Come Sunday afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium, Favre will start his 127th consecutive game...an NFL record.'
Playing hurt [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Favre expects a better offensive showing this week, but knows that won't be easy. He thinks the Bills' defense is better than last year's top-ranked unit. It doesn't help the Packers that one of their biggest weapons, running back Dorsey Levens, is out with a knee injury. However, they aren't devoid of talent. Antonio Freeman is one of the best wide receivers in the league. Fellow wideout Bill Shroeder is a rising star with a knack for getting open downfield. The Packers also have a couple of quality tight ends in Tyrone Davis and Bubba Franks, their first-round draft pick out of the University of Miami. Running back Ahman Green is no Levens, but he brings more game-breaking speed. Still, stopping Favre is Priority One for the Bills' defense. "He can make plays any time, so we're particularly concerned with him," Phillips said. "Normally when you give him a little time, he's going to tear you up. He just didn't happen to do it (against the Jets), but he still had them in position to win. He's that kind of quarterback."'
Moulds mum about mood swing [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Quarterback Rob Johnson thinks the source of Moulds' frustration was the lack of receiving opportunities last Sunday. With the Titans paying special attention to him, Moulds didn't catch a pass until the fourth quarter. He had two receptions for 46 yards, including a 36-yarder that set up Steve Christie's winning field goal. Both passes were thrown by Alex Van Pelt. Johnson threw to Moulds four or five times without a completion, although Moulds drew one pass interference penalty. "I'm sure he is (frustrated) a little bit. I know I would be if I was him," Johnson said. "He's an outstanding player and he wants the ball. All the receivers are all the same. All the great ones want the ball, and if they don't get it, they are not happy, I assume." However, there's also speculation Moulds could be unhappy about his contract situation. Moulds becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, and stands to cash in with a huge contract the way receivers such as Keyshawn Johnson, Isaac Bruce, Marvin Harrison and Joey Galloway did this past offseason. Moulds has said in the past he wants to stay in Buffalo, but the Bills don't have enough money under the salary cap right now. It may take dumping some high-priced talent after the season to give Moulds a contract he is happy with.'
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