No quarterback controversy in Bills' camp [6:06 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Johnson is the starter now. Flutie, when he returns from a severe groin injury a month into the season - as Dennis Miller would say, aren't groin injuries always severe? - will be on the bench. He will be ready to come in, as good a change-of-pace artist as there is in the NFL. He will get another chance to do his thing, as backup NFL quarterbacks always seem to do. He may even take the Bills back to the playoffs, and spark another controversy for another day. Until Flutie is healthy again, the pressure on Johnson is immeasurably less.'
Bills get positive efforts from QB's [6:02 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'And while there were several less memorable sequences for the Bills quarterbacks, there doesn't appear to be any need for injured quarterback Doug Flutie, who started the first 15 games of the 1999 season for the Bills, to hurry his return.'
Flowers preserves victory [5:58 AM]
D and C reports: 'When it was over, Buffalo was on the positive side of a 21-20 score as Erik Flowers preserved the win by blocking Doug Pelfrey's 29-yard field goal on the final play of the game, but that, of course, really didn't matter. This was a game Bills coach Wade Phillips said he was going to use for individual player evaluations, and he'll have plenty to evaluate in film sessions over the next two days.'
Receiver Black impresses with his speed [5:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'When the Bills selected Tennessee State wide receiver Avion Black in the fourth round of last April's NFL draft, the scouts raved about his sprinter's speed. They weren't exaggerating. Black turned a five-yard catch into an electrifying 34-yard touchdown play at the end of the first half, giving the Bills a 14-10 lead over the Cincinnati Bengals in last night's preseason opener at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
Defense needs turnovers to get respect [5:54 AM]
D and C reports: 'The defense may have been ranked first in yards allowed last season, but it ranked almost at the bottom in takeaways with 21. Nothing last night indicated the Bills have suddenly become pirate-like.'
Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:52 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"We put 'em every which way but loose, but they won on the scoreboard," coach Bruce Coslet said. "We'll take the positives out of, and, boy, we've got to learn from some of the boo-boos we made."'
Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:49 AM]
AP reports: 'Rookie linebacker Corey Moore blocked Doug Pelfrey's 29-yard field goal attempt with no time on the clock, and the Buffalo Bills hung on for a 21-20 victory in both teams' preseason opener.'
Bills 21, Bengals 20 [5:43 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rookie defensive end Erik Flowers made a favorable first impression on his new teammates. Flowers blocked a potential game-winning 29-yard field goal by Doug Pelfrey as time expired, giving the Buffalo Bills a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the exhibition opener for both teams.'
Bills vs. Bengals Audio Feed [11:34 AM]
TBD reports: Find out how you can hear the preseason games over the internet.
Cohen seeks spot with Bills [11:31 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'Former Miami University linebacker Dustin Cohen is fighting for a slot as a second- and third-team strong-side outside linebacker with the Buffalo Bills.'
Bengals search for answers in tonight's exhibition opener [11:29 AM]
Cincinnati Post reports: 'A backup center starting for the Bengals. A slimmed-down Ted Washington tag-teaming with Pat Williams. Who wins that battle?'
Johnson ready to show why he's No. 1 [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Johnson is the starter. Any ounce of leftover doubt vanished the moment Flutie suffered a groin injury in training camp that could keep him sidelined for the first three games of the regular season. This is Johnson's team now. Tonight, Johnson will be behind center when the Bills open the preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. His performance against the Bengals will have no bearing on the depth chart at quarterback. For the first time since 1998, Johnson can start a game without controversy. "I'm just anxious to get back in the groove and throw the ball well," Johnson said. "Actually, last year, when they named me the starter, it was outside Buffalo where they were more shocked. The team was very supportive. That's what made it so easy for me."'
Bengals open preseason with goal: Win [7:51 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: '"It would be helpful for us to win games in the preseason,", club president Mike Brown said. "If you have an established team, there isn't the emphasis put on it. But for us, it's different. We have to build from the bottom up. And part of that is re-establishing our confidence and getting to feel a little better about ourselves."'
Miami U. star trying to make Bills [7:48 AM]
Cincinnati Enquirer reports: 'Dustin Cohen, a Summit Country Day graduate and former Miami University football star, is trying to make the Buffalo Bills as a linebacker. Cohen 23, a two-time Mid-American Conference defensive player of the year for the RedHawks, was signed by the Bills as an undrafted college free agent. Working against Cohen is that the Bills had the NFL's top-rated defense in 1999. Working for him is the linebacker-oriented style of defense Buffalo plays, a true four-linebacker setup with three linemen.'
