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  • TE puts Rams in tight spot

    By Bill Coats
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 21 2004

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Safety Rich Coady slumped against a wall just outside the
    locker room Sunday and tried to explain how the Rams yielded three touchdown
    passes to a tight end who had averaged one per year in five previous NFL
    seasons.

    "He made the plays and we didn't. I don't know what else to say," Coady said.
    "Me personally, I didn't play well enough for us to win. And I'm sure a lot of
    other guys feel like that."

    Buffalo's Mark Campbell wouldn't exactly call it a premonition, but he had a
    feeling he might be in for a busy afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

    "I told my wife, Michell, that I thought that there was a good chance I was
    going to have a good day," Campbell said. And so he did.

    His trio of scoring catches sparked the Bills to a 37-17 triumph. Campbell, a
    6-foot-6, 255-pound University of Michigan product, has a career-high five TD
    grabs this season, his second in Buffalo after being traded from Cleveland.

    Campbell scored on 10- , 19- and 5-yard tosses from veteran quarterback Drew
    Bledsoe, who had thrown for only nine TDs in nine games and was absorbing
    increasing flak.

    "I can't say enough about Drew," Campbell said. "For as much heat as he's been
    under, he made some great reads out there and made some perfectly thrown
    balls."

    On the first touchdown, safety Adam Archuleta had good position deep in the end
    zone, but Campbell outfought him for the score, which cut the Rams' lead to
    10-7 early in the second quarter.

    "It doesn't matter how good the coverage is; it's the end result. He scored,"
    Archuleta said.

    Coady was beaten clearly on Campbell's two other scores. One put the Bills up
    14-10; the other made it 24-17 just after halftime and ignited Buffalo's
    second-half burst.

    "Good throws or not, we've got to find a way to get the ball out and make a
    play," Coady said. "The game's usually decided by one or two big plays, and
    they made the big plays and we didn't at all."

    Wideout Eric Moulds is Buffalo's primary receiver; he had 52 catches for 662
    yards coming into the contest. But this was Campbell's time.

    "We thought they were going to throw to Moulds, which they did a little bit,"
    linebacker Trev Faulk said. "But we really weren't anticipating them throwing
    to the tight end as much as they did."

    Actually, it wasn't all that much. Campbell had four catches for 37 yards,
    boosting his season totals to 14 receptions for 172 yards. Moulds and running
    back Willis McGahee caught three passes each. The damage that Campbell did with
    his grabs just made it seem like he had more.

    "You don't hear a lot about Campbell; he's very quiet about his business and
    works hard," Bills coach Mike Mularkey said. "He takes his catches when he can
    get them and obviously enjoyed it (Sunday). Those were not easy, gimme catches.
    Those were very good throws and very good catches."

    While trying to explain his success, Campbell managed to compliment Rams
    defenders in the process.

    "We knew that they were really fundamentally sound," he said. "We knew that
    they were going to be exactly where they needed to be and there was going to be
    good spacing in between them. So we felt like we could find ourselves somewhere
    in those spaces."

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  • RamWraith
    Kicked when they're down
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    Sunday, Nov. 21 2004

    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - They got knocked down and couldn't get up. And by the time
    the Rams knew what hit them, a game that was there for the taking had
    disintegrated from a 17-14 lead into a 37-17 loss to Buffalo.

    "It happened so fast," wide receiver Torry Holt said.

    So fast and, pardon the expression, so furious. The Rams got kicked in the gut
    by Buffalo's kicking game in the third quarter. Over and over again.

    First came a 53-yard punt return by Jonathan Smith to the Rams 5. Tight end
    Mark Campbell caught a touchdown pass on the next play, giving Buffalo a 24-17
    lead just 1 minute 17 seconds into the second half.

    Then came an 86-yard punt return for a TD by Buffalo's Nate Clements after the
    Rams' next possession.

