Monday, June 30, 2014

1964 Profile: Jerry Smith

Coach
"An expert at getting players in condition, Jerry Smith is unique as an assistant coach in that he's seen service on both sides of the line in the NFL (guard with the 49ers, defensive end with the Packers). The 34-year-old from Dayton, Ohio is a physical fitness buff who plays every sport for which there are rules and insists that conditioning is half the battle.
After leaving the active playing ranks, he set his sights on a brokerage career only to turn to coaching after getting experience at Fort Eustis, VA and Dayton U."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1964

1964 Profile: Lou Saban

Head Coach
"The coach, Lou Saban, begins his third season with the Bills with the hope of winning the team's first AFL Eastern Division title. Now 42, he began his AFL career as the original coach of the Boston Patriots.
Out of the University of Indiana, where he was a quarterback and fullback, he was a fierce linebacker for the NFL Cleveland Browns in their championship era. He had coaching experience at Northwestern, Western Illinois and Case Tech before coming to the AFL. With a resourceful, shrewd football mind, he's rated one of the best young brains in pro football."

-Dave Anderson, Pro Football Handbook 1964

"Some say he's much too quick at making conclusions on a player's ability, others claim his decisions are based on a thorough analysis of capabilities vs. club needs, training he had when appointed Buffalo's director of player personnel in '61.
Born in Brookfield, Illinois, he was a single-wing quarterback at Indiana and an all-league linebacker with the Cleveland Browns of the All-America Conference. In order, he's been the head pilot at Case, an assistant at the U. of Washington and was top man at Northwestern before going into the insurance business. Returning to the game, he bossed Western Illinois and then entered the AFL as Patriot head coach; released during the '61 season, he had the personnel position before replacing Buster Ramsey as coach for '62."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1964

Sunday, June 29, 2014

1964 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"During the off-season, Cookie Gilchrist was quoted as saying, 'I want to be traded.'
To this, Bills' coach Lou Saban replied, 'He doesn't want to be traded, he wants more money.'
Gilchrist wanted to be traded, he claimed, to a franchise in a warmer climate, say Oakland. Compared to Buffalo's icy blasts, if the AFL had a franchise in Siberia, it would be in a warmer climate. In lieu of warm weather, the Bills presumably warmed up Cookie's bank balance with a raise in salary he deserves. He deserves it. Assuming he's healthy, he's the best running back in the AFL. Assuming he's healthy, he'll regain his ground-gaining title this season. In the process, he might lead the Bills to their first AFL Eastern Division title.
But Gilchrist can't do it alone. Last season, although battling the Patriots into a playoff for the division crown, the Bills lacked offensive balance.
'We didn't have enough outside speed,' says Saban. 'When we got inside the other team's 20, we either had to throw or give it to Cookie. We didn't have the outside runner that could keep the defense honest.'
The Bills believed that Wray Carlton, who was pondering retirement, will make a comeback. Otherwise, they knew they'd have to go with newcomer Leroy Jackson. But Saban also realizes that he needs a better passing performance from quarterback Jack Kemp.
'In our six losses last season,' the coach points out, 'we didn't score more than two touchdowns in any of them. And in three games, we scored only one touchdown. We finished second in the league in total offense, rushing and passing, but somehow it didn't seem to do us much good when we needed it.
In Kemp and Daryle Lamonica, the Bills have one of the best one-two quarterback combinations in the AFL.
'And Kemp had a good year overall. Lamonica needs work but he's going to be a good one, too. But this season we've got to help our quarterbacks with a sound running attack.'
The defense has the get the ball more often, too, if the Bills are to make a move toward the title. Opposing passers riddled the Bills for 2,831 yards and 24 touchdowns last season. The defensive backfield could have been sharper, but so could the defensive pass rush. On the defensive line the most solid man is Tom Sestak whom Saban proclaims, 'is the best defensive tackle in the league, the best in pro football.'
But Sestak and the two other All-AFL Bills, offensive tackle Stew Barber and offensive guard Billy Shaw, can't do it alone. Neither can Cookie Gilchrist. No matter how much money they pay him."

