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Buffalo Bills News - November 16, 2001

Marker Hawks like Ground Mike [5:27 AM]
Everett Herald reports: 'A Holmgren team running the football? That's like Tom Osborne installing the run-and-shoot at Nebraska. Or Don Coryell turning to the wishbone.'

Marker Golden touch eludes Sheppard [5:26 AM]
Everett Herald reports: '"I wouldn't be truthful if I said the losses didn't hurt," Sheppard said. "You question yourself all the time, wonder what you could have done differently. But I've always been one of those people who see the glass as half full. You've just got to realize that sometimes it takes a little longer."'

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November 15, 2001

Marker Concerns rise with every Bills loss [9:07 PM]
AP reports: '"There always have to be concerns about the long-term prognosis of the Bills being here," Erie County Executive Joel Giambra said. "(Bills owner) Ralph Wilson has said many, many times that his biggest concern here is the economy. And obviously the economy is not doing very well. So obviously, I'm sure he's concerned. And I think that means that we all should be concerned about the future of the franchise."'

Marker Dr. Z: The award for best performance at midseason goes to ... [1:13 PM]
CNN/Sports Illustrated reports: RUNNING BACKS: "Here's a surprise. Buffalo's Travis Henry in the Thursday night upset over Jacksonville. His numbers were minimal (27 for 63), but he struggled for a lot of first downs and kept many drives alive through sheer effort."
GUARDS: "Buffalo's Ruben Brown against the Jets in October."
CENTERS: "Three performances jump out at me: Buffalo's Billy Conaty and San Francisco's Jeremy Newberry, both against the Jets, and Oakland's Adam Treu in Philly."

Marker Oakland signs OT Jerry Crafts [10:11 AM]
Contra Costa Times reports: Oakland signed offensive tackle Jerry Crafts, 33, to its 53-man roster. He spent time with the Raiders in training camp this year before getting released. He played for Buffalo from 1992-94 and Philadelphia in 1997 and '98. He also played in CFL and Arena league Buffalo Destroyers. He started 13 of the 39 games in which he played. Raiders only have left guard and right tackle standing and healthy enough, among the five opening-game starters on the offensive line.

Marker Sunday was perfect for offensive lineman Jones [10:02 AM]
Tacoma News Tribune reports: 'Lovat, now in his third season as the Seattle Seahawks' line coach, had never witnessed a perfect single-game performance by a lineman before combing through videotape of Walter Jones' effort Sunday night. Jones was more than merely effective during the Seahawks' 319-yard rushing performance against Oakland. He was technically sound as well - not just on the whole, but on each of the Seahawks' 66 offensive plays. "He was flawless," Lovat conceded Wednesday.'

Marker Harmon Prediction: Seattle 14, Buffalo 13 [9:02 AM]
reports: The Seahawks run well and defend well against the run, but they're so inconsistent that anything could happen in wintry Buffalo. Last year the Bills notched their biggest win in Seattle, 42-23.

Marker Van Pelt collects votes of confidence [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"You get the feeling he's in control when he's in there," receiver Peerless Price said. "He knows the offense. He knows the timing everybody has."'

Marker Starting on Kelly's day special to Van Pelt [9:00 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Van Pelt said the thing he remembers most about playing with Kelly in 1995 and '96 was Kelly's leadership. "The biggest thing is how he handled the team," Van Pelt said. "I remember sitting in meetings when he was running the K-gun no-huddle. . . . Most of the time (on other teams) we'd sit down and the coach would grab the clicker and you'd watch film as the coach talks about plays. But Jim would come in, flip the film in, grab the clicker and start running the meeting himself. He told everybody what to do, what he wanted on these routes, and the coaches would sit back and cross their arms and listen. That was a shock for me, never coming from that type of influence of a quarterback having on the offense."'

Marker Bills lean on veterans like Moulds [8:38 AM] reports: 'With injury striking the quarterback position and the league's youngest roster continuing to adjust and search for confidence, the team will lean on the veterans left over from the playoff runs of the 1990s more than ever. On offense, no veteran will have more asked of him than wide receiver Eric Moulds, a signature player for the franchise ever since he stepped into the starting lineup on a full-time basis during the 1998 season.'

Marker Gregg Williams press conference [8:37 AM] reports: "That decision is a future decision, and the future is this week. We have to do what we need to do the next 8+ weeks. We have to make sure we move on each week and are able to win ballgames. Getting Alex ready to go, we have to get a few cramming things with him with some extra time. The team has a little pep in their step about that, and know that Alex will play the best that he can play. He'll do some good things, he did some good things in the Jets game, and we're excited about it."

