Phillipses cherish camp time [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'It was a little like old times yesterday for Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips and his son, Wesley. As the morning practice session came to a close at St. John Fisher College, Wade picked up a football and tossed it to his son, who caught the ball, then threw it back to his dad. "Yeah, it was good to have him around before he leaves to go down there," Wade said of Wesley. Wesley visited Bills' training camp yesterday before departing for the University of Texas-El Paso today for the start of football practice. The redshirt junior will compete for the Miners' starting quarterback job. Father and son won't be seeing much -- if any -- of each other over the next four or five months as they will be separated by about 2,000 miles and two very busy football schedules. But this is something the Phillips' have grown accustomed to.'
Rogers injures neck [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Linebacker Sam Rogers sprained his neck during a pass-rushing drill yesterday morning and sat out the afternoon practice. He hopes to return today and plans to play Saturday at Detroit. Rogers said he actually injured his neck in last Friday's preseason opener against Cincinnati. "In the pass rush drill, I got pushed into a lineman and it bent more than I wanted," he said. "But I should be back (Wednesday)."'
In search of signatures [6:11 AM]
D and C reports: 'It's hit or miss for Buffalo Bills fans seeking autographs. Many find that the players are harder to grab than they were in a more spartan setting at Fredonia State for 19 years, and some fans long for the good old days. "Fredonia was really good for the kids," says 38-year-old Ken Carosa, a mortgage loan originator from Henrietta. Joe Fan sees signing autographs as part of the Bills' job. "When fans pay your salary, it's a little different" than having a normal job, he says. Some Bills also see it that way, but the structure of the camp at St. John Fisher doesn't encourage their cooperation. At Fredonia, players had to stroll along a path between two rows of roped-off fans after practice to get back to their dorms and the dining hall. "That made a big difference," Carosa says. "They had to walk right by you." But at St. John Fisher, players must literally go out of their way to get to the fans. "It's just too bad if they aren't willing to come over to you, because you can't get to them," Joe Fan says.'
Benefits from Bills camp unclear [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: 'With thousands of visitors attending Buffalo Bills training camp over the last two weeks, the Bills organization will likely get what it wants -- a shot at a larger, more lucrative fan base. But what economic benefit -- if any -- the Rochester area will gain from hosting the three-week camp is largely unknown. That's because no one is tracking where camp visitors are from; therefore, no one knows how much money out-of-towners are spending. And the camp's setup discourages visitors from stopping by local businesses.'
Unflashy Carpenter emerges as front-runner for Bills free safety job [7:16 PM]
AP reports: 'A year after making the Bills' as an undrafted free agent, Carpenter has emerged as the leading candidate -- ahead of four-year veteran Daryl Porter and second-round draft pick Travares Tillman -- to replace starting free safety Kurt Schulz, who's now with the Detroit Lions. And in anti-Deion fashion, Carpenter is keeping his cool. "I'm not a flashy guy," explained Carpenter following the Bills' Tuesday morning session at St. John Fisher College. "I could pull it off back then in high school. Even in college I was a little flashy. But now, it's just getting down to business."'
Wiley returns ahead of schedule [11:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It felt good," Wiley said. "The back is fine. Now I just gotta turn it on upstairs and get all that right. I've been sitting on the sidelines too long. I gotta get it all in tune - the mind and the body." Wiley thinks he'll be at full strength by the Sept. 3 opener against the Tennessee Titans. He said there is a 50-50 chance he could play in the Aug. 24 preseason finale against Philadelphia.'
Bills planning to improve coverage by leaps 'n bounds [11:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Part of the problem is that Buffalo's cornerbacks, while admirable, are all relatively small. Antoine Winfield, who begins his first full year as a starter, is only 5-foot-9. Reggie Durden, the good-looking rookie from Florida State, borders on tiny at 5-8. The "giant" among the group is starter Ken Irvin, at 5-11. It's not a rare deficiency. Most NFL teams suffer from it. Top-rank cornerbacks with size are rare and hard to acquire. Two of the best in the last 10 years, Champ Bailey and Chris McAlister, came into the 1999 draft. Bailey was picked by Washington with the seventh selection and McAlister by Baltimore with the 10th. The other part of the problem is that Buffalo's regular-season schedule is alive with high-quality receivers who virtually have "mismatch" written all over them. Most of the mismatch problems are likely to come against out-of-division and out-of-conference foes. That wasn't such a problem last year, especially since there were four games against the NFC East, which wasn't overloaded with big receivers. This season their out-of-conference opponents are from the tough NFC Central, all of whom have good big men. The Bills caught something of a break when 6-4 Keyshawn Johnson forced a trade away from the Jets, eliminating two fearsome meetings, but they'll still see him on Nov. 26 in Tampa since he's now a Buc.'
