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Buffalo Bills News - August 31, 2000

Marker Flutie very unlikely to play despite brief return to drills [5:55 AM]
D and C reports: 'Backup quarterback Doug Flutie, expected to be out of action at least the first three games, participated briefly in throwing drills yesterday and said if there was a quarterback emergency Sunday, he could play. "It's not 100 percent, but if you want a percentage it's somewhere around 90," Flutie said of his torn groin. "I've played a lot of games more hurt than I am right now." Flutie said it was very unlikely that coach Wade Phillips would activate him as the third-string quarterback for the game because the team does not want to rush him back into action and risk further injury.'

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August 30, 2000

Marker Flutie won't play, but is nearly recovered from torn groin [8:22 PM]
AP reports: 'Quarterback Doug Flutie, who practiced in pads on Wednesday for the first time in almost a month, says his torn groin muscle feels "90 percent" healthy. Despite Flutie's faster-than-expected recovery, he won't play Sunday in the Buffalo Bills' season opener against the Tennessee Titans. "He won't be ready for this game, but he's coming along fast," coach Wade Phillips said.'

Marker Johnson earns Bills respect as No. 1 quarterback [8:20 PM]
AP reports: 'Quarterback Rob Johnson says he's still the same hard-throwing, laid-back kid from Southern California. His Buffalo Bills teammates beg to differ, noting he's grown in poise and confidence as the team prepares for Sunday's season-opener against the Tennessee Titans. "He's shown maturity. He's shown that he's ready to lead the ballclub. He's shown that he's the guy this year," Bills linebacker Sam Cowart said Wednesday. "Once the season gets underway, we get a couple of wins and he proves to the fans, himself and to the team that he's our quarterback, I think there won't be so much of a quarterback controversy. "It'll be Rob's show."'

Marker AFC Preview [3:17 PM]
Florida Times Union reports: '[Buffalo Bills] 2000 Prediction: 10-6, second in East.'

Marker A Bill comes due [11:55 AM]
AP reports: 'Helping motivate Moulds is that this is the final year of his contract. He can't help but consider the multimillion-dollar prize that could await him. "You're a competitor, and you see all these guys getting these big contracts and, of course, you would like to be in that situation," Moulds said. "But you still have to go out this year and have a good showing." Watching the team's off-season moves to clear room under the salary cap, Moulds hoped some of that was being saved for him because he wants to remain a Bill. "I want to be here and I'm pretty sure it'll get done," he said. "But I just go out there and approach it that, if I play well, then I figure they'll take care of it."'

Marker Buffalo Bills Preview [11:53 AM]
TV Guide reports: 'Buffalo (11-5) will forever be known as the victim of football's most unexpected lateral, but coach Wade Phillips may be remembered for a fumble if the Bills struggle this year.'

Marker Turnovers on Bills' defensive menu [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It's hard to improve on being the top-ranked defense in the NFL, which the Bills were in 1999. But there is one area the team is looking to get better. Despite their defensive success, the Bills did not create a lot of turnovers. They forced 21 of them last season, the 15th-lowest total in the AFC and 29th overall in the NFL. But if the preseason is any indication, the Bills may wreak more havoc on opposing offenses than they did a year ago. In four exhibition games, the Bills created 10 turnovers (four interceptions and six fumbles). There were at least four other passes that could have been intercepted and a couple of forced fumbles that were almost recovered. "The more opportunities you give your offense to score, the higher their scoring percentage is going to be," linebacker Sam Rogers said. "This defense has that capability to make things happen. It's an exciting defense to play in."'

Marker Wilson's view is clear [6:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 81, the man who pays the Bills hasn't lost his sense of humor, and that's good because you need one to survive in a business that can be just a kickoff return away from breaking your heart. "Sometimes you have to laugh in order not to cry," says Wilson, one of the National Football League's most respected owners. Such an attitude will come in handy during Sunday night's season opener against Tennessee at Ralph Wilson Stadium because the Titans' visit is sure to conjure memories of Buffalo's devastating loss to them in last January's AFC wild-card game in Nashville. "Worst defeat I've experienced in 40 years of football," Wilson says. "Worse than any of the Super Bowl losses."'

Marker 'One yard short' reminders dog Dyson every day [6:11 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Every single day since Super Bowl XXXIV, Kevin Dyson has been reminded about the way the game ended. Dyson, the Tennessee Titans receiver who was tackled on the 1-yard line by St. Louis Rams linebacker Mike Jones as time expired, insists this without a doubt. Was it not brought up for one day . . . like maybe on vacation? "Not one day," Dyson says. "I don't think about it until people ask me about it. I was done with it right after it happened. But wherever people see me -- at the mall, in stores, on the street, wherever -- if they recognize me, they say something. "Every single day, it's either that or the Buffalo play." Ah, the Buffalo play. Tennessee would never have been in position to lose Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16 without Dyson's breathtaking 75-yard kickoff return touchdown off a cross-field, Frank Wycheck lateral. Dubbed "The Music City Miracle," it lifted the Titans to a 22-16 victory in an AFC wild-card game. "And just think," Dyson says, "I wasn't even supposed to be on the field for that."'

