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Buffalo Bills News - September 17, 2000

Marker Bills' game plan loud and clear [7:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills' offense has a lot of things to improve on, like running the ball and protecting Johnson, but just getting the ball hiked without mistakes in today's first road test will be a challenge. "We know crowd noise is going to be a factor but we've got to keep our composure and not get frustrated if things don't go well in the beginning," running back Antowain Smith said. "We've got to keep plugging and hope something gives for us...This is a big matchup. It's going to be a matter of will, which team is going to be more physical."'

Marker Scouting report [7:35 AM]
D and C reports: 'Bills win if...They shut down Martin and force the Jets to be one-dimensional on offense. Of course, QB Vinny Testaverde has been at his best this season when he's had to rely heavily on the passing game at the end of games...They avoid turnovers. This is their first road game and it will be difficult to communicate on offense. Johnson will get sacked, and when he does, he has to protect the ball and not fumble it away...They can establish their own running game. This will bring their play-action passing back into use, and when the Bills have that working, they are tough to stop.'

Marker Bills D big on stinginess [7:33 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Short of banging his head against the wall, there is not much the New York Jets' Curtis Martin can do to prepare for an afternoon of running into mounds of Buffalo Bills gut. "Between the two of them (defensive linemen Ted Washington and Pat Williams) you have about 700 pounds in there," Martin said. "It's not a game I look forward to, to be honest."'

Marker Testaverde aims for better start [7:32 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'After missing the entire 1999 season, New York Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde would be expected to have some cobwebs early this season. Fortunately for Jets fans, the veteran has been able to shake them for fourth-quarter rallies in his team's first two wins. But Testaverde, who today will face the AFC's leading defence in the Buffalo Bills, believes he'll need a quicker start if his team is to go 3-0. "We're going to have to go out right away and play some good football this week if we're going to have any chance to beat the Bills," Testaverde said. "But we definitely have confidence that no matter what the situation is at the end of the game, we can come back."'

Marker Bills' Defense Limits the Jets in Playing Catch-Up [7:31 AM]
New York Times reports: 'After two victories in which a dysfunctional offense took three quarters to come to life, today the Jets (2-0) face in the Bills (2-0) a team with a defense so dominating that it is unlikely to let the Jets catch up if they fall behind.'

Marker Bills or Believers [7:30 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Today, the Jets can break the hex with a victory over the Bills (2-0) at Giants Stadium - a battle for sole possession of first place in the AFC East and an intriguing showdown between two teams that survived tumultuous offseasons. The Jets are winning without Bill Parcells and Keyshawn Johnson, and the Bills are doing it without Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed, a trio that won six division titles and four AFC championships. They're as synonymous with Buffalo as beef on weck. But life goes on in the NFL. "It's amazing," Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde said of the Bills' resilience. "Without Bruce Smith, Andre Reed and Thomas, you'd think there would be a big dropoff. But there is none. They might be a better team."'

Marker Jets Scouting Report [7:28 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Prediction: Bills, 23-21.'

Marker 34 Years Later... [7:27 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'The Jets haven't started 3-0 since 1966...'.

Marker Old faces gone as Jets battle AFC East rivals [7:26 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'None of the Jets players was heavily into reflecting on what it will be like to play the Bills for the first time without nemeses Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and Andre Reed wearing blue and red. "It's not going to be strange," said strong safety Victor Green. "The guys they had did a wonderful job when they were there. All good things come to an end. Their fans will miss them more than we will."'

Marker Bills defense facing another challenge [7:25 AM]
AP reports: 'But challenges are hardly new for the Bills, whose schedule was ranked in the preseason as the toughest in the NFL. The are 2-0 with a revamped defense -- four new starters on a unit that ranked first in the league last season. There hasn't been much falloff -- it's ranked third overall in the league.'