Bills undergoing smooth transition [7:04 AM]
CNN/SI reports: 'Good fair preview of season for the Bills.'
Bills fired up for first preseason test against Bengals [6:41 AM]
AP reports: 'Among the positions to watch are: Free safety, where Keion Carpenter, who's worked with the first unit all week, will start as he challenges Daryl Porter for the vacant job...Right defensive end, where Shawn Price will get his first start filling in for Wiley, and top draft pick Erik Flowers will make his debut...Offensive backfield, where running back Antowain Smith attempts to rebound from an injury-plagued season, and Sheldon Jackson makes his debut at H-back...And special teams, where Avion Black, Drew Haddad and Sammy Morris will contend for the No. 1 returner's job. With Flutie out until at least September, the Bills' quarterback situation is settled with Rob Johnson the starter and recently reacquired Alex Van Pelt backing up.'
Season starts with Johnson [6:31 AM]
D and C reports: '"My first goal is to stay healthy," Johnson said. "Playing wise, I think I'll do fine as long as I'm healthy. I just have to stay away from getting hurt." He withstood Jevon Kearse and the Titans but he'll need many more hospital-free Sundays before people quit looking at him as one of those medical-school skeletons. Johnson claims he hasn't grown tired of hearing the comment, "Rob's good, but he's injury prone." "I'm not tired of hearing that because I want to do it," he said. "It's good motivation. I haven't done it yet (play all 16 games). A lot of quarterbacks get hurt in the NFL, you just have to stay away from the big injuries. The hits you take with the size of guys today, you're going to get bumps and bruises, you just need to avoid the big injury. I can play with pain."'
Young players on display [6:29 AM]
D and C reports: 'As it usually is, the first preseason game will serve as the initial audition for most of the players on the roster. The first-string players will play briefly, but the rest of the night will feature rookies and young veterans making their first live-action statements to the coaching staff. Carpenter will have the first chance to prove himself at the free safety position. He and Daryl Porter are competing to become Kurt Schulz's replacement, and thanks to a good performance in last week's scrimmage and solid work in practice, Carpenter has moved up to No. 1 on the depth chart. Other areas head coach Wade Phillips will be watching closely will be cornerback, outside linebacker, wide receiver, running back and kick returns.'
Make plays to catch on [6:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'Rookie draft choices Avion Black and Drew Haddad and rookie free agents Kwame Cavil, Kevin Drake, Corey Sullivan and Scott Pingel are all vying for those precious positions and their performances in the preseason games will most likely decide their fate. "I feel like I've shown my worth in practice, now it's trying to come up with some big plays in the preseason games," said Drake, an intriguing candidate who spent the spring playing for the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe and led that league with 12 touchdown receptions.'
Kalsu's story touching and tragic [8:53 PM]
New Bedford Standard Times reports: 'I sobbed when Jan told of the day she received word of her husband's death as she lay in her hospital bed after giving birth to her son, Bob Jr. I sniffled when the young Bob revealed he had heard his father's voice asking him to have the first dance with his sister on her wedding day. And I cried when Bob Jr. relayed how he saw his father sitting and smiling as he and Jill moved gracefully about the dance floor. But when all was said and done, I probably felt worse about myself for never having known Bob Kalsu had even existed.'
Haddad fights for roster spot [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Haddad has learned during the first two weeks of training camp that the seams in the secondary are much smaller in the NFL. The cornerbacks and linebackers are bigger and faster. The defenses are more complex. The offense takes more mental preparation off the field and quicker instincts are needed after the ball is snapped. So the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Haddad has a difficult task ahead, and that calls for drastic measures. He's throwing himself in front of the proverbial train, which is to say he's trying to win a job in the NFL by returning punts. He's also involved in an air-tight battle for one of the few jobs at wide receiver.'
QBs will rotate on Friday [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Starter Rob Johnson will likely open the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Alex Van Pelt likely will follow Johnson, and Mike Cawley and Phil Stambaugh also should receive some reps. Phillips said he would decide on the rotation and playing time during meetings Wednesday night. The Bills were scheduled for a light workout starting at 9:30 a.m. today before traveling to Orchard Park for the game.'
Thurman tutors Johnson: What's your rush? [8:27 AM]
Palm Beach Post reports: 'The Dolphins brought in Thurman Thomas for a multitude of reasons. Even at 34, the Dolphins believe there is enough left for him to be a change-of-pace third-down back and even the occasional starter if there are injuries. But it's no coincidence Thomas is Johnson's roommate. "We thought Thurman would be a positive influence on James," coach Dave Wannstedt said. "All he's got to do is watch how Thurman prepares himself for the season. I don't think Thurman Thomas has to say anything to him. Thurman does it the right way. If you watch practice, watch him in meetings, listen to the questions he asks, it's clear why he's a Hall of Fame candidate."'