August 29, 2000

Marker AFC East Capsules [8:51 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'Even with all the defections, the Bills are still a solid football team. However, facing the NFL's toughest schedule will make it tough to challenge Indianapolis for the division title. Nine wins may be the most realistic projection.'

Marker 2000 Buffalo Bills Preview [8:46 PM]
The Sports Network reports: 'The Bills like many of their division rivals will be looking up at the Indianapolis Colts most of the season. Look for an 8-8 finish and a possible coaching change at year's end.'

Marker Bills think they can 'go deep' now [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The problem for the Buffalo Bills was that opposing defenses eventually became untangled by Flutie's antics. They worked toward shutting down the run and dared the Bills to beat them with their quarterback. And his arm didn't scare anyone. This year should be different. Rob Johnson is the quarterback now. He has a stronger arm, one more suited for throwing downfield. He has younger, faster receivers, who can get open downfield. And he's running an offense geared more toward making plays downfield.'

Marker Haddad, Roth will watch and learn [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'University at Buffalo products Drew Haddad and Josh Roth were among five players who were assigned to the Buffalo Bills' developmental squad on Monday. Haddad was taken in the seventh round and hoped to catch on with the Bills as a punt returner and receiver. He returned three punts for 22 yards in the preseason. He also had three catches for 22 yards. Roth had one catch for 11 yards. He did not carry the ball. "It's a big help for kids in the developmental stage," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "I think they can learn a whole lot in that situation."'

Marker Not again [8:12 AM]
Fox Sports reports: '[New Buffalo Bills Special Teams Coach Ronnie] Jones is here to make sure Buffalo's kickoff coverage team doesn't forget what happened nearly eight months ago. "That play will not work this time," he promised. "Now, something else I can't guarantee, but I can guarantee that one will not work."'

Marker Music City Miracle memories [8:03 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: '"It was a blur. The first thing I remember after it really was one of the chain gang came up to me and said, 'Hurry and kick the extra point because it was a forward lateral.' And I said, 'It doesn't matter because it's the last two minutes, they're going to review it anyway.'"'

Marker Reed's happy to stay, he'd just like No. 83 [8:00 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: "He shot straight with me," Reed said of [Broncos' coach Mike] Shanahan. "Last year in Buffalo I didn't get that kind of straight talk.'

Marker Broncos' Reed has Monday memories [7:57 AM]
Denver Post reports: 'The date was Oct. 17, 1988, the site the New Jersey Meadowlands. The Buffalo Bills were playing on "Monday Night Football" for the fist time in more than four years. For young Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, it was the first glimpse of the NFL spotlight. "It was special," Reed, now with the Denver Broncos, said Monday. "It was kind of a coming out party for our whole team, because nobody knew about us." Reed was a star that night, catching seven passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including a 65-yarder. The Bills pounded the New York Jets 37-14, went on to win the AFC East and came within one victory of reaching the Super Bowl. Reed's performance that Monday night propelled him to the first of his seven consecutive Pro Bowl selections.'

Marker Reed adjusting to minor role [7:54 AM]
AP reports: 'There was speculation that Reed might not survive the [Denver Broncos'] final cuts, but he gave coach Mike Shanahan his assurance that he could accept his role as a backup - even if it meant not suiting up for some games. "I talked to Mike on Friday, and he shot straight with me about a lot of things,'' Reed, 36, said. "Obviously, there's a reason why he wants me here. Am I an insurance policy? To a certain point. If this is the last year for me, I'm going to make it as fun as I can. "It's all about trying to get a Super Bowl ring with this team. And this is the only team I feel I can get that with.'

Marker Finally, a home opener [6:24 AM]
D and C reports: "...I just wanted us to play at home the first game," Phillips said yesterday. "We've been on the road the past couple of years and I really feel there's a big advantage at home, especially in Buffalo. It didn't matter who we had to play, but to play one of the best teams on our schedule the first game, here, with a young team, it's important. We'll be ready."'

Marker Phillips still irked by 'forward' lateral [6:23 AM]
D and C reports: 'When discussing "Home Run Throwback," the official playbook name of the Titans' disputed kickoff lateral play that beat the Bills 22-16 in last January's wild-card playoff game, Phillips referred to the play as "Home Run Throw Forward" twice during a news conference yesterday. He'll never be convinced it was a legal lateral, he said.'

August 28, 2000

Marker Bills still haunted by 'Music City Miracle' [8:07 PM]
AP reports: '...reporters questioned Phillips about his curious turn of a phrase. "Home run throw forward just rolls of your tongue,'' a reporter said. "Well, that's what it was,'' Phillips replied.'

