Buffalo Bills News - August 28, 2000

Marker No big surprise as Bills are cut to 53 [6:00 AM]
D and C reports: 'There were absolutely no surprises yesterday when Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips trimmed his roster to the NFL-mandated limit of 53. The only cut that drew even a mild upward turn of an eyebrow was the release of quarterback Mike Cawley, but not because Cawley's play warranted him a spot on the roster. Cawley was decidedly unimpressive in the brief work he received in the four preseason games, but his departure leaves the Bills dangerously thin at quarterback for the first month of the season. The only healthy quarterbacks are starter Rob Johnson and third-stringer Alex Van Pelt as Doug Flutie continues to recover from a groin pull that will keep him inactive for at least the first three games. Should anything happen to Johnson and Van Pelt had to play, the Bills would be one play away from having to use an emergency quarterback, probably punter Chris Mohr.'

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August 27, 2000

Marker AFC East Scouting Report [7:33 PM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: 2. Buffalo 9-7

Marker Bills cut 12; acquire return specialist Chris Watson from Broncos [6:48 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills cut 12 players, including second-year running back Lennox Gordon, while also acquiring return specialist Chris Watson from the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The cuts bring the Bills' roster down to the maximum 53 in preparation for next weekend's start of the regular season.'

Marker Carpenter jumped into spot as Bills' starting safety [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In a span of one year, Carpenter's career has taken a dramatic leap forward. He came to the Bills last year as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Virginia Tech, where he was a second-team All-Big East selection as a senior. And while he made the Bills' regular-season roster, he was still a relative unknown whose only playing time came on special teams. Now many people know Carpenter, who is well aware of how far he's come in such a short time. "I feel blessed just to have the opportunity to contribute to a great organization like the Bills," said Carpenter, 22. "A lot of guys don't get this kind of opportunity until their third or fourth year in the league. I was blessed to be put in a perfect situation at the right time."'

Marker Glamour gone but East still a beast [6:40 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'No team in the division left a bigger impression on the Colts, by virtue of their 31-6 victory in the regular-season finale. "Buffalo dismembered us at the end of the season," said Polian. Though much has been made of the departures of Smith, Reed and Thurman Thomas, all were little more than situational players last season, and their replacements -- defensive end Marcellus Wiley, receiver Peerless Price and running back Antowain Smith are already experienced, productive players. "The fellows that they lost, even though they're very close to my heart and clearly among the greatest players in the history of the game, last year were really just role players for them," Polian said. "So they were prepared to have those players leave and have very adequate replacements on hand." If coach Wade Phillips can massage the quarterback situation to keep it from becoming controversial -- he's made it clear Rob Johnson is the man, with Doug Flutie in reserve -- the offense has few holes and the defense is still one of the nastiest in the game.'

Marker A season of questions [6:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'With this changing of the guard, there is excitement on One Bills Drive that this new herd can stampede its way back to the top of the AFC East and perhaps win a playoff game for the first time since 1995. However, there is also skepticism surrounding a young team that has to find its way with a potentially superb but largely untested quarterback leading the way.'

Marker Good enough? [6:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills, sans The Big Three and 15 players overall from last season's 11-5 playoff club, are relishing the opportunity to disprove the consensus opinion that they've lost too much firepower to remain a Super Bowl contender. They say people are overrating the loss of golden-oldie stars like Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed and underrating their young, talented replacements like Shawn Bryson, Marcellus Wiley and Peerless Price. They say that yes, the team will feature seven new starters, but there are also 15 returnees, forming the nucleus of a defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL and a No. 11 offense that should be much more explosive with Johnson taking over for Doug Flutie.'

August 26, 2000

Marker Morris rushes into Bills' backfield picture [1:02 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Morris proved he's more than just a reserve blocker in the Bills' 16-12 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. The fifth-round draft choice from Texas Tech is a viable backup option for the Bills at running back this season. Morris gained 101 yards on 27 carries and caught two passes for 41 yards. He did it mostly against backup performers. But he showed the shiftiness and quickness necessary to be a versatile contributor - one who can fill two roles for the Bills. "That was more carries than I had in any other day of reps in camp," Morris said. "It felt good. I just wanted to run as hard as I could." "Sammy's a talented player who's going to help us this year," coach Wade Phillips said.'

Marker Buffalo targets return to run [7:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'Despite the long ball returning to Buffalo's offense this preseason under quarterback Rob Johnson, don't expect the Bills to stop using the run to set up the pass. "We won't ever be a passing team first. The character of our team is to establish the run and pound it out and throw off that," Johnson said.'

Marker Fumbled punts concern to Bills [7:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'After rookie Avion Black had two muffed punt tries last week against St. Louis, coach Wade Phillips used second-year pro Peerless Price against the Eagles. Price, a feared return man at Tennessee, promptly fumbled his first return that Philadelphia recovered to set up a field goal. Phillips wouldn't say who he'll use against the Titans, but expressed confidence in Price. "I think we can count on him if we need to," he said.'

August 25, 2000

Marker A major scare for Christie, Bills [4:35 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'If you wondered why Wade Phillips didn't even dress a handful of his starting Buffalo Bills for last night's preseason finale in Philadelphia, all you had to do was watch the final 27 seconds. That's when Steve Christie, after kicking a 33-yard field goal, was accidentally hit in the knee by an Eagles' defender unsuccessfully diving for a block.'

Marker Bills finish preseason with a victory [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The outcome was a triumph for the Bills for a reason more important than the final score. They finished the game without any significant injuries.'

Marker Tickets for games are going fast [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'There are 4,500 tickets remaining for the Buffalo Bills' season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the team reported...The Bills are home in Week Two against Green Bay on Sept. 10. A couple thousand tickets are left for that one. They visit the New York Jets in Week Three and then have a bye. They return home on Oct. 1 against AFC East champion Indianapolis. A few thousand tickets remain for that game as well.'