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September 16, 2000

Marker Jets have to be concerned with facing Bills' 'Package' [9:26 AM]
Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune reports: 'Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips calls it "The Package." The super-sized, dynamic defensive tackle duo of Ted Washington and Pat Williams that Phillips occasionally employs has literally placed a heavy burden on opposing running games. Buffalo's Twin Peaks look like a double dose of William Perry and hit like Ted Williams. The Jets offensive line has the unenviable challenge of blocking 662 pounds of defensive tackle in tomorrow's 1 p.m. showdown against the 2-0 Bills. The unique defensive wrinkle has the look of a brick wall to running back Curtis Martin. "They make it very difficult to run," Martin said of the Washington-Williams defensive tackle tandem. "Between the two, that's close to 700 pounds in there. They pretty much stuff the middle. It makes it very difficult to run the ball up the middle against them." Washington weighs 350 pounds. "You need a forklift to move Washington," Jets coach Al Groh said of the Bills' Pro Bowler. These are two Bills who appear well acquainted with the fork lift. Williams, the former undrafted rookie signed out of Texas AM in 1997, is no slouch at 312 pounds. "Those two guys are huge," Jets center Kevin Mawae said of "The Package." "I might have to start eating a lot of donuts just to gain some extra weight to play against them. It's a formidable front. Those guys form a brick wall. It's not easy to run against them. "It's hard enough to block one of them when he's in the game. But to have both of them in there makes it even more challenging."'

Marker He's back! [9:15 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Now hear this: Vinny is back. Again. The former Heisman Trophy winner has been counted out numerous times in his 14-year NFL career. But his body, mind and game are in good form entering Sunday's AFC East showdown between the Jets and the Buffalo Bills at the Meadowlands.'

Marker Moore gets starting nod as injury shelves Rogers [9:14 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Rookie Corey Moore will get his first career start at weak-side linebacker when the Buffalo Bills meet the New York Jets on Sunday. Starter Sam Rogers was held out of practice again Friday and was made inactive for the game due to a bruised bone in his right shoulder. The Bills have a bye next week. Rogers said he expects to be fine for the Bills' next game, against Indianapolis. He played with the bruise against Green Bay last week.'

Marker Bills fans treated to Enberg's NFL debut on CBS [9:13 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Oh, my! Buffalo fans get a treat Sunday when Dick Enberg does the Bills-Jets game, his first National Football League broadcast since switching from NBC to CBS.'

Marker Unknown Bills 'D' getting its due [7:41 AM]
D and C reports: 'Anonymity has been good for Buffalo's defense, which last year ranked No. 1 overall in the NFL yet didn't send a soul to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl. Slowly, but surely, however, one of the league's best kept secrets is getting out.'

Marker Special Teams for Jets Have Been Anything But [7:40 AM]
New York Times reports: 'They may be unbeaten thanks to a pair of late comebacks, but the Jets know these heroics go just so far. And it might be especially dangerous to wind up trailing late in the game against the stingy defense of the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. So today, Coach Al Groh used what he described as a loud voice - one of the oldest coaching techniques - to discuss one area the Jets need to improve dramatically: special teams.'

Marker Jets' Attack Can't Be Buffaloed [7:38 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'As exciting as the Jets' two fourth-quarter comebacks have been, the team realizes the Houdini act can't last forever. Late game rallies may work against a couple of hapless opponents like the Packers and Patriots, but not the 2-0 Buffalo Bills. When Buffalo comes to the Meadowlands Sunday, both squads' unblemished records will be on the line as will sole possession of the AFC East. The Jets know that to leave with a "W," they have to arrive before the final 15 minutes. "We need to get off to an early start," center Kevin Mawae said. "We can't wait around until the fourth quarter and hope for another come-from-behind victory. We need to come out in the first quarter and establish our game plan and the running game and get things going."'

Marker Unbeaten Jets not so special [7:37 AM]
New York Post reports: 'The twist here is that, through two games, the Jets have gotten away with being inept in several key areas of special teams. But it's eminently clear that the time bomb's about to explode unless major improvement is made.'