School of hard knocks [10:59 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills told him to retire and informed him that for his own good they were not going to let him play for the team. Burroughs sought work elsewhere, but no other team would take a chance, either, and he had no option but to hang up his cleats. "I was bitter," he said. "I stayed away from football a long time. I didn't even watch the Bills for a couple years. It was mentally more than I could bear, watching my teammates doing it without me. "But I don't have any regrets. I know that God is a good God, he's the same God that gave me the opportunity to be drafted in the first round. In the beginning I questioned it, but not anymore, because I know I can walk and that's bigger than football."'
Model of respect [10:57 AM]
D and C reports: 'While the Buffalo Bills of the present sweated through drills on the practice fields yesterday, just a few yards away some former Bills reminisced. Only it wasn't that easy to distinguish the alumni from the current players. "A lot of us look like we can still play," said Tom Day, a defensive end from the AFL championship teams of 1964 and '65. Day is one of those who remains in marvelous shape. His New York driver's license says he'll turn 65 on Aug. 20, and it's the only way he'll ever convince someone he's eligible for a senior citizen's discount.'
Wiley surprises by donning pads [10:55 AM]
D and C reports: '"It was just basically to make sure my stability was there," he said. "They say my muscles and structure are fine, now it's getting hit and getting shock treatment, plus getting my mind back into it." Wiley underwent lower back surgery in mid-July and at the time, his timetable for a return to action was 4-6 weeks. It has been about 3 1/2 weeks, so he still has a ways to go. "I'm trying to do some conditioning because I'm not going to be running around doing all the team work so I have to do my conditioning as well as my drill work," he said.'
Evans will miss at least 3 months [10:54 AM]
Baltimore Sun reports: '"He wanted to play for an AFC team, which is why he turned down the Giants and New Orleans," Agnone said. "Second, he wanted a team that was going to win. And third, he wanted a chance to play and make another Pro Bowl."'
Need to succeed does wonders for Reed [10:52 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: 'Reed said he was given a bad rap by the media in Buffalo, a bad rap he hopes to shake. "It's been on my back for three or four years," he said. "I'm just trying to get that monkey off my back. It's a new beginning for me. "It's just something. I say that I have nothing against (the media). I've always had something against the media in Buffalo, and that's where the hostility is coming from. If I'm going to be (in Denver), I want to have a better relationship. "The minute I spoke up for myself and told people how I felt about certain situations, I was in the wrong. But I'm not going to hold back any more. Whether or not that's the reason they didn't want me there — I didn't want to be there anyway. So that's just that."'
Wiley returns to practice early
AP reports: '"Wiley is ahead of schedule. He's been working out, and it feels fine,'' coach Wade Phillips said. Wiley said he did not expect to play in the Bills' next two preseason games, and was "50-50'' for the final exhibition game at Philadelphia on Aug. 24. He said he should be ready for the regular-season opener against the Tennessee Titans on Sept. 3.'
Ravens sign Sam Gash to help backfield
AP reports: 'Gash was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year even though he didn't carry the ball once for the Buffalo Bills last season. He did however catch 20 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.'
Reed moving up ladder [10:47 AM]
AP reports: 'Reed, whose 941 career receptions are second only to Jerry Rice, spent 15 seasons with the Buffalo Bills before signing a two-year, incentive-laden contract with the Broncos on the eve of training camp. He caught a 24-yard touchdown pass in Denver's preseason opener Saturday at Arizona. The reception came after Doering tore his left Achilles' tendon and Moore broke his left ankle. "Injuries didn't have anything to do with me stepping up and being an important part of this team," Reed said. "It's unfortunate that Chris went down and Muneer went down, but that's how football is. Opportunity only presents itself so many times, and you've got to take advantage of the opportunity."'
You Make the Call #9 [9:49 AM]
TBD reports: "You Make the Call" is a presentation of both real and imagined NFL scenarios, where we invite you to "make the call" based upon the Official Rules for the NFL for 1999. Good luck, because you'll need it.
Buffalo Jills Photos!!! [9:48 AM]
TBD reports: Check out the latest snapshots of our hard-working ladies on the sidelines!
Jones has shot at outside linebacker [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In every NFL camp there is a group of rookie free agents who arrive with no shot of making the squad. Some of them know this and show up happy to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts. Fred Jones isn't one of those. "I'm trying to make a career out of this," said the Buffalo Bills' outside linebacker. "I have high goals and high expectations." While Jones didn't particularly stand out in Friday's preseason victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, he has been impressing Bills coaches and teammates in training camp at St. John Fisher College.'
Young Bills show speed should be new strength [8:26 AM]
D and C reports: '"That is what we wanted to address with our team, trying to get as much speed as could the last couple of years," coach Wade Phillips said. "It's going to pay off for us. You could see that (in this game). Guys are not only going to make plays, but nobody is going to catch them. I thought it was really important for us to establish that we've got overall (great) team speed, because we've got a lot of it."'
