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Buffalo Bills News - October 20, 2000

Marker List long to return kickoffs [9:10 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'The Buffalo Bills are seeking their first victory in Minnesota. They are 0-2 here.'

Marker Vikes mammoth QB Culpepper has it all [6:51 AM]
D and C reports: 'At 255 pounds, the 11th player chosen in the 1999 draft is bigger than all four of Buffalo's linebackers, and he's only 12 pounds lighter than Wiley and 18 pounds less than the other defensive end, Phil Hansen. "He's huge, and everyone says you don't know how big he is until you get out there," said Wiley. "What's incredible is that he's that fast at that weight. When I weighed 255 I wasn't that fast. "If I get to him, I'll just hold on and hopefully some other guys will come help me out."'

Marker Vikings rely more on Smith and the running game [6:50 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'Featuring the dual threat of tailback Robert Smith and quarterback Daunte Culpepper, the Vikings are averaging 158.2 yards rushing per game.'

Marker Team used to coming from behind [6:48 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'While it is difficult to find fault with a 6-0 start, the Vikings have identified one aspect they hope to improve Sunday against Buffalo. They have fallen behind during the first half in three games, including last week at Soldier Field. With games looming against such offensive powerhouses as St. Louis and Indianapolis, the Vikings say they need to begin games stronger.'

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October 19, 2000

Marker Flutie faces a stacked deck [8:45 PM]
ESPNet reports: 'Or, at the very least, do you act like a man and say, "I'm sorry, Doug. I gave Rob a lot of money and in order to save face, I gotta keep using him. I know you're the better man. Forgive me for treating you so poorly."'

Marker Bills' Wiley doesn't feel the pressure of replacing Smith [8:10 PM]
AP reports: '"That's not a pressure I feel," Wiley said. "The only pressure I feel is just to do better than I've done last year and do better than the year before. Until I pass my own gauge, I could never try to be someone else, especially the greatest of all time."'

Marker Bills Face A Long Day In The Dome [5:40 PM]
Buffalo Post reports: 'The biggest challenge facing the Buffalo Bills on Sunday isn't trying to upend Minnesota -- one of the league's two unbeaten teams -- or even getting their first road win of the season (in what's sure to be a very noisy Metrodome, no less)...'

Marker Ostroski: Go whine to someone else [1:25 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Doesn't a team that touted itself as Super Bowl contenders two months ago have high enough personal expectations to expect to be booed when it plays like the Bengals? Mr. Ostroski, your line couldn't execute a successful block on "Hollywood Squares" right now, and you have the audacity to berate the fans for daring to express with pursed lips the painfully obvious opinion that you guys might set a league record for number of quarterbacks killed in one season? Doug Flutie might be a magician on his feet, but he'll need a Star Trek transporter to disappear from the onslaught of pass rushers if he's to survive until Johnson's shoulder is healthy again.'

Marker Up for grabs [9:03 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'If the Bills thought the Chargers' wideouts were tough, wait until they get a load of what the Minnesota Vikings have in store for them on Sunday. All-Pro wide receivers Randy Moss and Cris Carter might be the most difficult challenge of the season for the Bills' defense. "They're explosive. They can make big plays at any time," Bills coach Wade Phillips said. "I think trying to take away the big play certainly is the key to slowing them down some."'

Marker Flutie brings new-found enthusiasm to starting job [9:01 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'According to teammates, Flutie was very vocal in practice Wednesday. For the first time in a long while, he was enjoying the game.'

Marker White knight rides to save Bills ... again [7:24 AM]
National Post reports: 'The Bills might be best served in a two-quarterback system, because defensive co-ordinators couldn't possibly prepare for the drop-back Johnson and the scrambling Flutie. That's a question for later, though. Currently, his teammates are looking for a little abracadabra. "I just play football," Flutie said. "I have to play this game a certain way, because of my size. I do what I do. If that motivates people, great."'

Marker Flutie stays out of debate [7:17 AM]
Toronto Globe & Mail reports: '"Doug's the consummate pro," [Bills coach Wade] Phillips said. "He's ready to play at any time. That's the great thing about Doug. You can't count on him to be ready, and I think he'll be ready [on Sunday]." Flutie said that being thrust into overtime last week was nerve-racking until the moment the ball was snapped. "I feel fine stepping in," he said. "I had some doubts on the sideline, but it's like riding a bike. You step in there, get your reads and go."'

Marker Sammy leads the way [5:28 AM]
D and C reports: 'Six games into the season, rookie Sammy Morris is the undisputed chair of the Buffalo Bills running back committee. His 5.5 yards-per-carry average is nearly double that of his closest peer, and he's the team's designated fullback no less. Still, coach Wade Phillips has no plans to disband the use of three running backs per game and make this Sammy's Show. Not yet anyway.'

Marker Vikings getting by with limited takeaways [5:27 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'Fact is, everyone from defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas on down is preaching the need for more turnovers, either by land (fumbles) or by air (interceptions). So far, the Vikings have forced seven. Frankly, more need to come.'

Marker Five questions: Orlando Thomas [5:26 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: '[Q:] How often do referees get pass interference calls wrong? [A:] With us, all the time. Against Chicago [last Sunday night] we should've had five called our way. We never get calls; we go into every game thinking that if there are 10 calls we should get, we might get three of them.'