Marker Mideason grade - D-minus [8:37 AM]
ESPN reports: Larry Centers was only player Clayton's All-AFC team
Bills: As many as 5 rookies are being played on defense. The run defense is porous. QB Johnson finally couldn't avoid the sack that fractured his clavicle and sidelined him until December. Still, Williams is getting good effort out of the players. They are playing hard, particularly on defense. Maybe having Alex Van Pelt at QB will manage a more steady passing game. Rookie CB Nate Clements has all the looks of being a star. Still, the coaching turnover and the salary cap has caused a three-game drop to 1-7.

Marker Van Pelt fits West Coast offense [5:36 AM]
D and C reports: 'They don't need a quarterback with a perfect body and a cannon for an arm. They already have one of those in Rob Johnson, and all they have to show for Johnson's much-ballyhooed physical gifts is a 1-7 record.'

Marker Bills will simplify offense to cut down on mistakes [5:35 AM]
D and C reports: 'Against New England last week, the team burned three timeouts because players misunderstood signal calls and lined up wrong. Sunday against Seattle, the Bills plan to use less motion and shifting because it means using fewer words to communicate. "You can fool your opponent as much as you want but sometimes you do it so much, you fool yourself," said wide receiver Eric Moulds, who complained after the Patriots game about burdensome terminology to get a play off. "I think that's what we've done a couple times."'

Marker Jones blocks out perfect grade [5:34 AM]
Seattle Post Intelligencer reports: '"I know that all the players have a lot of confidence in Alex," Bills guard Ruben Brown said in a telephone interview. "They all are very excited when Alex steps into the lineup. We know that he can win games for us."'

Marker Alexander latest to carry torch for Seahawks [5:33 AM]
Seattle Times reports: 'As many as 17 men have occupied the Seahawks quarterback position, but only a quartet of running backs have marked the past three decades. Sherman Smith started it all. He ran leadoff during the 1970s before giving way to Curt Warner, who carried the rushing load over the next decade. The '90s belonged primarily to Chris Warren, who then made the exchange to Ricky Watters four years ago. And now, the baton, or rather the football, appears as if it's changing hands again. This time, Shaun Alexander is on the receiving end and he's running better than anyone has before him in the short amount of time since he's arrived.'

Marker Hawks' Hutchinson doesn't mind initiation [5:32 AM]
Everett Herald reports: 'Robbie Tobeck is up on his pulpit. Metaphorically speaking, of course.
The Seattle Seahawks' center, team captain and, at 31, the old man of the offense, is going on about the young players not appreciating what it means to play in the NFL.'

Marker Watch out for Van Pelt, Buffalo's new top QB [5:29 AM]
Everett Herald reports: '"Don't underestimate this guy," said Seahawks defensive tackle Chad Eaton, who was a member of a New England defense that faced Van Pelt in 1997. "Our whole thing when we played Buffalo was, 'Don't hurt Rob Johnson.' That's how much respect we have for (Van Pelt)."'

November 14, 2001

Marker Bills hope 'The Pill's' their quarterback answer [8:56 PM]
AP reports: '"It feels good. This is obviously a position that I tried to put myself in," Van Pelt said. "I haven't had this kind of opportunity yet, and it's something I'm really, truly looking forward to. I'm expecting good things."'

Marker Seattle at Buffalo Preview [1:38 PM]
Yahoo Sports reports: Buffalo is still trying to give the fans at Ralph Wilson Stadium something to cheer about. The Bills are 0-4 at home for the first time since 1984, when they started 0-6. The Seahawks got back to the .500 mark last Sunday with an emotional 34-27 victory over the AFC West rival Oakland Raiders.

Seattle leads the all-time series, 5-3. This is the first meeting in Buffalo between the teams since 1995.

Marker Bills sign QB Dreisbach [12:46 PM]
AP reports: 'Dreisbach, a free agent, spent the past two seasons with the Oakland Raiders and is familiar with the Bills' West Coast offensive scheme. He has yet to appear in a game and missed all of last year with a shoulder injury.'

Marker Bills make changes to practice squad [12:45 PM] reports: 'The Bills today announced that the team has signed quarterback Scott Dreisbach (pronounced DRIZE-bock) to the team's practice squad and released practice squad cornerback Tim Carter. Dreisbach (6-3, 210) signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent in 1999 out of Michigan. He was on the Raiders 53-man roster for the entire 1999 season but failed to see any action and spent all of 2000 on Oakland's injured reserve list with a shoulder injury. The 25-year-old Dreisbach will wear jersey #3 with the Bills.'

