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Buffalo Bills News - November 8, 2001

Marker Five HS football playoff games scheduled for The Ralph this weekend [4:48 PM] reports: This weekend will be the 23rd year Ralph Wilson Stadium will be the site of the Section VI High School Football championship games.

Marker Area sports business executives to be honored in NYC [4:44 PM] reports: Area sports business executives to be honored in NYC.
Russ Brandon from the Buffalo Bills will be honored tonight by the SportsBusiness Journal. David Stern, commissioner of the National Basketball Association, will serve as the keynote speaker.
Brandon is the VP, business development and marketing for the Bills. He joined the organization 5 years ago from the Florida Marlins and is credited with helping the franchise succeed on its regional marketing push 3 years ago, particularly to Rochester, Brandon's home town. That's where his sports marketing career began, with the minor league baseball team, the Rochester Red Wings.
"Everyone in sports should work in the minor leagues," said Brandon, who was included in the 2001 Business First "Forty Under 40" class.
Among the others to be honored by the SportsBusiness Journal's "40 Under Forty" is former Buffalo Bills linebacker Scott Radecic. Radecic who played for the Bills from 1987-89 and now is a senior principal with HOK Sport, which designs sports stadiums and arenas.

Marker Patriot is used to hard times [1:22 PM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Bills offensive coordinator Joe Pendry apparently wanted something other than the power running Smith offers. "He never really struggled here," Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson said yesterday via teleconference. "When he got the chance, he did well. He and the offensive coordinator, I don't want to say they didn't get along, but Antowain was not his guy. He's a big back who needs a lot of carries. They would play him in spots, get him four or five carries."'

Marker Still a struggle for Bills Johnson [1:20 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: '"I think a lot of that has all died down among the fans," said Johnson, who will lead the Bills against the New England Patriots Sunday at Foxboro Stadium. "But in a way it will never die down. You guys know how popular Doug is. But winning games helps and we're not doing that right now."'

Marker Offensive line may be healthier this weekend [1:00 PM] reports: While the OL has been hampered with injuries since Ostroski suffered a broken leg in pre-season, the line may be closer to normal this weekend as Ostroski and Jennings are likely to return to the lineup against the Patriots Sunday.

There may be a little shifting going on in the line, however, as with the performance that Hulsey has given since Ostroski got hurt, Hulsey will probably stay as a starter in the RG spot, and Ostroski may get some work at RT. As for Jennings, he may shift over to LT this weekend, to play for Fina, whose leg still in a 'fatigued state,' according to HC Williams.

Marker Tom Donahoe press conference (11/7) [12:53 PM] reports: Tom Donahoe talks on:
Tony Driver's injury
the team's attitude with a 1-6 mark
if the mentality would be different if the Bills were 6-1
going through growing pains
Rob Johnson's future with the Bills
if he (RJ) still has something to prove
if the season still can change opinions on players
a USA Today report that K Doug Brown worked out Tuesday
the growing pains
if the OL should have been more of a priority at the draft
the offensive line

Marker Fairwell to Foxboro [12:40 PM] reports: The Buffalo Bills (1-6) make their final visit to New England's Foxboro Stadium this Sunday afternoon to take on the Patriots (4-4). The Pats will be moving to brand-new CMGI Field next season, which is currently in the final stages of construction, which overshadows the current home of the Patriots.

Marker Cottrell's defense has Jets in playoff contention [12:39 PM]
CNN reports: The Jets play a 4-3 defense without a big presence inside, but I believe that's when Former Bills Defense Coordinator Cottrell does his best work. Simply put, he gets average and below-average guys to play above their own talent level.

Marker Pats hurtin' for certain: Injury list puts a crimp in practice [9:36 AM]
Boston Herald reports: Bill Belichick listed 18 players on the Patriots injury report to the league yesterday....... ``Everyone is working to get better,'' said Tom Brady. ``You have confidence in all those guys you are with. Injuries are part of it this time of year....I know their [Buffalo's] record isn't very good, but they're a very good team. If you ever take a game like this lightly, they'll beat us. There's not a guy in that locker room that is looking past Buffalo.''