    And after the Clements score, Erik Flowers of the Rams couldn't field a pop fly
    kickoff by Buffalo's Rian Lindell and Buffalo's Jason Peters recovered at the
    Rams 31. A Lindell field goal followed and, just like that, the Bills led 34-17
    less than seven minutes into the second half.

    "The special teams stuff is revolting to say the least," Martz said. "And it's
    going to be hard to win another game until we get that cleared up."

    Cleared up? It's been a mess for several seasons, not several games.
    Call Sunday's game a case of Bobby's Revenge. Sent packing after three
    struggling seasons in St. Louis, special teams coach Bobby April put on a
    clinic in the second half with his new team, the Bills.

    When asked if April had devised anything differently with Buffalo than he used
    in St. Louis, Martz replied sarcastically: "I don't think so. Super sleuth? You
    mean that tricky Bobby? They just flat returned it. They've got good people."

    Shoddy special teams play may have been the main problem for the Rams -
    "pitiful" was the word Martz used to describe the unit's performance - but it
    was far from the only trouble spot.

    Once again, Rams defenders had trouble defending the tight end. Campbell, who
    hadn't caught a pass in Buffalo's three previous games, did something no other
    Bills tight end had done: He caught three TD passes in one game.

    One came at the expense of strong safety Adam Archuleta and two came against
    coverage by free safety Rich Coady. Sometimes the coverage was good against
    Campbell; sometimes it wasn't so good.

    "It wasn't a situation where they fooled us or we were in the wrong coverage,"
    Archuleta said. "It was nothing like that. Plain and simple, I was in position
    to make a play in a one-on-one battle and he ended up...
    -11-22-2004, 06:04 AM
  • RamWraith
    3-0, Jauron knows there's long way to go
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Thursday, Sep. 25 2008
    Few fans in Buffalo, much less an expert on the NFL, predicted a 3-0 start for
    the Bills. Yet the team sits atop the AFC East, preparing to meet the Rams on
    Sunday, and shares the honor of most surprising start with the undefeated
    Tennessee Titans.

    The 3-0 record is the best for the Bills since 1992, when they won their first
    four games, and the best in the head coaching career of Dick Jauron, who led
    the Bears for five years and is in his third season with Buffalo. Just don't
    expect Jauron to be turning backflips over the fast start.

    "The most critical thing in our business is to play consistent football
    throughout a 16-game schedule," Jauron said on a conference call Wednesday.
    "We've all seen teams start fast and fade. We've seen teams start slow and
    rally. If we had a choice, there's no place we'd rather be than where we are,
    but it's very early."

    YOUTH MOVEMENT

    Buffalo ranks ninth in the league in scoring, averaging 26.0 points, and is
    third in the AFC in total offense. The most prominent pieces on the Bills' unit
    are running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Trent Edwards, both drafted in
    2007 and both members of the Pro Football Writers' all-rookie team.

    Lynch, a first-round pick, rushed for 1,115 yards on 280 carries with seven
    touchdowns last year and has 218 yards on 60 carries with four touchdowns this
    year. Edwards was the 29th pick in the third round but started nine games last
    year. He has completed 63 of 94 passes with three TDs, one interception and a
    passer rating of 96.6 this year.

    "I guess I would say I'm not surprised, but we're certainly pleased," Jauron
    said of their progress. "Any time you take a player as high as we took
    Marshawn, you have great expectations for him. And when we got Trent in the
    third round, we really thought it was a steal at the time and we said so, but
    it's really worked out that way."

    ST. LOUIS MOVEMENT

    Former Rams coaches fill Jauron's staff on defense and special teams. Defensive
    coordinator Perry Fewell was the Rams' secondary coach in 2003 and '04. Among
    his assistants are former Rams defensive line coach Bill Kollar and linebackers
    coach Matt Sheldon. The unit ranks fifth in the NFL, allowing 247 yards a game.
    Special teams coach Bobby April served in the same capacity with the Rams from
    2001-03.

