Coverages still shy of special [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Considering how bad the Buffalo Bills' kickoff coverage looked on its final play of the 1999 campaign, maybe fans should be a little more forgiving when watching this year's unit get the kinks out. The Bills, who covered dozens of kicks in actual games and countless more in camps and practices, were embarrassed when their season ended on the Tennessee Titans' now-infamous Home Run Throwback return. So if the Bills' special teams can have that sort of letdown after all that repetition and with their playoff lives at stake, it only stands to reason those units will experience some growing pains this year with a new coach and a slew of young players. "They're going to make mistakes," coach Wade Phillips said after Tuesday afternoon's practice at St. John Fisher College. "I saw the aggressiveness I want, but some of the techniques and mental mistakes we've gotta correct. We've gotta get that aggressiveness tuned in."'
Thomas surfaces as Dolphin [7:28 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Then there's the prospect of playing the Bills at least twice a year in the AFC East. Thomas insists that wasn't a factor in signing with Miami, but can hardly contain his desire to see the Bills again. Miami hosts the Bills on Oct. 8 and visits Buffalo on Dec. 3. "It won't be just another game for me," Thomas says. "It's personal." Thomas left Buffalo with a bitter taste, he says, because he learned the news that he, Bruce Smith and Andre Reed were going to be cut while watching ESPN2, when a news item "crawl" appeared at the bottom on the screen. He says it wasn't until after the release was official that GM John Butler called. Had the team approached him earlier, Thomas says, he might have just announced his retirement as a Bill rather than be humiliated with a release. Thomas and Reed share the Bills record for career touchdowns (87). "I was angry," he says. "I was upset over how it went down. But I'll use it to motivate me. I always seem to find something to keep me going."'
Camp ends smash run [6:13 AM]
D and C reports: 'But from owner Ralph Wilson on down, no one on the Bills seems to question that the camp at Fisher met its marketing goals, showcasing the team before large numbers of fans. (Indeed Wilson believes that the camp may have outdrawn all other NFL camps.) "The reception by the people in Rochester was just great," Wilson said by telephone yesterday. "Our players, our staff, everybody was accepted. We were really pleased."'
Fans and Fisher tops with Bills [6:12 AM]
D and C reports: 'By all accounts the Bills first 19 days have gone according to, or better than, planned with the three F's -- fans, facilities and food -- drawing the greatest raves from the players. "The accommodations are terrific, the dorm food is great, it's really been first class all the way around," said starting tight end Jay Riemersma, one of several players who also signed autographs after practice. "I haven't had a problem with anything out here so far."'
Wiley expects to play against Rams [6:10 AM]
D and C reports: '"I felt quick," Wiley said after practice at St. John Fisher College. "I got some good moves in there and got to fly around. I was happy. Now it's time to get my body and my legs in sync with everything else. But the sky's the limit now. Physically I was cleared to go, so today was a mental hurdle I had to clear." Wiley, who has 8.5 career sacks, said he's pain free for the first time in years. "I'm much better as a player," he said. "My quickness, range of motion, everything is better. And sitting out the last six weeks, I actually got a chance to analyze the game. I think that's going to help me in the long run, too."'
Wall of Fame celebration for Bills' Kelly long overdue [6:09 AM]
D and C reports: 'Steel-mill tough, Kelly helped keep the franchise in western New York and guided the Bills to an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls -- a feat in this age of free agency and salary caps that probably won't ever be duplicated...It has been four years since Jimbo called it quits. It's time to put his name on the Wall of Fame at the Ralph and officially retire his No. 12 in a gala celebration similar to the ones accorded Joe Montana, John Elway and Marino by their respective teams and cities. The honor is long overdue.'
Wiley's back stands up after first test [7:24 PM]
AP reports: 'The Buffalo Bills defensive end, and successor to departed great Bruce Smith, was elated after taking part in full contact drills for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a bulging disc in his back early last month. "Oh, man, football," a happy Wiley said. "I'm just glad to get out there and see somebody 300 pounds in front of me and to get to run around him, run into him, get knocked down a couple of times. "It's time for me to go out there and show what I can do." Bills coach Wade Phillips said Wiley will get plenty of practice time this week, and that he'll "probably play" in this Saturday's preseason game against St. Louis.'
