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Buffalo Bills News - September 22, 2001

Marker How Rob rates [9:12 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Granted it's only one week into the NFL season, but Rob Johnson's rating, among the 32 quarterbacks ranked, is near the bottom in the league.'

Marker Cowart thinks his season's over [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"My whole take on it is the football season is basically September, October and November," Cowart said in his first interview since having surgery Monday to repair a partially torn right Achilles' tendon. "The doctors said it's going to take three months for it to heal. But when a doctor tells you three months, that's really four. After those three months to get healthy, you then have to get back to where you are in football shape and at football speed."'

Marker Spoon may gobble up some playing time [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Spoon practiced extensively with the first-team defense during Friday's practice. Kenyatta Wright is still expected to get the majority of snaps Sunday, but Spoon is certain to get plenty of action, particularly on early downs.'

Marker NFL's choice on postseason games is likely to be wild [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Rob Johnson is becoming one of the favorite quarterbacks of "Edge NFL Matchup," the ESPN show hosted by Suzy Kolber in which analysts Ron Jaworski and Merril Hoge dissect plays. According to the show's publicist, Johnson's play is analyzed for the second straight show this weekend, prior to the Bills' game with the Colts. Johnson was critiqued briefly on the opening show prior to his poor performance in the New Orleans Saints game.'

Marker Bills re-start season in Indianapolis [8:01 AM] reports: With the Colts scheduled to move out of the AFC East and into the new AFC South next season, this also may be Buffalo's last visit to Indiana until the 2006 season.

Buffalo has had a somewhat tricky time at the Dome, with the Colts having a 10-7 mark against the Bills at home since the franchise moved from Baltimore in 1984.

Marker Scouting the Colts with John Guy [7:57 AM] reports: "I think if you look at the offense, it's built around Peyton Manning," he said. "His arm, his mindset, his attitude, things are built around that."

Marker Salary cap means Fina is staying [7:09 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Fina's not going anywhere and he and his agent know it. Rather than signaling his exit from Buffalo, it's likely Donahoe's challenge was an effort to kick-start a player with whom the Bills are stuck.'

Marker Containing Colts offense a challenge for Bills [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: 'In facing a new Bills defense sporting a new scheme, Manning said he is prepared for anything. He'll be looking for the big play, but only when it presents itself. "We've been a big-play offense, but my philosophy as a quarterback is never to force it at all costs," Manning said. "Against the Jets, we were trying to hit the big play, but the Jets played off and we ended up taking the short stuff and ended up having some good drives. You try to take what a defense gives you. In Buffalo, I see a very aggressive style and they've got a lot of confidence in their corners. "When you have good corners, it allows you to do more things and that's an advantage the Bills have."'

Marker Bills' West Coast offense doesn't faze Colts [5:26 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"It's still just football," said Colts outside linebacker Mike Peterson, who had 12 total tackles against the Jets. "It's basically trick 'em football. Show you right, run left. Show you sweep, run draw. Show you pass, run draw. Don't throw it deep. Everything quick. If you hone up on your assignments, you know what to do."'

Marker Surgery sidelines LB Harris, leaves Colts short at position [5:25 AM]
Indainapolis Star reports: 'Without Harris, the team has only five healthy linebackers on the active roster -- starters Mike Peterson, Rob Morris and Marcus Washington, and backups Sam Sword and Mike Morton. Donnel Thompson is on the practice squad.'

Marker Blackout TV reprieve [5:24 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'The league granted the Colts an extension to noon today to sell out the Bills game so it can be telecast locally. The Colts said fewer than 1,000 tickets remained late Friday afternoon.'

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September 21, 2001

Marker Bills can't let Peyton pass at will at his place [9:24 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"Everybody talks about the (Colts') Big Three people. It goes back to the Big One," said Buffalo Bills coach Gregg Williams. "Peyton Manning controls it all. You'll see him control protection, control coverage, control the run game, does a great job audibilizing and checking at the line of scrimmage."'

Marker Bills owner finds way to give back [9:23 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'His response was to buy the remaining tickets for the Bills' Sept. 30 home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for the purpose of distributing them to the families of local firefighters, police officers and emergency medical technicians. The cost of the tickets was more than $130,000.'

Marker Fisher to play with bad thumb [9:22 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Coach Gregg Williams said Fisher should be ready to go Sunday, although it's unlikely Fisher will wear his cast during the game.'

Marker Football 101 absolutely A-1 for some pupils [9:21 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'About 100 women have participated in Buffalo's NFL 101 each season. Age is no barrier. "Believe me," Leffler said, "we get women in their 70s and 80s."'

Marker No-huddle means trouble for Colts' foes [9:20 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'Marchibroda was patient. Not until 1989, when he was offensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bills, did he install the no-huddle. He did it because he had the right personnel: a bright group, a heady, take-charge quarterback in Jim Kelly, and a versatile, pass-catching running back in Thurman Thomas to help spread the field and force the defense to cover multiple receivers.'