    LITTLE EMOTION

    Jauron solidified his even-keel reputation in the last two weeks. Buffalo
    trailed 16-10 in the fourth quarter in Jacksonville before rallying to a 20-16
    victory. The Bills scored 17 points on their final three drives Sunday,...
    -09-25-2008, 03:45 PM
  • Curly Horns
    McGahee ready to make his comeback complete
    by Curly Horns
    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) -- Ever since he was hurt, hardly a day has gone by without someone asking Willis McGahee about his left knee.

    The questions have kept coming no matter how many times McGahee has said he'll be fine and playing better than before.

    "How many times? I don't even keep track of that, anymore," the Buffalo Bills' running back said. "It's nothing new to me."

    Soon, McGahee hopes to put all the questions to rest by showing what he can do on the field. His long wait is nearly over, some 18 months after his college career at Miami ended abruptly when he blew out his knee in the Fiesta Bowl.

    He's passed the physicals, done every drill and made it through a month of minicamp practices this spring without a hitch.

    "I'm anxious for the first game," McGahee said. "I've got the jitters. I want to play."

    All that's left is for him to brace for that first hit, the one that only comes in competition against a fully-padded opponent. It's the kind of jolt that will test his knee's strength -- as much as it will his mind's resolve -- to determine whether he's ready to play football again.

    The Bills are off until they report for training camp in suburban Rochester on July 31; their preseason opener is Aug. 15 against Denver.

    As a sophomore in 2002, he was the nation's best running back and considered a top-three pick in the 2003 draft after he set Miami records by scoring 28 touchdowns and rushing for 1,753 yards. The national championship game, in which Miami lost to Ohio State, was supposed to be McGahee's send-off.

    It instead turned out to become his biggest test. In the second half, and with Miami beginning to rally, McGahee went down following a crushing hit.

    Two days later, he had surgery to repair three ligaments, including one that required major reconstruction. A day after that, his rehabilitation began with a few excruciating leg lifts that made him cry out in pain.

    By March, McGahee was jogging and in April, the Bills drafted him 23rd overall.

    He was the first running back selected but it didn't matter to him whether he was taken in the first or seventh round. All McGahee wanted was a chance. Now he's got a five-year deal that could potentially be worth $15.53 million if he meets all the incentives.

    "I'm better than I was last year, no complaints," McGahee said. "No lagging or nothing, full go."

    The Bills and rookie coach Mike Mularkey are hoping he can give them a one-two rushing punch with returning starter Travis Henry. It's an opportunity to revive what was an underused running attack last year, and take pressure off quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who struggled in a predictable passing game.

    Mularkey made his intentions evident on the first snap of his first minicamp practice in March when...
    -06-26-2004, 11:05 PM
  • Tampa_Ram
    Lindenwood receiver gets Rams’ attention
    by Tampa_Ram
    By JOE LYONS [email protected]

    Andrew Helmick’s tryout with the Rams lasted all of seven plays.

    “I took more time warming up than I did actually catching passes,’’ the 22-year-old wide receiver from Lindenwood University said this week. “I caught seven passes — five from the wide position and two from the slot — and then talked a little with (coach Jeff Fisher). But he didn’t say a whole lot.

    “At that point, I really didn’t know what to think. I tried to stay positive, but I also wondered, ‘Was I that bad that after just seven passes, he’d seen enough?’’’

    But after lunch, Helmick was called upstairs and signed as a college free agent.

    “It’s just amazing how things work out,’’ said Helmick, a 6-foot, 199-pounder from Winnetonka High in Kansas City. “I had a number of teams talk to me before and after the draft, but the Rams weren’t one of them. I went to rookie tryouts in Atlanta and in Cleveland and felt like I did pretty well. Both teams said they were interested, but Atlanta had a full roster and had to make some cuts to find room and Cleveland said that I really didn’t fit their style.

    “I was back at the dorms at Lindenwood, trying to decide whether I was going to try and find a team in Canada or maybe give indoor football a shot. But then I get a call from the Rams, go for the tryout and end up with a team that’s just across the river.’’