Moulds banking on another great season [8:57 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Even before Andre Reed was sent packing, Moulds had already established himself as the Bills' go-to receiver. He led the Bills with 994 yards and seven touchdowns last season despite a nagging hamstring injury. Now healthy, he should be closer to the form of his breakout year in 1998, when he broke Reed's franchise record with an AFC-leading 1,368 yards. He has plenty of motivation. This is the final year of the five-year contract he signed after being the Bills' first-round draft pick in 1996. Barring injury, Moulds is looking at a multimillion-dollar payday in 2001.'
Bulletin board [8:55 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Buffalo Bills 1965 American Football League championship team will be honored by the Monday Quarterback Club at a Sept. 11 luncheon at 11:30 a.m. at the Adams Mark Hotel. Luncheon speakers will include team members Ed Rutkowski, Stew Barber and Billy Shaw as well as current General Manager John Butler, broadcaster Van Miller and Buffalo News sports editor Larry Felser, master of ceremonies.'
Man behind the mania [6:16 AM]
D and C reports: 'The man Wade Phillips calls a worrywart can exhale now. Russ Brandon can put away the Maalox, pop open a brewski and toast a job well done. Bills training camp -- the project that has gnawed at Brandon's gut for more than a year -- will conclude tomorrow morning at St. John Fisher College to rave reviews. With an estimated four-week attendance of close to 120,000 and a sponsorship haul that would make NASCAR envious, the Bills' vice president in charge of marketing and business development clearly has scored a touchdown with football fans and his boss. "We dumped this project on Russ' lap, and he came through with flying colors," says Bills owner Ralph Wilson. "This was no small undertaking, and Russ and his staff pulled it off without a hitch. I can honestly say I heard no complaints -- not from the fans, not from the coaches and players, not from anyone. And that's saying something."'
19th Ward barber cuts way into Bills training camp [6:14 AM]
D and C reports: 'William Hood has dubbed himself the official Buffalo Bills barber.'
Bills/Lions Photo Gallery [9:30 AM]
TBD reports: Check out photos from Saturday's game...
Cowart goes all out in pursuit of greatness [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'As good as Cowart is, Cottrell admires the fact that the player still strives to get better. "Sam is a pleasure to coach," Cottrell said. "He's a good student of the game, and his work ethic is tremendous. That's why he is going to be a great one in this league for a long time."'
Several players in competition for final roster spots [6:17 AM]
D and C reports: '...Phil Stambaugh is history...Mike Cawley is in trouble....Phillip Crosby and Josh Roth are gone, while Jason Corle (out with a hamstring) may luck out and land on season-long injured reserve...Drew Haddad, Kevin Drake, Corey Sullivan, Scott Pingel and Kwame Cavil are fighting for the last position...Bye bye Ivan Gustafson and John Jennings....it's anybody's guess right now between Fred Jones, Kenyatta Wright and DaShon Polk.'
Flowers' bonus healthy, but will he bloom? [6:12 AM]
Business First of Buffalo reports: 'Flowers, taken 26th overall from Arizona State, has yet to play a down in the NFL and will be counted on to contribute, albeit sparingly, as a substitute player in his inaugural season. Flowers will be paid a salary of $400,000 this season and receive annual raises of $100,000 over the life of the five-year contract. Total value: $5.65 million. Second-round pick Travares Tillman, a safety from Georgia Tech, pocketed $900,000 when his four-year deal was signed. The total value is worth $2.11 million. The remainder of the Bills' draftees have three-year contracts, though they really should be interpreted as three, one-year contracts. Terms are dependent upon those players making the team each year. The bonus money paid to third-round selection Corey Moore ($375,000) right down to the final two selections, UB's Drew Haddad ($26,000) and Dashon Polk ($22,000), adds up to a total of $830,000. The signing bonus, then, is what really separates Flowers and Tillman from the rest of the rookie class.'
Notes on Bills' preseason loss [3:36 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'The real concern is that, for the second straight game, the Bills' first-team attack was uneven at best. Yeah, there was the pretty 72-yard touchdown connection from quarterback Rob Johnson to wide receiver Eric Moulds. However that wasn't great offense, it was a great play made by a superlative athlete on a perfectly thrown ball. But the overall performance by the first-team offense, which played into the third period, was decidedly unimpressive. The line, in particular, struggled.'