Welcome to Camp Misery [8:03 AM]
D and C reports: 'An examination of a typical day in camp for a player reveals the clock is his best friend and his worst enemy. From sunup until sundown, players have less than four hours of free time a day. The rest of the time is spent eating meals, lifting weights, rehabilitating injuries, practicing, conducting interviews with the media, signing autographs, attending meetings and studying playbooks. In Irvin's room, three playbooks are stacked on a table, one each for defense, special teams and league and team rules. Some fun. What happened to the dancing girls? "It's like a boot camp, certainly," says coach Wade Phillips, who has been to camp with five different teams during his 24 NFL seasons. "Most training camps I think are similar in that you have to monopolize somebody's time to learn all the things they need to, that quickly. You have a captive audience, so to speak."'
Price slows toward success [8:01 AM]
D and C reports: 'With Bruce Smith and Sean Moran gone, and Marcellus Wiley recovering from back surgery, Price will play even more downs within the rotation system on the defensive line. "I've been waiting for this for a long time," Price said of his enhanced role.'
Carpenter will play with injured finger [7:58 AM]
D and C reports: 'Second-year pro Keion Carpenter, who is making a strong bid to win the open free safety job, split open the middle finger on his right hand at the first joint during a punt blocking drill. The finger, which needed five stitches, was heavily taped and padded yesterday but Carpenter won't miss tomorrow's first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Ralph Wilson Stadium.'
Tasker thrilled at his NFL All-Time honor [7:56 AM]
D and C reports: 'Steve Tasker always was a special special teams player for the Buffalo Bills. Now we know how special. He is among the 27 players on the NFL's All-Time Team. "Without a doubt, this is the greatest honor I've received as a football player," Tasker said yesterday from his home in Buffalo. "It's even better than being MVP of a Pro Bowl (in 1992)."'
Bills' opener far from being meaningless [1:20 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'With the Buffalo Bills two days away from their opening preseason game, coach Wade Phillips isn't sure how he'll play his personnel. In fact, it won't be until after the morning workout, the lone practice on Thursday, that Phillips will determine playing time for his team in Friday night's exhibition against Cincinnati at Ralph Wilson Stadium. But it will be anything but meaningless to some players. "It's important to a number of young guys," said Phillips, without being specific. However, it's easy to guess. Start with wide receiver. After former All-Pro Eric Moulds and last year's second-round draft choice, Peerless Price, there's not a single wideout on the Buffalo roster who has caught an NFL regular-season pass...Another battle to watch is at free safety where an inexperienced trio is competing for the spot vacated by Kurt Schulz, when he went to Detroit as a free agent. Daryl Porter, Keion Carpenter and this year's second round draft choice, Tavares Tillman, have never started an NFL game...Then there's running back. No matter what the Bills say, there's some concern about Antowain Smith.'
Bills 'D' says changes won't lead to drop-off [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"A lot of people are saying we're a second-rate defense now because of some of the players we lost, but we believe we can be just as good as we were last year," said linebacker Sam Cowart. "We'll be a little younger. But with youth comes a little more excitement, and I think we're faster than we were last year as a whole unit." "There's some writers out there who are doubting us and putting us 26th in the league, and it's a crock," said defensive lineman Shawn Price. "They can say that all they want but we're going to surprise people this year."'
Bryson, Cavil suffer minor injuries [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills got a scare Tuesday over a knee injury to reserve running back Shawn Bryson, and also announced that rookie receiver Kwame Cavil will be out 10 to 14 days with a strained calf muscle. Bryson twisted his left knee as he went down hard to the ground on a running play in Tuesday afternoon's practice. A magnetic resonance imaging test Tuesday evening proved negative. Bryson is listed as day-to-day for practice this week. Bryson, a third-round draft choice last year, was met at the line of scrimmage by linebacker Keith Newman, who had filled a gap on the play. Bryson immediately slammed the ball to the turf after hitting the ground. He was able to walk off the practice field and into the locker room under his own power. The injury occurred to the same knee that underwent reconstructive surgery last year after an injury in training camp. "It's fine," Bryson said as he made his way to the locker room. Cavil, meanwhile, injured his left leg in Monday's practice. "It's going to be close as to whether he's ready to play for the next game," coach Wade Phillips said, referring to the second preseason game, at Detroit on Aug. 12.'
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