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Buffalo Bills News - August 31, 2001

Marker For most part, replacement officials go unnoticed [4:38 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'If you ask me, the replacement officials -- it's popular to call them "scabs" in this town, isn't it? -- didn't look much different from the regular guys. In some ways, they were better. They didn't need even one of those tedious, annoying huddles to get their story straight.'

Marker Steeler Report [4:37 AM]
Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports: 'Jerome Bettis was the only healthy starter Coach Bill Cowher did not play last night, figuring The Bus had nothing to prove.'

Marker Steelers defense pitches shutout [4:36 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Sitting high above the field that he once thought would be his team's new home, Donahoe was at once proud and disheartened. Edwards (first round), Brown (seventh round) and running back Zereoue (third round) were members of the last rookie class drafted by Donahoe in 1999 before he was forced to resign.'

Marker Second-stringers headline Steelers' final preseason game [4:34 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Game 2 at the Mustard Bowl was, appropriately enough, a night for second-stringers. Second-string quarterbacks and second-string referees.'

Marker Steelers make effort to involve Burress [4:33 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'Kordell Stewart looked for Burress on the Steelers' first snap. And again on their second. And again on their fourth. And yet again on third-and-2 from the Buffalo 3-yard line.'

Marker Bettis held out as safety precaution [4:31 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: 'The Buffalo Bills are extremely pleased with backup quarterback Alex Van Pelt, who has lost 13 pounds - down to 217 from 230 - and has proven to be adept at running the West Coast offense. Entering last night's game, Van Pelt had completed 29 of 47 passes for 275 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Van Pelt, 31, was an eighth-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1993.'

Marker Steelers 20, Bills 0 [4:28 AM]
AP reports: 'There's no quarterback controversy in Buffalo -- and, right now, not much offense, either.'

Marker Pittsburgh 20, Buffalo 0 [4:27 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Rob Johnson played only one series for Buffalo (2-2) and was 2-of-4 for 23 yards. Steve Christie missed field goals of 22 and 40 yards for the Bills. Alex Van Pelt replaced Johnson and was 4-of-7 for 25 yards.'

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August 30, 2001

Marker Triplets ready to lead Colts in AFC East [7:50 PM]
AP reports: 'Predictions: Indianapolis (11-5); Miami (10-6); N.Y. Jets (10-6); Buffalo (9-7); New England (6-10).'

Marker Ranking the NFL's 31 starting quarterbacks [6:30 PM]
ESPN reports: 17. RJ: Ah, now we're getting into more controversy. Obviously, he has to stay healthy and take fewer sacks. In terms of pure physical ability, Johnson has it all -- size, arm strength, accuracy, athleticism. Now, he must show up for 16 games and show what he's got.

Marker Bills Report: Inside Slant [2:50 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: Is the West Coast offense and a re-tooled offensive line the answers to keeping QB Rob Johnson healthy?

The players who have struggled the most in camp are the unit's most experienced and highest paid, left tackle John Fina and left guard Ruben Brown.

Marker Former Bill CB Ray Hill put on Patriots injured reserve list [2:23 PM]
AP reports: The Patriots put cornerback Ray Hill on the injured reserve list along with three other players.
Hill played for the Bills in 1998 & 1990 as well as for Miami in 1997 & 1999.

USA Today reports:
#3 Johnson. Without Flutie looking over his shoulder, he finally reaches the stardom long predicted for him.
#2 Improved special teams. Units cost Bills at least 3 wins last year so maybe they turn the tide.
#1 Nobody thinks they can and the Bills play the easiest schedule on paper in the NFL.

Marker Stillers vs. Bills Pre-game [1:56 PM] reports: 'All in all, the Bills have looked decent in pre-season but, of course, that means little.'

Marker Chris Mortensen on Bills RB's [12:58 PM]
ESPN reports: What is the progress of Travis Henry in Buffalo? Who do you think will be the starting RB for the Bills?

Chris Mortensen: Travis Henry has made a real run for the starting job, but I think the Bills will start off using all 3 backs - Henry (the most potential but still inexperienced in the passing game), Sammy Morris (tough, can catch) and Shawn Bryson (speed, catches).

Marker Pompei's Picks - Bills #3 in AFC East [12:50 PM]
The Sporting News reports: 3 Bills. They lost some defensive firepower but still could have enough to be in the playoff hunt.

Marker Listen to the game on the internet! [11:34 AM]
TBD reports: While you are listening to the Bills vs. Steelers game over the internet, make sure you join in on the conversation in the GoBills! chat room.

