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Buffalo Bills News - September 4, 2003

Marker Bledsoe Talks About 2003 Season Opener [11:43 AM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: '"It's an important game for us, there's no question, it's a division game. It's the first one out of the blocks. It's a huge game, there is no other way I can put it. If we win this game that's not going to put us in the playoffs, but it's a big game. We are going to do everything we can to win the ball game."'

Marker NFL 2003 AFC East [11:08 AM]
San Francisco Chronicle reports: 'Outlook: An improved team, but the rest of the division is too tough.'

Marker Forget pay, it's all about the payback [10:08 AM]
Portland Press Herald reports: 'From the moment he walked out of Gillette Stadium for the last time, Lawyer Milloy was ready. You hit your friends harder.'

Marker Lawyer in the house [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Would he provide some tactical assistance? "That always helps," Williams said.'

Marker Big game becomes gargantuan [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Winning could burst Belichick's bubble and propel the Bills to bigger things. It would do wonders for Bledsoe's state of mind, and it would be a great relief for Williams to finally win a game against Belichick. But if the Bills lose, it could have the opposite effect. If the Pats waltz into Buffalo and win the opener, five days after cutting a Pro Bowler, it will inflate Belichick's legend even more. And it will incite more howling about Williams' shortcomings.'

Marker Now with Pats, Centers is ready for 'special' opener [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I have to tell it like it is," Centers said by phone to Buffalo-area reporters. "There's no doubt I want to have a good game. It's more special than an ordinary game. But it's important for me to not allow my desire to have a big game to overshadow the big picture. It's more important for (the) team to perform well and come out on top."'

Marker Money ball [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We did a good job of spending money," President and General Manager Tom Donahoe said this summer. "Now comes the hard part."'

Marker Veteran lineman Adams still yearns for inside knowledge [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I thought that I could learn from him, that he was going to help me further my career as far as teaching me the things I need to do in order to get where I needed to go," Adams said. "When you stop learning this game, it's time for you to take your butt home. And I think he's going to teach me some things."'

Marker Engine 51 To the rescue [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"When it's all said and done, we'll definitely be among the great many linebackers that have passed through the Bills' long, storied history," Fletcher said. "There are some extremely good corps out there in the league. You have to definitely put us up there when you think about them. It's our versatility, not just one area of our game. We can all rush the passer, cover, run, hit and lead this defense by example."'

Marker Combination of Shaw, Gilbride pleased to make a reacquaintance [8:53 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Shaw played in Pittsburgh when Gilbride was the offensive coordinator in 1999 and 2000. A smart player with deceptive speed, Shaw will complement outside receivers Moulds and Reed in second-and-long and third-down situations in the slot.'

Marker Williams has a lot to prove, a year to do it [8:52 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Chances are, a game or two will come down to coaching. A crucial coaching decision could well be the difference between 10-6 and 9-7. It could determine whether the Bills make the playoffs or fall just short. It could make Williams the man of the hour, or cost him his job.'

Marker Making schemes come true [8:51 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The zone blitz is going to be a key piece of the Bills' new defensive puzzle this season.'

Marker AFC East Division [8:50 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Prediction: 10-6.'

Marker Williams rarely places Bills in risky '46' defense [8:49 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It devastated regular, two-back, two-wideout sets when Buddy Ryan brought it to Chicago in the mid-1980s. The problem is it's vulnerable to multiple receiver sets. When the "46" gets burned, it's a 60-yard gain. When the zone blitz gets burned, it's a 15-yard gain.'

Marker NFL allows foundation to host final Jumbogate [8:48 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This year's event will open the Bills Fieldhouse and the luxury suites to show the Bills-Cowboys road game on large-screen TVs. Tickets are $15 apiece for the fieldhouse and $30 for the luxury boxes, with refreshments, parking and the NFL Experience included.'

Marker Bills retaining skilled Lawyer [5:16 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The Bills won out, thanks to a fistful of money and some good old-fashioned recruiting. Donahoe enlisted the services of quarterback Drew Bledsoe and fullback Sam Gash, Milloy’s former teammates in New England, to phone their friend and make it clear just how much the Bills coveted him.'

Marker Brown tops list of Bills' return specialists [5:15 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams on Wednesday said he plans to mix in Bobby Shaw, who ranked fourth in the AFC in punt returns for Jacksonville last season, along with Clarence Coleman on punts against New England on Sunday. “We’ll mix it up a little bit, try and give them a change (to look at),” Williams said. “ Each guy brings a different style of return, so we’ll mix it up.”'

Marker Bills get a good Lawyer [5:14 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"Not having Lawyer out there (against the Bills) makes me feel a little better," said Bledsoe. "Certainly I would love to sit down and pick his brain just to see how much game-plan stuff they have done."'

