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Buffalo Bills News - August 17, 2003

Marker Spikes held out because of sore groin, Stevenson gets start [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills were 0 for 4 on third-down conversions in the first half.'

Marker Five minutes with ... Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe [5:20 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Who is the best golfer on the Bills? Probably one of our kickers, Jason Witczak. If he wasn’t playing football, they say he could have made it a go on the (pro) tour.'

Marker Bills’ new look defense was missing on Saturday [5:19 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'What’s had Bills’ fans so excited this pre-season is a defense improved by the addition of four quality veterans. But that was nowhere in evidence against the Titans.'

Marker Bills buffaloed [5:18 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'The Bills, expected to be one of the NFL's most improved teams, were far from regular-season form. Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Bledsoe was just 5-of-11 for 47 yards and was forced to get rid of the ball early on several throws. The Titans had four sacks. ''They have a really good front,'' Bills guard Ruben Brown said. ''They're outstanding. If we can block them, we'll be able to block anybody. As you see, we need a little more work.'''

Marker Bills held in check by stifling defense [5:17 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Tennessee gave up one giant play, a 62-yard dash by running back Travis Henry, but it came after the Titans had started to insert backups. Take out that run and Tennessee yielded just 109 net yards before the half.'

Marker McCareins makes his pitch to be No. 2 receiver [5:16 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'McCareins made with three catches for 57 yards last night against the Bills. Two were touchdowns — a 2-yarder from Steve McNair and a 35-yarder from Billy Volek.'

Marker Preseason injuries take toll on Titans [5:15 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Former Titans safety Marcus Robertson watched last night's game from the safety of the press box. He admitted the game has changed since he came into the league 12 years ago. ''I was just sitting here looking at the Titans wide receivers,'' he said. ''With the exception of Derrick Mason, all the wide receivers are 6-3, weigh 220 and run 4.3s. That's scary.'''

Marker When McNair's clicking, so are the Titans [5:14 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Neither does Bills Coach Gregg Williams, a former Titans defensive coordinator and an unabashed McNair fan. ''Steve made some unbelievable plays for them to keep drives alive, but he's done that to a lot of people,'' Williams said. Yes, he has. And he's not stopping yet.'

Marker Wycheck injured on opening play [5:13 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: '''Being a preseason game, it was more relaxed,'' Williams said. ''I could talk to the guys that I spent 11 years with. If it had been a regular season game, there wouldn't have been much chit-chat. ''Since this is a team we will play again [Dec. 14] we didn't have much to show them. We were vanilla, they were vanilla.'''

Marker Titans 37, Bills 24 [5:12 AM]
AP reports: '``We've got a lot of work to do when we get back to camp. Nobody should be resting easy with this ball game,'' Williams said.'

Marker Tennessee 37, Buffalo 24 [5:11 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'Olandis Gary scored on an eight-yard run in the second quarter for the Bills. Travis Henry had a 62-yard run on the scoring drive.'

Marker Titans reserves answer the call in victory [5:10 AM]
TitansOnline.com reports: 'Volek went 10-for-16 for 127 yards and two touchdowns. His first strike went to WR Justin McCareins, another Titan veteran making a push for the starting lineup.'

Marker Rookies continue to make positive impressions [5:09 AM]
TitansOnline.com reports: '“Our offensive line did a great job of keeping guys off me and not letting me get hit until I was five or six yards down field. Anytime that happens, it makes my job easier.”'

Marker Titans/Bills post-game quotes [5:08 AM]
TitansOnline.com reports: 'One of the things is when you are getting ready to play a team later on we were as vanilla as you can get. They were vanilla, we were vanilla. Steve (McNair) made some unbelievable plays as far as continuing some drives for them. He kept some drives alive for them. He made some great physical plays. We couldn’t get off the field on third down. The physical battles, there weren’t any mismatch there, except for that quarterback position. He has done that to a lot of people. We basically stayed very vanilla. Not a lot of information transfer going on. We did not want a lot of that going on tonight.'

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August 16, 2003

Marker LB Takeo Spikes will not play [7:10 PM]
ESPN reports: ESPN Game Day announced that Bills LB Takeo Spikes will not play against the Titans tonight. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Marker Time at Bills camp good for Mickelson [5:11 PM]
Newark Star Ledger reports: 'Phil and the Bills, a match made in sports hell. Both with enough talent to crush the competition ... until the big one.'