Marker No surprises as Bills cut roster to 53 [3:03 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Never, in the recent history of the Buffalo Bills, have the veterans felt so safe on cutdown day. Having lost 15 players from last season's 53-man roster and injured reserve list, there was plenty of room to make this year's squad. Sure enough, in the 27 cuts the Bills made to get from the training camp limit of 80 down to the regular-season maximum, only one actually played for Buffalo last season. Second-year running back Lennox Gordon, who saw limited action in eight games a year ago, was one of Sunday's final 12 cuts. And he was a circumstantial victim. Buffalo has committed to a one-back attack this year and already has four quality runners in Antowain Smith, Jonathan Linton, Sean Bryson and Sammy Morris, who can also play fullback. Joining Gordon on Sunday's cut list were quarterback Mike Cawley, receivers Drew Haddad and Kevin Drake, defensive backs Reggie Durden, Nick Ferguson and Jay Hill, tight end Ivan Gustafson, linebacker Dustin Cohen, defensive end Jarrett Procell, guard Corey Hulsey and fullback Josh Roth, the former Pine Valley and University at Buffalo star. Of that group, only Cawley, Drake, Ferguson and Hulsey had been in an NFL camp before and none of them had made a roster.'

Marker Watson trade to Buffalo nets draft pick [12:02 PM]
Denver Post reports: '...Buffalo benefits as well. The Bills were desperate to come up with a kick returner after this year's fourth-round choice, wide receiver Avion Black, fumbled the role away. Thus the bid for Watson, who returned a Broncos franchise-record 48 kicks last season for a 23.7-yard average. "I think he still has a great future," Shanahan said. "But it's always tough. Any time you come from college and you don't have that spring ball experience that he didn't have throughout his career, there's going to be a learning curve and some growing pains. And he went through some of those growing pains. But he's a heck of an athlete, he's very talented, and that's one of the reasons a number of teams were interested in him. They see the potential, too. He's going to get better and better."'

Marker Veterans now figure in reserve [12:00 PM]
Denver Post reports: 'For most of his 16 NFL seasons, wide receiver Andre Reed has been a shining star. Now he'll be making cameo appearances for the Denver Broncos. There had been speculation that Reed, who has 941 career receptions, second only to San Francisco's Jerry Rice, would not even make Denver's final roster. It turns out he did, but only as a role player. Coach Mike Shanahan said he thinks Reed can deal with it. "Not only for Andre, but for any veteran who has been a starter and has played in the NFL, I think it's always tough to go back and play in a backup role," Shanahan said Sunday after he announced the Broncos' final cuts to reach the 53-man roster. "If you're a competitor, which all of these guys are, you want to play and you want to show what you can do. But everybody's got to know their role as well."'

Marker Broncos' solution? Elementary [8:59 AM]
Denver Rocky Mountain News reports: 'A three-year starter at Eastern Illinois, he [Chris Watson] was a sprinter with the track team during the spring, when the football team usually receives valuable instructional work. And he missed part of his senior season because of an injury. "He really was just learning the defensive back position, and I think he still has a great future," [Broncos' coach Mike] Shanahan said. "But it's always tough any time you come from college and you don't have that spring ball experience that he didn't have throughout his career. There's going to be a learning curve and some growing pains, and he went through some of those growing pains. "But he's a heck of an athlete. He's really talented, and that's one of the reasons a number of teams were interested in him."'

Marker Bills hope Watson trade bolsters return game [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills traded an undisclosed 2001 draft pick Sunday to the Denver Broncos for second-year cornerback Chris Watson. Watson, 23, the Broncos' third-round draft choice (67th overall) a year ago, was an All-Rookie selection by College & Pro Football Newsweekly. He ranked fifth in the AFC with a 23.7-yard average on franchise-record 48 kickoffs, including a long of 71 yards. He wasn't as prolific on punt returns, averaging less than eight yards per attempt (44 returns for 334 yards), but took one 81 yards for a touchdown. The Bills didn't get Watson for his kick return prowess alone. The Chicago native was a three-year starter at Eastern Illinois at cornerback and safety. He played in 14 games for the Broncos last year, starting once. "He certainly fits our needs," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "We were looking for a return guy who could help at corner. He's a talented player. You can't take them all, but he was a kid we liked last year and kind of followed. Getting him is a real plus for us."'

Marker UB duo may not be gone for long [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Former University at Buffalo stars Drew Haddad and Josh Roth were cut by the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but they probably still have a future with the team. NFL teams have until 4 p.m. today to sign players who were released. After the deadline, teams can add up to five players to their practice squad. Haddad and Roth are expected to be brought back to the Bills if they clear waivers. "They both have the ability to play," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "I thought both of them did well. I think both of them need some grooming, but I think they have potential and I like both of them. Haddad, we knew had talent. Roth, I think, was a surprise that he did so well. I think they did a great job for us."'

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.'

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.'

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09/07 @ Chicago Bears 1:00 pm
09/14 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
09/21 San Diego Chargers 1:00 pm
09/28 @ Houston Texans 1:00 pm
10/05 @ Detroit Lions 1:00 pm
10/12 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/19 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm
10/26 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/09 Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
11/13 @ Miami Dolphins 8:25 pm
11/23 New York Jets 1:00 pm
11/30 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/07 @ Denver Broncos 4:05 pm
12/14 Green Bay Packers 1:00 pm
12/21 @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 pm
12/28 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm

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