Marker Offensive guard [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Veteran Jerry Ostroski was back from his broken leg and playing right tackle, and promising rookie Jonas Jennings was back from his foot injury and playing left tackle. Now maybe Sheppard and the Bills' offense can get back to running the West Coast offense the way it's supposed to operate when the team visits the New England Patriots this week. "We're trying to get as close as we can to what the (West Coast) offense does," Sheppard said. "Injuries happen. Everyone has them. It limits us a little bit. But we should limit (ourselves) more, because we've got new players in there and we need to give them a chance. The more we put in, the less chance of success we have. We're attempting to pare things back a little bit."'

Marker Donahoe gives Johnson a vote of confidence [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Asked if he thought the team would make a long-term commitment to Johnson, Donahoe said: "We think we did that when we made the decision last year. It was not a decision we made for one year. We knew we were going to try to build a team here, and Rob was the quarterback to help us do that."'

Marker Smith Ready For Bills [6:18 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Smith is psyched to make sure the Bills go home sorry they made the trip, but he also knows he'd better not be too psyched, because a running back who loses his grip on himself is liable to lose his grip on the football.'

Marker Bills stand by Johnson [5:33 AM]
D and C reports: 'Despite six losses in the first seven games, and Johnson's continued inability to play with consistency, the team's hierarchy is not wavering on its decision. At least not yet.'

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November 7, 2001

Marker Bills sign Prioleau; place Driver on injured reserve [9:12 PM] reports: The Bills today announced that the team has signed safety Pierson Prioleau to the 53-man roster and placed safety Tony Driver on the Injured Reserve list with a knee injury. The 23-year-old Prioleau will wear jersey #23 with the Bills. He played in 28 games (11 starts) for the Niners in 1999 and 2000

Marker Donahoe maintains confidence in Johnson [4:11 PM]
AP reports: '"It was not a decision we made for one year," Donahoe said, referring to his choice to keep Johnson over Flutie. "We knew we were going to try to build a team here, and Rob was the quarterback to help us do that. I think when you look at Rob's performance and look at some of the circumstances surrounding it, he's played well."'

Marker Keith Schleiden on RJ [4:01 PM]
Pro Football Weekly reports: steve(malden,ma): Keith, based on his flashes of star potential, do you think Rob Johnson is still the Bill's QB of the future? And if not, who do you think would pick him up if the Bills decide not to re-sign him?

Keith Schleiden: I was talking witha very well-respected NFL writer the other day, someone who has been around for 40-plus years (and he's not senile). He told me the best QB he's seen in person this year is Rob Johnson. While that is a stretch in my personal opinion, Johnson is opening some eyes. He is getting more comfortable in the Bills' offensive system, and it is beginning to show up on the stats sheet. I believe if Johnson continues to show signs of development over the second half of the season, the Bills will keep him and his large cap figure around.

Marker Bills at Pats Preview [2:47 PM] reports: After three straight overtime games over the last two seasons, the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will meet on Sunday for the first time this season. Five of the last six games between the AFC East rivals have been decided by four points or less.

Marker Bills lose rookie safety Driver for season [2:36 PM]
AP reports: Bills rookie safety Tony Driver will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ligament in his left knee.

Driver was placed on IR and will have reconstructive surgery by next week. He was hurt while covering a kickoff return in the first half of Buffalo's loss to Indianapolis on Sunday. HC Williams said no decision has been made on filling the roster spot.

Marker Dominic Rhodes bright spot for the Colts; a bleak note for the Bills [2:27 PM]
ESPN reports: Chad Bratzke reappeared on the radar screen for the Colts, as did their defense, but it may be premature to get excited. The Bills were again down to their fourth and fifth tackles because of injuries, and the Colts took appropriate advantage of it. Bills QB Rob Johnson didn't have much of a chance, although there were times when he again held onto the ball too long. The Colts' offense wasn't spectacular, but they got more encouraging signs when Dominic Rhodes had a 100-yard rushing day in place of injured Edgerrin James. That was the bright spot for the Colts; a bleak note for the Bills

Marker Can Smith pay Bills? [1:51 PM]
Worcester Telegram and Gazette reports: 'For Smith, it's about revenge. It's a chance to show the folks who thought he was washed up and picked clean that he still has something left. The 29-year-old said yesterday it's not about that, but he did so with an unmistakable gleam in his eye.'