    Helmick enjoyed a record-setting career in St. Charles.

    He finished as the Lions’ career leader in receptions (153), receiving yards (2,828) and touchdowns (32) while posting 12 100-yard receiving games and four games with 200-plus receiving yards.

    Last season, he caught 66 passes for 1,363 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.

    “I’m a competitor, a guy who hates to lose — at anything,’’ said Helmick. “I may not be the biggest or fastest guy but if I have a shot at making a catch or making a play, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get the job done.’’

    Helmick said the tryouts with the Falcons and Browns opened his eyes and boosted his confidence.

    “As a D-II guy, I think there’s always going to be a little doubt at first,’’ he said. “But once I got on the field, I put that aside and just focused on making plays. I realized that I was as good, maybe better, than the (free-agent) guys from bigger schools and even the guys those teams had drafted. I proved to myself that I could play at this level and now I have to make sure that I can prove to the Rams’ coaches.’’

    Helmick, whose 40 time is in the 4.3-4.4 range, hopes to make an early impact on special teams and move forward from there.

    At this point, he said the biggest adjustment is learning the playbook.

    “When we’re doing one-on-ones, I’m fine because I know what I need to do to make the play,’’ he said. “But at this level, it’s as...
    -05-25-2013, 08:46 AM
  • DJRamFan
    [Bills] The Bills' future is now and starts with Losman
    by DJRamFan
    Sal Maiorana
    Democrat and Chronicle columnist
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    (November 16, 2004) — FOXBORO, Mass. — I know I've seen enough. I'm pretty sure every clear-thinking Bills fan has seen enough. I wish Mike Mularkey would admit that he has seen enough.

    The Drew Bledsoe Era in Buffalo should be over. After about two years' worth of mostly sub-standard and sometimes hard to watch performances, it needs to be over.

    Unfortunately, the coach said Monday that it's not over. At least not yet.

    Mularkey said Bledsoe will be the starter Sunday when the Bills host St. Louis, his reason being that he's not ready to give up on the season with seven games remaining.

    With a 3-6 record it's going to be over very soon whether he sticks with Bledsoe or turns to J.P. Losman. So if Losman was healthy enough to make that cameo appearance in New England, it makes all the sense in the world to start him for the rest of the year and begin his developmental process now.

    Tom Coughlin's Giants are 5-4 and very much alive in the NFC playoff picture. But Coughlin has grown tired of the bumbling Kurt Warner so he announced Monday he's turning the reins over to rookie Eli Manning. I don't hear too many Giants fans grumbling.

    Sunday night at Gillette Stadium Bledsoe dipped to an almost unfathomable level of incompetence and an ESPN national television audience had the misfortune of sharing in the misery of Joe Average Bills fan.

    It should have been the proverbial last straw. Rarely has Bledsoe ever looked worse and his cartoonish 14.3 passer rating, the lowest of his career, only tells part of the story.

    The computer-nerd quarterback rating formula hinges largely on touchdown passes and interceptions and at times does not fairly portray how a quarterback played in a game.

    Make no mistake: This time it painted a picture Picasso would have been proud of, accurately capturing the essence of Bledsoe's ineptitude.

    He had no touchdowns and three interceptions while completing just 8 of 19 passes for 76 yards. Just as troublesome as the balls he threw to the Patriots were some of the balls he threw to his teammates: Too high, too low, too far in front, too far behind.

    "There were some errant throws," Mularkey offered, almost in a whisper, during his post-game news conference.

    Added wide receiver Eric Moulds: "I think he was pressing a lot. Anytime you have a ball skip or things like that happen, a quarterback is pressing trying to make a play. He's had some bad games here, so it could be one of those things where he wants to beat this team really bad and go out there and play well, and he's rushing his throws and not relaxing."

    Bledsoe looked lost. He looked completely...
    -11-16-2004, 08:53 AM
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