Marker Bills' Brown already fired up [5:13 AM]
Toronto Star reports: '"We need this game to get our butts into the playoffs," said the seven-time Pro Bowl guard, completely mindful of the fact that the upcoming game is the first of a 16-game schedule.'

Marker Rival revival [5:12 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '"The Buffalo Bills made me feel good again," said Milloy. "They stepped right up to the plate. They made their best offer, and it showed me how much they wanted me. All of the teams in it -- Washington, New Orleans, they all gave a great shot. I was getting calls from general managers and owners and they were making me feel so wanted. I can't tell you how much I needed that after the last few days in New England."'

Marker Pats on mission [5:11 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Indeed, the AFC East competition also bulked up, with Buffalo adding linebacker Takeo Spikes and the Dolphins landing future Hall of Famer Junior Seau. And despite some personnel losses and an injury to quarterback Chad Pennington, the Jets return as division champions. It all adds up to the consensus best division in football.'

Marker Ex-Pats know the drill [5:10 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I have very harsh feelings toward the Patriots and I make no secret about it,'' the Bills fullback said, comparing the sudden nature of his Foxboro exit six years ago with Milloy's release. ``I've a lot of respect for the Patriot players, but not for that organization. I don't give a damn about it at all.'''

Marker Safety in numbers [5:09 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Antwan Harris and Chris Akins have spent their entire careers as special team performers and part-time defensive players. Of the two, only Harris has started an NFL game, and that happened just once. Another player who may work into the rotation next to starting safety Rodney Harrison is Aric Morris, who actually started 10 games at safety for Tennessee in 2001 after Pro Bowler Blaine Bishop got injured.'

Marker Lawyer's expertise not a problem [5:08 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Seldom, however, does a coach face an opponent with a player who was with him last week. Would Belichick change the Pats' signals and code words if Milloy was able to get ready enough to play? ``You'd take that into consideration,'' Belichick allowed, ``considering how the circumstances are.'''

Marker Head's up in Buffalo [5:07 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``I was conscious of the emotional aspect and I really felt like I did a pretty good job of coming into the games in the right frame of mind,'' Bledsoe said yesterday. ``The thing that happened to us in both games is that we were down by like 17 or 20 points and it put us in some difficult situations. I think that's what caused us problems and what caused me problems.'''

Marker Rival to pay Milloy's Bills [5:06 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Here we go again. Either Buffalo general manager Tom Donahoe is a better judge of talent than Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli, or he just overpaid (again) for a player who didn't fit into the Patriots' plans.'

Marker Bills buck up to get Milloy [5:05 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"We'll have to find that out as it comes," said Johnson. "Could it be (a distraction)? It could be. But it's up to us to not let it. Honestly, I think we have some very mentally strong football players on this team. Gritty guys. Lawyer was one, but he wasn't the only one. I think we have power within us to block it out. When it's time to go to work, we go to work. We may deliberate in the locker room or on our own about these things, but when it's time to go to work, it doesn't have a huge impact."' (registration required)

Marker It's Bledsoe? Pats have been there, done that [5:04 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"This is definitely a big game for me and it is a big game for our team," Bledsoe readily admitted yesterday. "I would never tell you that is not the case. It is a division game. It is the first game of the year. You just look at those two things and it is a big game. We weren't able to beat the Patriots last year. This is definitely a game that we are pointing at, that we need to try to do everything we can to win. That being said, if we go win this game, it doesn't put us in the playoffs. It doesn't put us anywhere, but it would be a good start to the season."' (registration required)

Marker It'll be hard to erase the memories [5:03 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"They are a well-coached team and I am sure that whatever they think our weaknesses are, they won't hesitate to go after them," Belichick said. "That is certainly what we would expect. Wherever they think they are, I am sure they will try to hit us. Talking defensively in general though, as we said at the end of the season, if you are trying to get younger on defense, then you are obviously going to be less experienced there. There is no way to meld those two together. To be younger is to be younger. To be more experience is to be older. You kind of have to make a choice there."' (registration required)

Marker Milloy Joins Bledsoe [5:02 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: '"The way the Patriots tried to back me into a corner. It didn't show a lot on their part," Milloy said in an interview with Houston's KRIV-TV. "New England tried to squeeze me with a last-minute deal, so we took a risk and went on the market."' (registration required)

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
09/15 New York Jets 8:25 pm
09/25 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 pm
10/02 @ New England Patriots 1:00 pm
10/09 @ Los Angeles Rams 4:25 pm
10/16 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 pm
10/23 @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
10/30 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
11/07 @ Seattle Seahawks 8:30 pm
11/20 @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
11/27 Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 pm
12/4 @ Oakland Raiders 4:05 pm
12/11 Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 pm
12/18 Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm
12/24 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
01/01 @ New York Jets 1:00 pm

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