Marker Join us in the GoBills! Chat Room! [11:31 AM]
TBD reports: Join us during the most popular Bills' chat sessions on the net! The Bills face the Steelers tonight and the room will hopping with Bills fans from around the world. Kickoff is at 7:30, so grab your seat as early as 6:30 tonight!

Marker Punt, Pass, and Predict, 2001 [10:29 AM]
MSN reports: Consecutive offseasons of salary cap crashes, brought on by mortgaging the future to hold the Jim Kelly-Bruce Smith-Thurman Thomas Super Bowl group together as long as possible, have blown both chaff and wheat from the Buffalo roster.
Buffalo fans will spend the season squinting at the names on jerseys and inquiring, "Who dat?" Finish: 8-8.

Marker Roster spots up for grabs in finale [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills will have to trim a useful player or two at all three defensive units - defensive line, linebacker and secondary - when they pare their roster from 65 to 53 players by 4 p.m. Sunday.'

Marker Quarterbacks no longer center of attention [7:11 AM]
ESPN reports: "I don't necessarily agree that the position has been minimalized, because you still need your QB to play well if you're going to win, and that probably won't change in this league," said Tom Donahoe. "But it doesn't all have to be on the QB anymore. You don't see as many offenses where, if a quarterback doesn't have a great day, his team loses. It's more a case sometimes of wanting your QB to give you a chance to win."

Marker Regulars will be missing from Bills-Steelers game - players and officials [5:53 AM]
AP reports: 'The officials won't see much of Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart or Bills quarterback Rob Johnson, even though he has some problems adjusting to the quickness of Buffalo's West Coast-style offense. Johnson still is getting familiar with the quick reads he must make and the speed with which he must release the ball. But, like the other offensive regulars, Johnson will likely play only about a quarter. Alex Van Pelt, the former Pitt quarterback, will follow.'

Marker Bills hopefuls ready for final auditions [5:32 AM]
D and C reports: 'Rookie Travis Henry has had the best summer, but Sammy Morris and Shawn Bryson have shown flashes as well. Each has started one game, and tonight, Williams hopes to get all three one series each with the first-string unit before those players are lifted for the night.'

August 29, 2001

Marker 5th Down: Inside the Mental Game [9:08 PM] reports: Football ISN'T just physical; it is a mental execise as well.

Marker No surprises in Bills' cuts to 65 players [2:05 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'In short, 12 players must be cut from among the defensive linemen, linebackers, defensive backs, running backs, tight ends and receivers. To do it, two defensive linemen figure to go (Jarrett Procell and Tyrone Robertson?), a tight end (Josh Whitman?), two running backs (Crosby and Curtis Alexander?), two linebackers (DaShon Polk and Jim Robinson) and three defensive backs (Brian Legeib, Tony Driver and Chris Watson) and two wide receivers (from among Reggie Germany, Reggie Allen, Avion Black and ??? Rosier).'

Marker My hero [1:27 PM]
Fox Sports reports: 'Players appreciating fans... now there's a novel concept. But it works in Buffalo. And it works because there's a new head coach who's decreed a lot of things -- including a new offense, new defense and open practices where there weren't any before. I like Gregg Williams, and I like him a lot. He was a good coach at Tennessee. He's a good man in Buffalo. Nobody gained a better response from his players this summer. Here's hoping it continues.'

Marker Buffalo Bills 2001 Preview [1:21 PM]
CNN/SI reports: 'There was room for one big signing, and that was for game-breaking wideout Eric Moulds, who settled for less money than he could have gotten elsewhere in order to stay with what he calls "a team that has a chance to win, a team with a defense that can take the other team's quarterback out of the picture."'

Marker Former Boonville kicker may shuffle off to Buffalo for shot at NFL job [12:32 PM]
Evansville Courier and Press reports: "Hopefully, I'll be playing against the Saints in that first game," Hilbert said, referring to the Saints' regular-season game at Buffalo on Sept. 9. The Bills top the list of teams that have shown interest in Hilbert, who was among 13 players waived by New Orleans on Tuesday.'

Marker Roth one of five players released [10:52 AM]
Jamestown Post Journal reports: 'Sixteen months ago Josh Roth realized his dream of becoming a member of the Buffalo Bills when he signed a free-agent contract with the NFL team. On Tuesday, that dream came to an end. Roth, a Pine Valley Central School and University at Buffalo star, was released with four other players as the Bills met the league deadline to trim their roster to 65 players.'

Marker Timing is everything for Christie and crew [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The problem apparently hasn't been Christie's right leg but his two feet. He has been too quick on his approach toward the ball. It's been enough to throw off his timing while he adapts to new long-snapper Dan O'Leary and holder Jay Riemersma. They replaced snapper Ethan Albright and holder Chris Mohr.'

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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