There's more to Black than returns [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills drafted Black in the fourth round to be their kickoff returner. He averaged 34.2 yards a return last year at Tennessee State. He brought three kicks back for touchdowns, including two for 100 yards. He scored a fourth touchdown in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs. Black, who was clocked by Bills scouts at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash, was unimpressed by Friday night's electrifying score. "It's something a person like me should get used to," Black said. "I feel that's just the beginning." Black's confidence and college credentials aside, Bills coach Wade Phillips has said his special teams players must be able to contribute at their other positions to make the roster. Black certainly did his part on Friday.'
Scouting staff's shrewd work on display in Bills' preseason victory [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills have 14 scouts, including General Manager John Butler who is out in the field on a regular basis, and Director of Pro Personnel A.J. Smith, the guy responsible for Doug Flutie's presence in Buffalo along with that of three of the more promising free-agent defensive backs in camp. Smith's responsibility is the 30 other NFL teams, NFL Europe and the Canadian and Arena leagues. The Buffalo organization blankets the nation. It knows what's going on at just about every campus. It ranges from scouts in their mid-30s, like Doug Majeski and Tom Gibbons, to three septuagenarians, David G. Smith, Bob Ryan and Chink Sengel. Ryan, 76, and Sengel, 78, have ruminated about retiring for years. Owner Ralph Wilson always talks them out of it. He understands that his scouts are the heart of the product. This bunch knows where the bodies are buried.'
Statistically speaking, Bills get dealt the toughest schedule [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The NFL's annual strength-of-schedule statistic reveals that the Bills have the toughest schedule in the league. It's based on the cumulative won-lost records of their opponents. Buffalo's foes went 150-106 in 1999, an overall winning percentage of .586. The Bills will play nine games against teams that had winning records, all but one of those against 1999 playoff teams.'
Ball was dropped on some picks [6:59 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '"A lot of people are saying we're a second-rate defense now because of the players we lost, but we believe we can be just as good as last year," Cowart said. "We'll be a little younger, but with youth I think we're faster than last year." The Bills allowed the fewest total yards per game last year and have been in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed for four straight years.
Bryson shows knee is OK [6:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'When Shawn Bryson re-injured his surgically repaired left knee in practice last week, coach Wade Phillips said he wasn't worried. "I never fear the worse," he said. "I always think a player's going to be all right." The power of positive thinking paid off in Friday's night's preseason opener against Cincinnati. Bryson, the best player in Buffalo's training camp last summer until blowing out his anterior cruciate ligament, not only played, he dazzled.'
Hey ref! What about holding? [6:54 AM]
D and C reports: 'First-round draft pick Erik Flowers, who had a sack, forced fumble and a blocked pass, was asked what he learned Friday. "That the refs don't call holding," he said. "I didn't think it would be that bad. I mean, on one play my jersey was turned inside out and no call. But you can't complain, you just line up and play the next play."'
Fortunately, preseason games are history here [6:52 AM]
D and C reports: 'St. John Fisher is the team's new training camp and the proposed new soccer downtown stadium might accommodate as many as 25,000 fans, but don't expect the Buffalo Bills to ever play another preseason game in Rochester.'
The view from above [6:49 AM]
D and C reports: 'For 31 years, Kunttu literally has been above it all, filming and taping virtually every move the Bills make in practice and games. He has seen the good, the bad and the ugly; the 2-14 debacles and the trips to the Super Bowl. Though he claims to know little about football strategy and says he wants to keep it that way, his work has contributed mightily to the success the team has enjoyed. At the news conference announcing his retirement as Bills coach three years ago, Marv Levy praised Kunttu. Wade Phillips understands why. "Players and coaches get all the credit, but there are other people who have a say in your winning, and Henry's certainly one of those guys," says Phillips, the eighth head coach Kunttu has worked for in his three decades with the team. "Film has always been vital when you're developing your strategy, your game plan. But it's equally important as a teaching tool. You can tell a player what he's doing wrong, but it's more powerful if he can watch himself on film."'
Bills loosen grip on fans' drink containers [1:50 PM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I've been a season ticket holder for 38 years, and I think it's great," Bob Buczynski of Cheektowaga said of the Bills' decision Friday to allow fans to bring one-quart thermoses of nonalcoholic beverages into the stadium. "This is Ralph Wilson and the Bills showing appreciation to the fans."'
New faces may help defense go places [1:48 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'No one is claiming all the potholes seem repaired off one early-August exhibition game. There are no prophecies about a repeat as No. 1. But judging from some promising cameo appearances, the Bills still bear the look of a top 10 defense, which isn't bad for starters.'
Antowain delivers for Bills [1:47 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The 228-pound back looked nearly unstoppable in a 21-20 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason opener before 37,282 fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "The biggest thing is I'm healthy again," Smith said. "You couldn't ask for a better start. Last year, I was slow out of the gates with a groin injury. That slowed me down. Then came the toe. "It feels good to get off to a positive start and see what we have looking forward to with this team out there."'
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