Marker Chrebet injury account raises questions [7:36 AM]
New York Post reports: 'While casually recounting his comeback from the strained right leg that nearly kept him out of Monday night's game, Wayne Chrebet yesterday revealed that he spent time in the trainer's room last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This raised a significant question about the Jets' integrity since they announced that Chrebet's injury occurred in Saturday's practice. And even then, his injury wasn't announced until late in the day Saturday. "It happened on Friday," Chrebet said of the injury. "I was in (the trainer's room) on Friday from one to 6:30, then spent about six hours on Saturday and I was in there too on Sunday. All told, I think it was about 15 hours (in the trainer's room). "I told them (the coaches) the day (the injury occurred) that I was going to be OK. I told (Al Groh) I wasn't going to miss this game for anything." Chrebet went on to have a heroic game, catching two fourth-quarter TDs, including the game winner. As for the Jets, it appears they deliberately withheld injury information, which is an NFL violation. Chrebet should have been on the injury report by the end of the day Friday or at least Saturday.'

Marker Jets' Test: Buffalo's 'Package' [7:33 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'As a nickname, it doesn't have the rip-roaring imagery of the Fearsome Foursome, the Purple People Eaters, the Steel Curtain or the Big Blue Wrecking Crew. When the Buffalo Bills send in 310-pound Pat Williams to join 330-pound Ted Washington as defensive tackles in run-stopping situations, they refer to the titanic twosome as "The Package." They deliver. "You put those 300-plus pounders right there and they pretty much shut everything down," Packers coach Mike Sherman said last Sunday after the Bills limited Green Bay to 40 yards rushing. That was one week after the Bills held Eddie George and the Tennessee Titans to 53 yards on the ground.'

Marker Must handle a QB with quick feet and a big arm [7:32 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'After spending the last couple of seasons chasing Bills diminutive quarterback Doug Flutie, you would think Jets linebacker Mo Lewis might be relieved to be staring down Rob Johnson instead when Buffalo comes to Giants Stadium tomorrow with both teams 2-0 atop the AFC East. Not so fast, considering Johnson is no slowpoke himself. "He's a good quarterback and brings a lot to their team," Lewis said yesterday. "Flutie had to create his own throwing lanes, but Rob doesn't have to do that. That's one of the advantages for him." Indeed, Johnson stands tall in the pocket at 6-4 and 215 pounds, while the 5-9 Flutie had to be more creative to see through the mass of humanity in front of him in the trenches. Still, Lewis came to respect Flutie as "a tough competitor," although he prefers not to discuss the blind-side block the little guy cut him down with on a reverse last season during the Jets' 17-3 loss at Ralph Wilson Stadium. "I know what you're getting at," Lewis said when asked about his most vivid memory of Flutie. Then he smiled and walked away, refusing to bite.'

Marker Groh, Jets seek more than late heroics [7:30 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Consistency on offense was atop Al Groh's agenda Friday. But Al, how about the second and third quarters against New England on Monday? In a seven-possession span, the Jets went three-and-out three times and managed merely four first downs. Oh, that's not quite the type of consistency you're looking for, is it? "We need to sharpen up that consistency today," the Jets coach said before Friday's practice at Hofstra. "That's got to be our emphasis point today. To be more consistent and put good plays back-to-back." The Jets did that Monday, but only in the first and fourth quarters.'

September 15, 2000

Marker Bills' blueprint for success [3:26 PM]
ESPNet reports: 'In this age of the salary cap and unfettered free agent movement, the Bills are refreshing throwbacks. The franchise, wedged into the far west corner of New York, across the falls from Ontario, Canada, still operates with this basic philosophy: Draft good football players, nurture them and keep them as long as you can. Before the Bills traded for Denver kick returner Chris Watson before the final cutdown, they didn't have a single player on the roster who played for another NFL team in 1999. The result is a lot of victories.'

Marker Bills downplay Johnson's tendinitis [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Quarterback Rob Johnson has developed tendinitis in the elbow of his right (throwing) arm. The Bills don't think it's serious enough to put him on the injury list, and they expect him to start Sunday. But his condition does bear watching. Johnson was in obvious pain as he threw during warm-up drills in practice Thursday. After one throw, he was bent over clutching his elbow. After practice, coach Wade Phillips downplayed Johnson's tendinitis. "He's always had that," Phillips said. "He had it last year. It hasn't been a concern for us or him. It's not like (Green Bay's Brett) Favre, but it's similar. It gets sore sometimes when he throws the football, so he ices it down. He obviously didn't have a problem in the game." "I've taken a couple of hits on my elbow," Johnson said. "I've got some scabs there, so it's been a little more tender than it has before. But I'll be all right. It's just something I'll have to deal with."
Johnson added that his tendinitis usually flares up if his arm isn't completely warm, but improves once the arm loosens up.'