Marker Challenge awaits with tough Titans [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'No. 2 quarterback Alex Van Pelt probably will play just a series, like last week. Then No. 3 QB Travis Brown will enter and play probably for a full half.'

Marker Bills have plenty of 'backers [8:54 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'This summer, the depth situation is much improved. In fact, it looks like the team will have to cut two players it drafted in recent years by the time the roster is pared to 53 players.'

Marker Bills back in Nashville [5:32 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'Only six current Bills played in The Music City Miracle, — er, nightmare: guard Ruben Brown, receiver Eric Moulds, fullback Sam Gash, quarterback Alex Van Pelt, defensive tackle Pat Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield. The irony is that five former Titans coaches and players are now working for Buffalo.'

Marker Game Preview: Bills at Titans [5:31 AM]
Nashville Tennessean reports: 'Titans defensive end Kevin Carter will perform the national anthem on his saxophone.'

Marker McGahee preparing to play in '03 [5:30 AM]
Atlanta Journal Constitution reports: '"Am I prepared for [sitting out]?" he asked. "I haven't really thought about it. That's not in my mind right now."'

Marker Williams, Fisher table friendship at kickoff [5:29 AM]
AP reports: 'But Williams said he wouldn't mind if Fisher wins this game. ''We'll win the one in December,'' Williams said. ''That's all right.'''

Marker Williams makes his first trip back to Tennessee [5:28 AM]
AP reports: '''I'm glad we're doing it in a preseason setting for the first time than maybe a more tense regular season setting because in preseason you can be a little bit more laid-back and enjoyable,'' Williams said.'

August 15, 2003

Marker Notes: Eight teams hope they aren't kicking themselves [9:40 PM]
CBS Sportsline reports: The Giants completely overhauled their special teams after last season, including bringing in veteran kicker Mike Hollis. He is in a battle with incumbent Matt Bryant, but Hollis has the edge. Bryant might be better on kickoffs, but the Giants might opt for the steadier Hollis on field goals, unless they decide to keep both -- which isn't likely. Hollis had a good year in Buffalo last season, so he can handle the elements, which was a question after seven years in Jacksonville.

Marker AFC MVP's [9:38 PM]
ESPN.com reports: Offensive MVP: Quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Bledsoe exploded onto the scene as a leader and big-time producer on the field. With the emergence of running back Travis Henry, it will be up to Bledsoe to keep the Bills' offense balanced.

Marker Titans to go against familiar defense Saturday [8:44 PM]
TitansOnline.com reports: '“And believe me, it pained me to see what we had to do managing the cap was letting all of those very good defensive players go when we first got here because of the way their contracts were structured,” Williams said. “That was tough being a defensive guy letting that happen and being involved in those decisions. Now, this is a year that we targeted on getting back over on that side of the ball. We’ve done a very good job of attracting a few key people. Spikes is one of them…We’re not as fast and as good as that defense in Tennessee when I was there, but we’re approaching and getting closer to improving our team speed.”'

Marker Departure leaves Jets hurting up front [1:23 PM]
ESPN reports: Six-year veteran guard Tom Nutten, abruptly announced his retirement, leaving the team puzzled but also perilously thin on the offensive line. Nutten who got a Superbowl ring with Rams started in the league as a Buffalo Bill in 1995.

Marker Training camp billboard [1:22 PM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Most likely, McGahee will go on reserve/NFI once the regular season starts. Then the Bills would have the option of having him start practice between Weeks Six and Nine, if he's ready. The other alternative would be to keep him on the roster as one of the final 53 players and make him inactive each week.'

Marker Reese looking to turn heads in battle for a starting job [9:12 AM]
Buffalo News reports: "It's hard to tell where you stand out there, but it's good to get reps with both teams just to get a feel for it," Reese said. "So when they do name the starters, if they've already named the starters, whatever the case may be, if somebody gets injured, it's good to be able to play with the first team and know what it feels like to play with the first team."

Marker Morris commands teammates' respect [5:19 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“ He very quickly gets the attention of his teammates, which tells you a lot.”'

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09/11 @ Baltimore Ravens 1:00 pm
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