Marker Driver put on IR, PK Doug Brien tried out [9:37 AM]
USA Today reports: Special-teams standout S Tony Driver injured his knee Sunday and was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
With Jake Arians struggling, the Bills worked out former Saints PK Doug Brien on Tuesday.
FS Keion Carpenter cracked a rib early in the game against the Colts and did not return. His spot was taken by Travares Tillman.

Marker Henry wants Bills' ground game to get carried away [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Henry aims to bolster the Buffalo Bills' running game. He has shown flashes of brilliance during his rookie season. In fact, there are only three first-year running backs with more yards. But 388 yards in seven games is not Henry's idea of success. He wants a lot more. The question is, will the Bills oblige him?'

Marker Big-time honor for Brandon [5:21 AM]
D and C reports: '"One of the things that really impressed the selection committee about Russ was what he's been able to accomplish in a small market with a struggling economy," said Tom Stinson, the Journal's assistant managing editor. "We also look for young people who are influencing the business they are in, and Russ clearly is doing that. (NFL commissioner) Paul Tagliabue said that the Bills training camp is a model for the rest of the league, and has called upon Russ to stage sponsorship seminars at the league meetings. We see Russ as one of the creative young minds who is shaping the future of the sports industry."'

Marker When Smith runs, Patriots follow [5:21 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Patriots, 4-4 at the midpoint of the 2001 campaign, are 4-0 in games in which Antowain Smith has run the ball 15 or more times and 0-4 when he has not.'

Marker Smith set for run at the Bills [5:19 AM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'Despite seeing his playing time slashed last season and then being cut in May, Smith said he holds no grudges against Buffalo, partly because the Bills have a new coaching staff. Still, he's been struck by the 180-degree difference in attitude the Pats have demonstrated, believing in him as the primary running back after the Bills obviously thought he was unable to fill that role anymore.'

November 6, 2001

Marker Bills Brandon listed among top sports executives [9:05 PM]
AP reports: 'Brandon, responsible for Bills business development and marketing, was among 40 executives 40-years-old and younger noted by Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal in a list released Tuesday.'

Marker Gregg Easterbrook talks about Titans downfall - Blame the Bills [11:55 AM]
MSN Slate reports: Tennessee also suffered the most painful coaching losses of any NFL team. Tastefully named DC Gregg Williams and his assistant Jerry Gray left to become HC and DC at Buffalo. They're struggling with the Bills' cap-imploded roster, but nevertheless are top-shelf types whom the Titans dearly miss. You don't drop from first to 27th based on a couple player changes alone.

Professor John Kessel (aka Dr. K) of NC State University protested TMQ's making fun of the "Becoming Human" conference of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Kessel was a speaker at the conference and, presumably, is human. Kessel offered as evidence of his humanity the fact that he is a "lifetime Buffalo Bills fan," which means he knows human suffering. TMQ is a Bills fan, too, and died a thousand deaths during the Super Bowl loss streak.

Marker For Bills, there's help down the line [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams said starting tackles John Fina and Jonas Jennings will return to practice when the Bills begin preparations for Sunday's game at New England. Fina was given the week off to rest his sore knee, while Jennings has been sidelined for two weeks with a sprained foot. The Bills' medical staff also has cleared guard Jerry Ostroski to practice more extensively this week.'

Marker Bad season may have jumbo reward [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Ooooh, no," Rex said. "This is what it's all about now, man. Today, the Bills moved one step closer to picking second in the next draft. Do you know what that could mean? Look at this guy." He shoved a Kiper article in my face about Bryant McKinnie, the 6-8, 335-pound left tackle at Miami (Fla.). It said McKinnie was the second-best prospect in the country, after Julius Peppers, the defensive end at North Carolina. And his stock is still rising.'

Marker Kelly can see the writing on the wall [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'As Kelly stared at his bobbleheaded likeness, he couldn't help but poke fun at himself. "It made me look a lot better than I am," he said. "That's pretty cool."'

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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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