Marker The Seahawks' opponent this week: Buffalo Bills [12:44 PM]
Tacoma News Tribune reports: 'Offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard plans to simplify the offense this week, something he probably would have done regardless of Johnson's injury. With little talent on the offensive line and problems at quarterback, Sheppard's offense has foundered. But the players have remained professional - in their approach to subterfuge. "Some of the plays today I don't even think were in our playbook," receiver Eric Moulds told the Buffalo News after the loss to New England. Not to be left out, defensive tackle Shawn Price sprinkled a few granules of dissension. "It's nice to see the defense growing," he said. "We didn't take a step back. I think some other parts of our team have made a step back."'

Marker Bills release DB Tim Carter, add QB Dreisbach to practice squad [12:28 PM] reports: QB Scott Dreisbach was signed to the PS. He spent the 1999 season with the Oakland Raiders but the 2000 season in injured reserve, will join the Bills practice squad this week to see if he can fill the role for the third QB on the team. Should the Bills need a third QB for Sunday's game, the Bills will activate him and have to take someone off their current roster. He (like former Bills QB Todd Collins) is a former QB from Michigan. NOTE: His uncle, Tom Ehlers, played in the NFL from 1975-81 with Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.

Marker Roswell Park Holiday Card Drawing Party [9:56 AM]
TBD reports: Last night the Bills held a Holiday Card drawing party for 50 children from Roswell Park in the Fieldhouse. Jack In Syracuse, TBD's resident blue coat, has provided pictures and information from the event. Players in attendance were DaShon Polk, Junior Robinson, and Brian Moorman, along with several of the Jills.

Marker 2002 Preseason schedule opponents selected [9:36 AM] reports: Commisioner had control for weeks 1-3 so blame him why Bills have no meaningful games at home.
WEEK 1 AUG 8 - AUG 12 - Cincinnati at Buffalo
WEEK 2 AUG 15 - AUG 19 - Minnesota at Buffalo
WEEK 3 AUG 22 - AUG 26 - Buffalo at Indianapolis
WEEK 4 AUG 29 - SEP 1 - Buffalo at Detroit

Marker Jim Kelly's second act [8:56 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Kelly feels injured quarterback Rob Johnson has the talent to be a good one, if he can stay healthy long enough. But Kelly believes Johnson won't be successful unless the Bills surround him with more talent. Kelly acknowledged that Johnson holds the ball too long, but understands why he does it. "When you're struggling and trying to make things happen as a quarterback, they are going to hold on to the ball a little bit," Kelly said. "You're going to take a pounding, you're going to take that hit because you're sacrificing your body to complete that pass hoping that it's going to be a big one. But there comes a time when you just have to go more to a quicker passing game."'

Marker How long do you stick with an inexperienced OC? [8:47 AM]
ESPN reports: Mortensen: Brady wasn't great against the Bills, and it will be interesting to see how he plays in the next couple of weeks while Bledsoe tries to get back in playing shape. Nevertheless, the Pats climbed above .500, and they can measure themselves against the best Sunday night when they play host to the Rams. The Bills lost Johnson again, this time with a broken clavicle. How long do you stick with him? The question might be, how long do you stick with an inexperienced OC (Mike Sheppard)? It can be a cruel league, but at some point there must be improvement, plus results. The Bills aren't getting them on offense.

Marker Seahawks seek end to roller coaster [8:05 AM]
Seattle Post Intelligencer reports: 'On any given Sunday, the Seahawks are capable of beating any team -- as was the case Sunday night against the Raiders, and in their earlier upsets of the Broncos and Dolphins. They also are capable of losing to any team -- as was the case against the Redskins two weeks ago. Or being completely embarrassed -- as was obvious in back-to-back 24-points losses to the Eagles and Raiders in September.'

Marker Alexander's secret is out after Sunday [8:04 AM]
Seattle Times reports: 'He is slowly becoming "The Face" of the Seahawks, a team without ready-made stars that needed to market the past glory of its Super Bowl winning coach. Shaun Alexander's franchise-record performance of 266 rushing yards Sunday will garner him his second AFC Player of the Week award today when the NFL makes the announcement.'

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09/13 Indianapolis Colts 1:00 pm
09/20 New England Patriots 1:00 pm
09/27 @ Miami Dolphins 4:25 pm
10/04 New York Giants 1:00 pm
10/11 @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 pm
10/18 Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm
10/25 @ Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 am
11/08 Miami Dolphins 1:00 pm
11/12 @ New York Jets 8:25 pm
11/23 @ New England Patriots 8:30 pm
11/29 @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 pm
12/6 Houston Texans 1:00 pm
12/13 @ Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 pm
12/20 @ Washington Redskins 1:00 pm
12/27 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 pm
01/03 New York Jets 1:00 pm

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