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."'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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."'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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.'
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."'
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."'
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."'
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."'
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.'
No Ordinary Jones [7:08 AM]
New York Daily News reports: '"This is the best linebacking corps we're going to face all year," running back Jonathan Linton said. "They bring a lot of heat." So do the Bills' linebackers, led by another former Florida State star, Sam Cowart, who already has 28 tackles and is being hyped as one of the best young linebackers in the NFL. Cowart and Jones never played together in college, but Jones served as a chaperone on Cowart's recruiting visit. Asked how Jones sold him on the school, Cowart cracked yesterday: "He helped sell me by leaving (school), because he left a year early. "I'm from Florida, and all we get on TV are Florida State and Florida, so I couldn't help but watch him," Cowart said. "He's a great linebacker. He's one of the best players ever to put on a Florida State uniform." Jones, who will be inducted tonight into the Florida State sports Hall of Fame, wants to teach Cowart a lesson Sunday. ("I have to outplay the young guy," he said.)'
Keyshawn Blind-Sides Chrebet Again [7:06 AM]
New York Daily News reports: 'Former Jets WR Keyshawn Johnson, who faces his old team in nine days, took another swipe yesterday at his longtime nemesis, Wayne Chrebet. Johnson, who watched the Jets' 20-19 victory over the Patriots Monday night, said Dedric Ward has emerged as their No. 1 receiver. Ward had four receptions for 100 yards in the game. "I always said Dedric Ward was going to be their guy, and Dedric Ward is their guy right now," Johnson told reporters at the Buccaneers' facility in Tampa. "But, in New York, they don't want to hear that. That's new to them. If you say that, it's all over the AP wire. "The coaching staff and administrative people know the truth. The writers and fans don't get the whole picture. I know the truth because I can watch and see how teams are playing them." By praising Ward, Johnson was knocking Chrebet, who had a fantastic game. He caught four passes for 71 yards, including two touchdowns in the final 6:25.'
Anderson's window opens [7:05 AM]
New York Post reports: 'Anderson, whom some are calling "Slash" because is he's so multi-talented, did indeed ignite the Jets to that 20-19 win. Without his efforts on that drive, the Jets never even have a chance to win it in the final moments. "I think his time has come," Lucas said of Anderson, who's been a Jet since 1993. "He's been doing this for awhile, but nobody seemed to pick up on it. Maybe because it was spotty, maybe we weren't using him as much as we are now. But he's definitely dependable. You know what you're going to get out of Richie every day. "He's the total package," Lucas went on. "He's a fullback who can block for you. Most fullbacks in the NFL are going out in the flat, catching the ball and picking up three yards for you. "Obviously, teams are going to have to start looking at No. 20 when they gameplan. You've got to pay special attention to him, because he can hurt you with the run, he can hurt you after he catches the ball and he can hurt you vertically downfield. "Not too many fullbacks in the league - not any, really - go out and line up split all the way outside and go run past people out there. Here you have Richie making catches and taking the ball all the way down the field almost by himself, almost scoring in a screen pass. "How many fullbacks get screens? I mean, we design plays for Richie a lot."'
At 3-0, gang green will look like playoff lock [7:03 AM]
New York Post reports: 'They're not printing playoff tickets yet over at Weeb Ewbank Hall, nor will they regardless of what the outcome is Sunday at Giants Stadium, where the 2-0 Jets play the 2-0 Bills. However, a Jets' victory Sunday will go a significant way toward pushing the Jets back into the postseason for the first time since they nearly derailed Denver from the AFC title game at the end of the '98 season.'
Cottrell fits defensive bill [7:02 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Last season, the Buffalo Bills finished first in the NFL in total defense under coordinator Ted Cottrell, allowing the fewest points by an AFC team in 21 years and setting several team defensive records. The unit not only played hard because it was their job, they played hard for Cottrell, a practitioner of the kind of tough love that endears a coach to his players. Yet, Cottrell's phone didn't ring once last off-season when a half dozen NFL head coaching jobs opened up. Ted Cottrell, a former Rutgers assistant coach, is black. "It was kind of discouraging," Cottrell said yesterday from his office, where he's preparing his defense for a showdown with the Jets on Sunday at Giants Stadium. "It was only for a moment. I got over it. "But you can't tell people who to hire. Hopefully, if I keep doing a good job, I'll get a shot. I'm working towards that. This is my profession, and I want to reach the top of my profession. And I don't just want to get there, I want to be successful."'
Jones looks forward to LB challenge [7:01 AM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Linebacker Marvin Jones helped recruit Buffalo Bills linebacker Sam Cowart to Florida State several years ago. On Sunday, the two will lead their respective defenses in a battle for the AFC East Division lead. Jones, an eighth-year pro, leads the Jets with 21 tackles. Cowart, in his third season, tops the Bills with 28 tackles. "It's a challenge," a smiling Jones said yesterday. "I'm an older guy. I have to try to outplay the young guy." "Everybody wanted to be like Marvin," Cowart has said. "He was the best collegiate linebacker I've ever seen."'
Heavy burden falls on Jets offensive line [6:59 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'The good news for the Jets' interior offensive linemen is that Buffalo nose tackle Ted Washington has slimmed down to a program weight of 330 pounds. The bad news is that the Bills increasingly are teaming Washington with Pat Williams, who tips the scales at 310. The Bills refer to the alignment as "The Package." "That's a big package," running back Curtis Martin said Thursday. "That's a load." Center Kevin Mawae calls it a brick wall. Coach Al Groh said a forklift is the appropriate industrial machine to move them. And right guard Randy Thomas, asked how it would be going up against 650 or so pounds of defensive tackle Sunday, said, "I thought he weighed more than that." Just a joke, Ted.'
Scouting report: Jets vs. Bills [6:57 AM]
Bergen Record reports: 'Prediction: Bills 20, Jets 17.'
Cawley answers the call [6:56 AM]
Calgary Herald reports: 'Two weeks ago, Mike Cawley was sitting in his Pittsburgh home waiting for the phone to ring. Specifically, he was waiting for the Buffalo Bills to send out a call to the bullpen for an experienced hurler. Since Cawley was the last quarterback cut by the Bills at training camp, he thought he might be summoned back to Buffalo when starter Rob Johnson was injured in the first regular season game. But as he waited for someone from the Bills to dial his number, it was Calgary Stampeders head coach Wally Buono who showed the most interest. Tuesday, Cawley finally answered the call and Buono got his man as the 28-year-old made his Stampeder practice debut and began working towards a spot on the club. Cawley won't be in the lineup Saturday against Hamilton but should be ready in a week. "If Buffalo would have brought a quarterback in, it would have been me," said the James Madison University product, who agreed to a one-year contract, with a club option for 2001. "I had to take into consideration the fact that I could have been brought back there, that's why it took a while to decide. "I had to keep my options open. But this is a good option for me and that's why I'm here."'
Cawley fits bill [6:55 AM]
Calgary Sun reports: 'Stamps GM/head coach Wally Buono had reportedly been courting Cawley for a couple of weeks since his release from the Buffalo Bills. "The things we liked about Mike is he's had CFL experience, he's tough, he's athletic, he's had some success in the CFL and right now, those quarterbacks are at a premium," said Buono. "And if he can come in and help us then we'll be better for it."'
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