Marker Buffalo Bills Preview [8:24 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Playoff forecast: Fair to good. Buffalo had a quality team last year and should be talented again. If the Bills find leadership and Johnson proves his worth, Buffalo should be in the thick of the playoff hunt.'

Marker Bills outlast Eagles [6:53 AM]
D and C reports: 'Aside from a sprained hand suffered by Antoine Winfield, call it a successful evening for Phillips, and as an added bonus, the Bills defeated the Eagles 16-12. With eight starters -- five on offense, three on defense -- not even in uniform, the Bills' reserves had plenty of opportunities to make one last impression before the final cut is made this weekend.'

Marker Eagles lose, finish 1-3 in preseason [6:40 AM]
Trenton Times reports: 'Buffalo running back Sammy Morris, a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, carried 27 times for 102 yards and caught two passes for 41 yards. He also scored the game's only touchdown on a 6-yard run.'

Marker Eagles starters were gone in a hurry [6:39 AM]
Trenton Times reports: 'Indeed, if you blinked -- or got caught in traffic -- you most certainly missed McNabb, who was gone after all of four plays -- among them an interception and a sack, along with a 3-yard pass to Torrance Small. You watched one Duce Staley run -- for one yard. For fans forced to shell out an average $50 a pop for their seats for this fiasco, that adds up to $12.50 per play from the starting backfield. What was that line P.T. Barnum said about suckers born?'

Marker Cautious Eagles fall quietly [6:34 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'On a busy off-the-field night when there were talks of a trade and a starter from last year was re-signed, the biggest and most significant move was made on the field by Andy Reid. It happened when the cautiously correct Eagles' coach wisely took quarterback Donovan McNabb out of the last game of summer with 9:11 left in the first quarter. The second-year quarterback, who can carry the heavy hopes of the franchise on only healthy legs, left the Eagles' preseason finale after just four offensive plays. Some might argue that was four plays too many in an uneventful 16-12 loss to Buffalo at Veterans Stadium. Bills coach Wade Phillips didn't play his starter Rob Johnson a snap.'

Marker Reid shoots down Pederson trade rumor [6:33 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'Billy Conaty (Camden Catholic) is the backup center. Conaty, who grew up in Pennsauken, is in his fourth year with the Bills out of Virginia Tech.'

Marker Sleepwalking birds [6:30 AM]
The Trentonian reports: 'If there was a hero in the Buffalo Bills 16-12 victory over the Eagles at Veterans Stadium, it was visiting quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who started and played into the fourth quarter of truly a nothing game.'

Marker Pederson to remain an Eagle [6:30 AM]
The Trentonian reports: 'Last night the Eagles started McNabb, but went to Koy Detmer after just two possessions with one interception and one three-yard completion. Detmer promptly went 0-for-4 in three series, one of which didn't net a yard on three pops from the Browns' [sic] 25-yard line, after the Eagles recovered a fumbled punt.'

Marker Eagles Fall to Bills to Finish Preseason [6:25 AM]
Comcast SportsNet reports: 'Special teams miscues cost the Eagles a shot at the win. David Akers accounted for all 12 Eagles points with four field goals but missed a 36-yarder in the final minutes. Allen Rossum followed by fumbling a punt.'

Marker Trade rumors swirl around Pederson [6:21 AM]
Allentown Morning Call reports: 'The game itself fell into the hands of backups. The Bills did not dress starting quarterback Rob Johnson, guard Joe Panos, top wide receiver Eric Moulds and a host of others, including Catasauqua High grad Jonathan Linton.'

Marker Bills cash in on blunders by the Eagles [6:19 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'Bills rookie fifth-round draft pick Sammy Morris scored the game's only touchdown on a six-yard second-quarter run. He finished with 142 total yards of offense, including 101 rushing yards.'

Marker Mistakes costly to Eagles [6:17 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'Christie added two more field goals, including a 33-yarder with 27 seconds left. He was injured on the second kick when Allen Rossum hit him low and late and needed to be helped off the field.'

Marker Eagles in a nutshell [6:16 AM]
phillyBurbs.com reports: 'The Eagles finished their four-game preseason with a 16-12 loss to the Buffalo Bills in a battle of second- and third-teamers at the Vet last night. The Eagles managed only four David Akers field goals and were kept out of the end zone by the Bills' scrubs.'

Marker Birds let the Bills end the preseason on top [6:13 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'Both teams were set on getaway mode, clearly more interested in killing three-plus hours and getting on to the regular season than in playing football against each other.'

Marker The Eagles' faithful glimpsing signs of progress [6:12 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'About the most intriguing development at the Eagles' preseason yawn against the visiting Buffalo Bills last night occurred hours before the first snap. A banner was unfurled in a corner once strictly reserved for cynicism and despair. "Big Red Has Restored Competence," it read, and, heralds should note, no one howled. Followers of the Bills might have had trouble with the cryptic message, but surely no fan of the feel-good Eagles could have.'

Marker Special teams yield mixed results, but give much reason for hope [6:10 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'Special teams tasted like a delicacy for the Eagles in the first half of last night's game against the Buffalo Bills at Veterans Stadium. That was not the case, however, in the fourth quarter.'

Marker Reid says no plans to trade Pederson [6:08 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'As expected, Bills coach Wade Phillips didn't play many of his starters. Quarterback Rob Johnson and star wide receiver Eric Moulds remained on the sideline, as did starting tight end Jay Riemersma. Running back Antowain Smith, who is coming off an injury, saw limited action. Defensive end Marcellus Wiley, the man who made Bruce Smith expendable, also played more because he was coming off an injury.'

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09/08 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
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