Bills lose, defense shines [9:06 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills' first-team offense and defense played well into the third quarter. It was obvious which side of the ball needed the most work.'
Schulz adjusts to life with Lions [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"It was difficult leaving Buffalo, both personally and professionally," Schulz said. "I owe the Bills organization a lot for drafting me and giving me an opportunity to have a career in the National Football League. "The change to Detroit was a pretty smooth transition, but the hardest part was moving the family. That was the biggest challenge."'
Reed's football career may have a postscript with Broncos [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I feel like I'm 22 again," said the 36-year-old. "When I feel like that I'm usually good. It just shows that I can still do it. When you look at Bruce (Smith, now a Washington Redskin) and Thurman (Thomas, now a Miami Dolphin) you know they're thinking the same way. When we make plays, it will be all in the face of you know who." Translation: Bills' management.'
Lions Hold On [7:19 AM]
LionsFans.com reports: 'On the defensive side of the ball, the Lions -- with the exception Moulds' big play -- kept the Buffalo offense at bay for much of the game, forcing three turnovers and winning the time of possession battle (31:14 - 28:46).'
Bills not getting the basics [7:08 AM]
D and C reports: 'Two games into the preseason, the Buffalo Bills have the big play down cold. It's the basics that are bogging them down.'
Bills high on rising star Williams [7:05 AM]
D and C reports: '"Pat has talents we have to utilize and, of course, we know all about Ted," said defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who is looking for ways to keep his unit ranked No. 1 in the NFL despite the loss of four starters. "What we want is to find the right situations where we can get both of them out there together. In essence, it gives us more reps for Pat without taking any away from Ted."'
Hanson's 50-yarder gives Lions win [6:53 AM]
Detroit News reports: 'The defense had four sacks and two interceptions -- by linebacker Allen Aldridge and cornerback Marquis Walker. A holding penalty in the end zone against Bills guard Victor Allotey gave the Lions two points on a fourth-quarter safety. It cut Buffalo's lead to 13-12 and put the Lions in position to win on a field goal.'
Case has tough start [6:48 AM]
Detroit News reports: 'Saturday night's 8:35 kickoff was 90 minutes later than usual. The reason is because the game was televised by ESPN. The Lions never sell out exhibition games, so the live telecast was blacked out locally. It was a financial win for the Lions, though. They get an additional $400,000 for playing on ESPN, Lions chief operating officer Chuck Schmidt said. That is about $100,000 more than for their entire exhibition season TV contract, Schmidt said.'
Despite 15-13 win, Lions have plenty of work to do [6:46 AM]
Ann Arbor News reports: 'Detroit's defense, which has been impressive since the start of training camp, opened the game showing some firepower.'
Lions 15, Bills 13 [6:41 AM]
AP reports: '"That wasn't exactly a thrilling performance," Lions coach Bobby Ross said.'
Lions 15, Bills 13 [6:38 AM]
Sportsticker reports: 'The Detroit Lions' kicking game is ready for the regular season. Jason Hanson kicked a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, including the go-ahead 50-yarder, as the Lions rallied for a 15-13 exhibition victory over the Buffalo Bills.'
Linton is forgotten back at stacked position [8:59 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Bryson's play warrants the Bills finding time for him, but that could mean Linton's role in the offense may be reduced. Linton has a chance to prove his value to the team tonight when he starts for the Bills against the Detroit Lions at the Silverdome.'
Maguire back on familiar turf after short hop to Detroit [8:58 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Since he was in Japan, Maguire didn't see the Bills preseason opener with Cincinnati. But he knows what coach Wade Phillips is looking for tonight. "The young guys are stepping up, which is kind of neat," said Maguire. "When you are looking to replace seven starters you are putting people in positions and seeing how they react. You know what they can do physically. But this game is so mental."'
Lions, Bills Preview [7:49 AM]
LionsFans.com reports: 'At free safety, former Bills' defensive staple Kurt Schulz will start against the ball club he spent nearly his entire career with. Schulz left Buffalo for Detroit following a financial disarray on the Bills' part -- and has immediately plugged the gap left by former Lion Mark Carrier.'
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