Marker Colts get more time to avoid blackout [9:19 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: 'The league stepped in on Thursday, altering its policy of requiring teams to sell out home games 72 hours prior to kickoff for the games to be televised live in the local market. The deadline was adjusted league-wide to 48 hours prior to kickoff, which would be noon today for the Colts, who play host to Buffalo on Sunday. Colts spokesman Craig Kelley said fewer than 1,000 tickets remained Thursday afternoon for the game.'

Marker It's time for Bills' offense to produce [5:11 AM]
D and C reports: '"We're not discouraged at all. We've played one regular-season game in this system, and we'll get better in this system, and we'll get more comfortable as we go along."'

Marker Johnson finding it tough to avoid repeated sacks [5:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"He always wants to make a play down the field and I think that's a positive trait, but one that has to fit in with the constraint components of your offensive system and that's not to take negative yardage plays. He understands that." Or does he?'

September 20, 2001

Marker RJ both blessed and cursed by disaster [9:47 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: When it comes to his personal game, Bills QB Rob Johnson was both blessed and cursed by the NFL's decision to take last Sunday off to mourn the country's terrorist victims.

The extra time off gave Johnson's chronically sore throwing elbow and index finger time to heal and the extra practice work in the team's new West Coast offense was beneficial. Still, the time off gave Johnson an extra week to stew over his poor performance.

Marker Eight days, three games: How would players respond? [9:34 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: It was Haslett, a former LB with the Bills, and Saints general manager Randy Mueller who proposed that each team play Thanksgiving Day to make up games, between regularly scheduled weekend games.

"It would be tough, but it's doable," Haslett said. "If it means getting in the four wild-card teams the league is thinking of eliminating, then it would be worth it."

Haslett even has a Jan. 5-13 schedule worked out: Play Saturday, off Sunday, practice Monday, walk-through Tuesday, play Wednesday, off Thursday, practice Friday, walk-through Saturday and play Sunday.

Marker New Bills regime: They don't hold back any punches [9:28 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: One thing about the new regime in Buffalo: They don't hold back any punches. Whether it's new HC Williams or GM Donahoe, they make sure players know what they're thinking -- even if it's sometimes through the media. Donahoe questioned the play of veteran John Fina this week. That comes on the heels of the release of veteran safety Henry Jones and linebacker John Holecek. With Donahoe and Williams, the Bills are going to be a good football team down the road. It's just going to take a few years. As one personnel director said, "They have the worst team in the league." In a year or two, nobody will be saying that.

Speaking of Jones, he was a Pro Bowl player for much of his 10-year career with the Bills, but he still remains unsigned after the Bills determined he didn't fit Williams' defense, which stresses physical safeties who can play near the line of scrimmage. There's another reason Jones was let go: He's clearly not the same player he has been. "He's terrible," said one scout who has studied him on tape. "He didn't come close to tackling anybody on the tapes I watched."

Marker Williams starting to lean on Johnson ever so slightly [8:03 PM]
WGR reports: Williams, has for the most part been protecting his starting QB from the slings and arrows that have been thrown his way. All the while he has downplayed lackluster performances in the preseason and a 3 interception performance in the season opener. But now heading into the Bills 2nd regular season game he isnít coddling his QB anymore. As far as he is concerned itís time for Johnson to take hold of the reins of this offense and ride.

Marker NFL 101 Football Clinic For Women [7:51 PM] reports: The Bills will hold their fourth annual NFL 101 Football Clinic For Women on Oct. 2, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. in the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Registration (689-6981, ext. 101 or 112) is required.

The clinic teaches all aspects of football while providing interaction with current and former players.

The fee is $40 per person, with proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society and the Buffalo Bills Alumni Foundation

Marker No Cowart? No problem, Bills say [7:24 PM]
AP reports: 'Buffalo's defense prepares for an intimidating test this weekend without its most important player, linebacker Sam Cowart. Raising a white flag is not an option.'

Marker Owner donates $130,000 of tickets to emergency personnel [4:02 PM]
AP reports: 'Citing their heroism, Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson donated more than $130,000 worth of football tickets (3,300 tickets) to local police, fire and emergency medical technicians on Thursday.'

Marker Cowart-less defense faces huge test in James [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'James has won the NFL rushing title in each of his two seasons in the NFL and is the second-best rushing-and-receiving threat in the league behind St. Louis' Marshall Faulk. And he opened the 2001 season with a blast - gaining 135 yards in the Colts' rout of the New York Jets.'

Marker Pregame should be emotional [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'All game telecasts Sunday afternoon will open with a 60-second piece prepared by NFL Films recognizing the unprecedented events of the past week. The piece also will air in the stadiums. There also will be a moment of silence.'

Marker Nimda virus hits area computer networks hard [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'And, a Web portal operated by The Buffalo News, unplugged itself to avoid catching the virus and spreading it to users, officials said. The site was offline for most of Wednesday after being switched off Tuesday afternoon.'

Marker Bills back at it [5:37 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"In our meeting (yesterday) we discussed, 'If you were handed a hard hat, if you were handed a shovel, if you were handed a rope, would you take it?' To a man, they said they would. We have been handed a football. That's our job, that's what we're supposed to do."'

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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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