Marker Jets special teams not especially good [8:53 AM]
Asbury Park Press/Home News Tribune reports: 'Just check the current special-teams rankings: Kickoff returns: 29th...Punt returns: 29th...Kickoff coverage: 16th...Punt coverage: 30th.'

Marker A Healthy Marvin Is Tough Stuff [7:47 AM]
New York Newsday reports: 'This week, there's a little more juice involved for Jones. Not only are the Jets (2-0) playing the Bills (2-0) for first place in the AFC East, but Jones is going against one of his successors at Florida State. Sam Cowart, who leads the Bills with 28 tackles, modeled himself after Jones when he joined the Seminoles. "Everybody wanted to be like Marvin," Cowart said. "He was the best collegiate linebacker I've ever seen. He told me that we ran the same things at Florida State that they do in the pros. They just call them different things." Jones said facing Cowart's team means, "You've got to try to outplay the young guy. We know in a game like this, if it turns out to be a defensive game, whatever team's linebackers play the best, that's who's going to win."'

Marker NFL in Toronto isn't a sure bet [7:37 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'A scenario laid out in another newspaper had Ralph Wilson, the 82-year-old owner of the Buffalo Bills, selling the team for about $500 million (U.S.) to put his estate in order and deal with the inheritance tax issue now, instead of post mortem. It made it sound as though Godfrey was about a week away from loading up a satchel full of Rogers' dough, shuffling off to Buffalo and returning with the Bills, who would soon be playing home games at SkyDome. Bills officials are shaking their heads over that one. Even Godfrey described the story as "highly speculative," adding, "I wouldn't get too excited about the Bills packing their helmets and shoulder pads and moving down the QEW to Toronto. I wouldn't bet the family fortune on moving Buffalo. The Bills are there until at least 2004. Nobody (from Toronto) is looking at the Bills with great lust." Scott Birchtold, who handles publicity for the Bills, said the scenario was so unlikely that nobody from the team wanted to comment on it. But he did say it's just the latest story that had somebody taking the team out of Buffalo. "This isn't the first time I've heard this. Those kind of stories upset Mr. Wilson a great deal, because I don't think he has any intention of selling the team," said Birchtold. "He absolutely loves this football team. The last time there was a story like that in the Buffalo News it upset Mr. Wilson so much he wrote a letter to the editor about it."'

Marker Antowain implores Bills: Turn me loose [7:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'Buffalo Bills tailback Antowain Smith has a suggestion for his coaches to get the team's stalled running game in gear: Quit making him run with a fullback...Smith suggests that a problem that plagued the Bills last season still exists: the telegraphing of running plays because of established personnel combinations that offensive coordinator Joe Pendry favors. Smith, who is never thrown to, is Buffalo's designated tailback in all two-back alignments, which is akin to saying a run's coming. Jonathan Linton and Shawn Bryson operate as pass-catching, single-set backs with the element of surprise. Smith, a powerful 6-2, 228 pounds, would like that role. He said he prefers to run without a lead blocker because he can hit the holes faster and read where those holes are more clearly. "Running the ball as a single back, you get to the hole a little faster because you just go," Smith said. "With a fullback in front of you, you have to be more patient and cut off (his block). There's a difference. If you're an athlete, of course you have to let your instincts take over when running the ball. But you also have reads to make, and sometimes your reads are more clear as a single back."'

Marker Johnson will play vs. Jets despite tendinitis [7:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"It's just that as the season goes on, we've thrown a lot and you get tendinitis," said Johnson. "I've taken a couple of hits on my elbow and I've got some scabs there, so it's been a little more tender than it was before. But I'll be all right, it's just something that I'll have to deal with it."'

Marker One-Man Showcase for Jets: Anderson [7:10 AM]
New York Times reports: 'And now on Sunday, the Jets face what Coach Al Groh fears could be the finest defensive team in the league. The Bills were first in the league last season, and so far third this year.'

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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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