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Bye Week Brings Change At Runnning Back
Bye Week Blues: With the season just getting in to high gear it is tough to settle down for an early bye week. Bills fans have to watch the other teams in the division and root for losses. The Jets will be locked in a grudge match in Tampa Bay. If the Jets pull the "Keyshawn Bowl" out, they are for real and the Bills will fall a game and a half behind the leaders. The other 2-1 team in the division is Miami and they host New England. A victory by the Patriots would help the Bills out a lot, but don't count on it. The Bills next opponent Indianapolis plays Jacksonville on Monday night. A Colts loss will make them a desperate 1-2 team when they come to town next week. If you buy that logic, you may actually want to see them win so they won't be that desperate. The Bills, of course, should also be desperate to atone for their awful showing last week.
Thursday September 21, 2000
Linton Offers Flexibility: One thing that Jonathan Linton will bring to the table as the starting running back is the ability to do various things out of both the one back and two back offense. Regardless if Sammy Morris is in front of him or not. Defenses won't know if he will run, go out for a pass, or stay in to block. Linton is a solid receiver who seems comfortable running with or without the fullback. He is also excellent at picking up a blitzing linebacker or defensive back. These are all positive reasons for choosing Linton as the starter next week. The only real negative may be rust, he hasn't played all year.
Wednesday September 20, 2000
Linton To Start: In a move that surprised most people, Coach Phillips announced today that Jonathan Linton will start against the Colts. Linton missed the opener while recovering from a rib injury and played only on special teams the last two weeks. The move is surprising since Linton has yet to be in the backfield for a single play this year. He was the team's leading rusher last season. Most people, including us, thought that Shawn Bryson would get the start but in reality he has struggled almost as much as Antowain Smith. Linton will at least give the team a new look for this season.
Moore Out 4-6 Weeks: The latest word on the injury to Corey Moore is that he will now miss 4-6 weeks with his high ankle sprain. Originally the club hoped he would only be out 2 weeks.
Bye Week Practices: Today and tomorrow's practices will have a different feel than the normal practice routine during the season. The Bills don't begin intense preparation for the Colts until Monday. This week they will take some time to work on somethings that haven't been working so far during this short season. That doesn't mean they won't be doing some preliminary preparations for the Colts, it just means that they will concentrate on areas like the running game and special teams.
Running Game: Speaking of the running game, the passing of the torch may have already happened. It looks like the Bills have committed to going to Shawn Bryson as the featured back. Coach Phillips has said one of the problems with the running game is the inability to establish a feature back. Look for the team to use the bye week to try to establish Bryson as that back. The problem with this possible plan is, Bryson hasn't been much more effective than Antowain Smith. Smith has pleaded to be used in the single back set, maybe the coaches should try that first. If he is more comfortable in that formation maybe he will run better. They may also try to find ways to use Jonathan Linton some more.
Tuesday September 19, 2000
Cowart On Record Pace: After reviewing the films, Sam Cowart was credited with 23 tackles. Cowart, who was named the Bills Daily Player Of The Week is on pace to shatter the team record of 206 tackles set by Chris Spielman.
Bye Week Schedule: The players will have a few extra days off this week since the club is on the bye. They were off yesterday as well as today's regularly scheduled day off. They will practice Wednesday and Thursday before taking the rest of the weekend off. They will resume their regular practice schedule on Monday.
Riemersma Has Sprained MCL: The MRI on Jay Riemersma's left knee shows a sprained medial collateral ligament. This is normally a four week injury which means he will miss at least the next three games after the bye. His earliest return would be October 22nd at Minnesota. He may miss an extra week or two depending on how quickly he can recover from the injury. The news is slightly more optimistic than Coach Phillips sounded in his Monday press conference.
Monday September 18, 2000
Riemersma Out 4-6 Weeks: The Bills are still waiting for the results of the MRI on the injured knee of Jay Riemersma. Coach Phillips said in his afternoon press conference that Riemersma will miss 4-6 weeks. This is a major blow to the Bills offense, and it means Bobby Collins will have to step up his game.
Other Injury News: Headlining the rest of the injury news, Corey Moore will miss 2 weeks with a high ankle sprain. The rest of the injured Bills are all expected back after the bye including John Holecek who tweaked his surgically repaired knee yesterday. Injury Notes
Loss A Jolt Of Reality: The Bills may have thought they were better than they are as they won the battle on the line of scrimmage yesterday but self destructed at the wrong moments and lost the game. As Bob Gaughan on WGR said, "you can expect a kickoff return and a hail mary once every five years, and the Bills had both happen against them in one game". That was the difference in the game on the scoreboard. The Bills need to go back to work as they have two more tough division matchups waiting them after the bye. They need to win both of them if they want to remain in the thick of the early season AFC East race. These games also are more important in the wild card tiebreakers. How the Bills fair the two weeks after the bye will go a long way in telling us if they will be a playoff team or not.
Bye Week Hits At Right Time: The Bills cruised through the first two weeks without any significant injuries, who knew we would be praising the early bye week after week 3? Unfortunately they probably won't have Jay Riemersma or Corey Moore back after the bye, but it least it gives them an extra week to heal. We will no more later. The bye will help Rob Johnson lick all is wounds and it will give Sam Rogers, Doug Flutie and John Holecek a chance to get healthy.
No Backup Plan? The offensive game plan was obviously to get the ball to Riemersma to open up the passing game for Eric Moulds. When Riemersma went down after having perhaps his best drive ever, the Bills admittedly were a bit lost. The coaches have to pick up the team when injuries happen and help the team overcome them. To their credit they did get in the end zone on the drive but only had one big offensive play after that.
Grass Awful: It was nice when I went down the aisle at Giants Stadium to see natural grass instead of turf. Little did I know the grass would turn to mush inside of one quarter. Steve Christie ripped the grass for making him slip on his field goal attempt. Christie was the most upset we have ever seen him after the game. He ripped the grass and the coverage units.
Final Inactives: Saturday we gave you the first four inactives: Sam Rogers, Shawn Price, Joe Panos and Jon Carman. The three inactives added on Sunday were three draft picks: Leif Larsen, Avion Black and DaShon Polk. The Bills may consider activating these players for special teams after the bye week.Last Week's News Archives
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