Inconsistent defense befuddles Belichick [10:43 AM]
Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports: '"I don't think this team has played up to the expectations that we've had, or that everybody else had for us this year," Belichick said. "I didn't expect to be 4-10 this year. I don't think anybody else did either."'
Bills, Pats play for pride [9:23 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We've got two games left," said Bills quarterback Rob Johnson. "I think we're all playing for next year since the playoffs are gone. We're trying to get a couple wins and end on a positive note that we can take into next year."'
Someone will pay Butler big bucks [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bills sources say Butler wants to receive his full market value, and that means finding out what his full market value is once the season is over.'
Chilly draft [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'While the draft netted some promising talent, the overall impact of the eight-player rookie class of 2000 has been limited.'
Bills and Patriots trying to prove they're not dead on arrival [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The offense that gets out of its own way the best will win. . . . Bills, 23-17.'
Searching For Signs Of Life [8:30 AM]
Buffalo Post reports: 'I usually ascribe to the "Who needs it more?" theory. But in the case of the Bills and New England, the question becomes "Who wants the season to end less?"'
A Game Not Suitable For Television [8:29 AM]
Buffalo Post reports: 'Everyone who has ever cursed the National Football League for its blackout rule should take a few moments Sunday afternoon to give Paul Tagliabue and his minions in the league office a word of thanks.'
Johnson wants to earn respect [6:34 AM]
D and C reports: 'Johnson, who has four interceptions in his past two games and has been sacked 19 times in his past three, is battling his critics as well as a sore throwing elbow and shoulder.'
How much money is too much? [6:32 AM]
D and C reports: 'When Buffalo Bills defensive end Marcellus Wiley hits the free agency trail (it's the green one) this off-season, he won't be pulling an A-Rod.'
Dealing for Broncos' Gary would be wise for Bills [6:31 AM]
D and C reports: 'There aren't many major trades in the NFL, but the Denver Broncos figure to be shopping a running back this off-season. Shouldn't Buffalo be interested?'
Bills/Patriots scouting report [6:30 AM]
D and C reports: 'Johnson is banged up terribly, and he might not be physically capable of producing much on offense.'
Christie prefers his QEW connection [6:29 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'But because Christie is one of several veteran Bills who will be an unrestricted free agent in February, there is a chance today's meeting with the New England Patriots may be his final home game in Buffalo.'
Spot duty for some Patriots [6:28 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The reality of the situation is, however, that players are playing either for a chance to return next season or not.'
Double header [6:26 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Bills at least have a reason for their problems. They're really banged up on defense, having lost key defenders like Sam Cowart, Antoine Winfield and Sam Rogers for the duration.'
Pats' plan a puzzler [6:25 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '"The no-huddle has a place and we've shown we can use it. If we felt it would help by running it all the time, it's something we wouldn't hesitate to do."'
Pats, Bills play for pride . . . and a shot at a job next year [6:23 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"Well, look at it this way. We definitely have more experience this season in games that mean nothing than the Bills. So I guess we'll have to see how they react."'
It's not for the playoffs, but it's not a meaningless game [6:22 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The Bills and Patriots play today at Ralph Wilson Stadium and, for the first time since 1987, neither team will be playing in the postseason.'
No QB controversy in Phillips's mind [6:21 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'There is no quarterback controversy as far as Wade Phillips is concerned. For as long as he remains coach of the Buffalo Bills, Rob Johnson will be the starter, and Doug Flutie the backup.'
A Quarterback Keeper In Foxboro [6:20 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Bledsoe, who turns 29 on Valentine's Day, has said he would like a contract with bonuses tied to the performance of the team, rather than to his performance.'
Patriots-Bills Preview [6:18 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'If Johnson cannot find Eric Moulds (88 catches, 13.6 yards per catch), then he basically runs for his life and hopes for the best.'
Pats, Bills have QB questions [9:48 AM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'The Bills front office doesn't say anything publicly, but they're worried they could be in long-term trouble with Johnson as the starter if he doesn't get straightened out.'
Uncoordinated [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"You turn the ball over and you have a tough time winning," Pendry said. "That's the biggest difference between where we were early and lately. . . . That's what we've prided ourselves on, and we've got to get back to it.'
Stations brushing up their bids for Bills' radio rights [9:02 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The owner of 97 Rock, Citadel Communications, now has to hope that it won't be the last home game it gets to broadcast. After next week's finale in Seattle, the three-year deal that the Bills signed with Citadel's predecessor, Mercury Radio, expires.'
Smith hopes for fresh start [7:53 AM]
D and C reports: '"Oh yeah, I hope so," Smith said of the prospect of being released. "I don't want to go through the same thing here next year. I'd like to get a fresh start somewhere."'
Simmons received coach's message [7:51 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Simmons, who turned 26 last week, had been dismissed from Wednesday's practice and accused of not expending enough effort.'
Patriots' ills take a toll on Belichick [7:50 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'His team stinks, the weather is miserable and people are starting to get on his back. Bill Belichick is sick? What a surprise.'
NFL creates a fine mess [7:49 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The NFL (aka the No Fun League) doled out $90,000 in fines to the St. Louis Rams this week. The reason? Dancing after a touchdown.'
Parity's biggest ally of Patriots [7:47 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The NFL is one league in which teams can easily vault over the ones in front of them. Call it Pete Rozelle's legacy. But recent history tells us teams that struggle one year can make a big tournaround the next. The Pats could be one of those teams, considering that they spent the first six weeks of the season or so playing teams tough.'
Simmons in doghouse [7:46 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'During his daily press conference before practice yesterday, Belichick said the matter was a private issue between player and coach. Simmons did not work out with the team Thursday, and Belichick said the third-year pro would not do so yesterday.'
Pendry most disturbed by Bills lack of point production [8:00 PM]
AP reports: 'Asked if that means his offense has underachieved, Pendry said: "I would say this ... we need to score more points when the opportunities are there."'
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