Marker Vikings notes [5:24 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: '[Former Bills linebacker Gabe] Northern compiled 10 1/2 sacks with the Bills, playing mostly at outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He has gained 20 pounds and is now a 260-pound defensive end, although the Vikings have used him at linebacker during practice.'

Marker Smith shows his versatility [5:22 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'The Vikings average 6.6 yards a first-down play, trailing only the St. Louis Rams (8.3 yards), and Smith is one of the primary reasons. He's moving piles to gain a few extra yards, and he's showcasing his inside running skills. Nearly 37 percent of his rushing attempts have gone up the middle, and only seven carries have lost yardage.'

Marker Northern lights up at chance [5:19 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Gabe Northern is to ready to show the Buffalo Bills what they're missing. "It's like when you break up with your girlfriend," [explained] Northern, who spent 1996-99 with the Bills. "You want to get a better girlfriend to show her she should have stayed with you."'

Marker Kleinsasser's statistics don't reflect his impact [5:17 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'To best assess Jim Kleinsasser's contribution to the Vikings this season, gloss right past his statistics. Go straight for Robert Smith's numbers. While Kleinsasser has touched the ball few times this season, the 6-foot-3, 280-pound fullback is clearing the way for Smith, who has three 100-yard rushing games and is fifth in the NFL in rushing yardage. "Fullbacks in the (NFL) just don't carry the ball much, they block and Jimmy is doing a very good job of what he's supposed to be doing," coach Dennis Green said. "I love what he's doing for us."'

October 18, 2000

Marker Even if Flutie comes through, Bills face end of an era [9:04 PM]
SportsWritersDirect reports: 'The Bills have done as good a job as any team in dealing with the salary cap, but even they may be finally paying the piper for all the good times of the last decade.'

Marker Flutie says he's only filling in until Johnson returns [8:54 PM]
AP reports: 'Although there had been times since when he publicly questioned his demotion, Flutie made every effort to defuse any hint of a quarterback controversy on Wednesday. "I'm the backup and that's the way it is," he said when asked if he might remain the starter.'

Marker Christie puts problems behind him [8:34 PM]
AP reports: 'Christie, who has two children, was going through marital difficulties last year. "I think last year pretty much culminated into a situation where I was pretty miserable," he said. "It was hard to get my mind right for games. But I think at this point it's a lot better."'

Marker Spriggs looks like a keeper at right tackle [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Coach Wade Phillips said Spriggs will remain a starter at right tackle when the Bills travel to Minnesota Sunday to take on the unbeaten Vikings. "I thought Marcus came in and did a good job for us," Phillips said this week. "He's not perfect yet certainly, and we all got to get better. But he came in and did some good things for us, and I expect him to get better and better as he plays more."'

Marker Homeless get high-powered advocates [9:11 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Homeless people got a boost from Buffalo Bills tight end Jay Riemersma and Mayor Anthony M. Masiello on Tuesday morning at the launch of the Buffalo City Mission's second fall fund-raising campaign. Masiello proclaimed this week Buffalo City Mission Week, as the campaign sets a $1.2 million goal, a $200,000 increase over last year. Riemersma has agreed to be spokesman for the campaign, fueled by the motto "Restore hope, dignity and lives."'

Marker McDaniel stronger on weak side [9:10 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: '[Ed McDaniel's] back home, where his heart's always been. Namely at weak-side linebacker -- where he began his career -- after two seasons playing in the middle. Perhaps it's no coincidence that everything else has fallen into place, too. Call it a harmonic convergence. "This is fun, all the way around," McDaniel said.'

Marker Vikings notes [9:08 AM]
Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: 'It has been three seasons and two teams since Vikings guard Corbin Lacina played in Buffalo. But he still knows enough of Bills to be looking forward to Sunday's game. Lacina played in Buffalo from 1994 to '97 before going to Carolina for a season then coming to the Vikings. "It will make it a little more fun out there," Lacina said. "There are a lot of guys I know, guys I practiced against. Look at [defensive end] Phil Hanson and [nose tackle] Ted Washington. And linebacker John Holecek. Those guys are still there, and those are the guys we'll be going against. There will be some trash talking."'

Marker Vikings mix wins, winces [9:07 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'With an average margin of victory of only about seven points, every game has been in question well into the fourth quarter.'

Marker Burrough aids line's versatility [9:06 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'The Vikings don't feel they would have effectively been able to move John Randle from defensive tackle to end without the flexibility of John Burrough. And now that nickel-package defensive end Bryce Paup will be out for six weeks with a fracture in his right knee, Burrough's versatility also may save the Vikings a headache. "There's no question, John is versatile, and it has helped us," Vikings defensive line coach Fred vonAppen said. "We feel he can play anywhere on the line and play effectively."'

Marker A painful first [9:05 AM]
St. Paul Pioneer Press reports: 'Defensive end Bryce Paup will be out for six weeks with a fracture in his right knee.'

October 17, 2000

Marker Phillips goes on defense over offense [8:36 PM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Phillips still stubbornly maintains that while Johnson was hit and sacked too much "it wasn't all the offensive line, certainly." He then pointed out that a "young guy" (probably running back Jonathan Linton) had missed a protection on the game's first sack. But what about all the other hits on Buffalo QBs? It defies logic that the offensive line can't be held accountable, especially since the Bills have rushed for more than 100 yards in only two of six games this season.'

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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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