-Dave Anderson, Pro Football Handbook 1964

"One of these twentieth-century years, the Buffalo Bills are going to live up to expectations. If one team in the AFL has stubbornly been tagged, 'the team to beat,' it is this conglomeration of talent on the shores of Lake Erie.
Unfortunately, patience isn't sufficiently virtuous to withstand the tarnish of time and for 1964, while investigating the flaws, it might be best to respect such people as Cookie Gilchrist, Jack Kemp, Tom Sestak and Billy Shaw.
There is a lack of running depth backfield despite Gilchrist and the return of Wray Carlton, a pair that gained 1,600 yards two years ago. There's a shallowness to go with fine starters on both lines, an inadequacy in the secondary defense and a questionable health status of last year's long list of injured.
Gilchrist and his comrades were supposed to win the Eastern title last year, it was written, but none could foresee the mass of breakdowns, including Gilchrist. Cookie, a 250-pound fullback who powers along like a souped-up Sherman tank, hurt a rib, an ankle and a toe. It took him a long time to regain his peak form. He finally finished third in rushing, but the Bills were only second in the standing, a playoff loss to Boston deciding the issue.
There are delightful reports from Buffalo insisting that not only is Gilchrist in top working order, but Wray also has thrown off injury and won't retire after all. With Wray around, Lou Saban, a coach with weight on his shoulders as he works out the last year of a contract, now can release Ed Rutkowski and Glenn Bass from duties as running backs to their accustomed posts as defensive halfback and flanker, respectively.
This alone won't boost the Bills past their Eastern rivals. Kemp and his soph sidekick, Daryle Lamonica, have the aim to keep the team second in league passing but they must improve on scoring. Statistics can lie sometimes; the innocent might ask how a team can rank second in total offense and still lose six games, failing to score more than two touchdowns in each. It's not easy, especially when there are competent receivers like Elbert Dubenion, perhaps the speediest flanker in pro ball, and Bill Miller, who led the AFL receptions until suffering injury late in the season. Like the running, the throwing promises to be great, only it must get into the end zone.
The offensive line, with Shaw an all-league guard, may have gotten a tiny lift with Dick Hudson returning after healing a broken ankle, allowing Ken Rice to be traded to Oakland for a sprinting halfback, Leroy Jackson.
Sestak, a 270-pound defensive tackle, ranks among the best in his profession. Jim Dunaway, the other tackle on defense, may have learned in his rookie year to beware of traps. Ageless Sid Youngelman and Roland McDole are ends and the Bills also are counting on able assistance from Harrison Rosdahl, a Penn State rookie.
A study reveals many 'ifs' but there in one certainty. Lack of size in the secondary made an aspirin eater out of Lou Saban while the opposition gloried in throwing 472 passes against his defensemen, gaining 2,831 yards and 24 TDs. Maybe Butch Byrd, a 6-2 rookie from Boston U., can help.
Summing up: OFFENSE - sufficient quarterback talent, but another receiver would be welcome. Can Carlton regain his '62 form or can someone else fill the great need for another running back? The line has better than average starters. DEFENSE - good rushing, but depth is needed. The secondary? Hmm!"

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1964

"The Bills, who got as far as losing the division playoff last autumn, could go all the way this fall - IF injuries do not again rob the club of key men, and IF certain personnel deficiencies are corrected.
Most serious of the 1963 casualties was Cookie Gilchrist, the controversial fullback whose rib, ankle and toe afflictions whittled his effectiveness to less than 50 percent in the first eight games of the season. Over the last six contests, he totaled more than 700 yards to carry the Bills to their final status as the league's second leading rushing club.
But a healthy Gilchrist alone will not assure the Bills a 1964 title. One of coach Lou Saban's most urgent personnel needs is a halfback with the speed to turn the corners and take the pressure off quarterbacks Jack Kemp and Dayrle Lamonica. Ed Rutkowski amassed 144 yards in 48 tries last fall, but lacked speed to the outside. The answer could come from any one of the several rookie draftees, including Bob Currington of North Carolina, Leroy Weaver of Adams State, Bob Smith of North Texas and Willie Ross of Nebraska.
Defense against passing is also high on Saban's critical list. Buffalo was vulnerable at the corners last year. Willie West, who played the left corner, was sent to the Denver Broncos in April in exchange for halfback John Sklopman. Booker Edgerson, the right corner man, faces a challenge from rookie Butch Byrd of Boston University. Safeties Ray Abruzzese and George Saimes should show continued improvement. Reserve Gene Sykes may surprise.
Penn State's Harrison Rosdahl was signed to bolster the pass rush. Jim Moss is another rookie defensive end and Sid Youngelman is the experienced veteran at this position. Mike Stratton may be the AFL's best right side linebacker and Herb Paterra, whose head hunting sometimes costs needless penalties, supports John Tracey on the left side. Harry Jacobs patrols the middle. Tackles are Tom Sestak and Jim Dunaway.
Buffalo pass receiving is in good hands with Elbert Dubenion, Glenn Bass, Bill Miller, Ernie Warlick and Charley Ferguson joined by rookie J.B. Simmons of Tulsa. All-league tackle Stew Barber and all-league guard Billy Shaw bulwark the offensive line."

-Bill Wise, 1964 Official Pro Football Almanac

Saturday, June 14, 2014

1963 Profile: Mike Stratton

Linebacker
No. 58
Tennessee
"Pro ball brings out the utmost in a player. Take Mike Stratton, who reported as a rookie offensive end in '62, as an example. Drafted as a 210-pounder, he weighed 237 in training camp and exhibited such excellent lateral movements that he was quickly made into a linebacker. Extremely fast, he sometimes outruns his own linemen into the enemy backfield. He must learn to play his position instead of the ball before qualifying among the league's super-stars.
Mike was born in Yonore, Tennessee."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Mack Yoho

Defensive End
No. 82
Miami (Ohio)
"If the knee operation he had after the '62 season is successful, look for Mack Yoho to play his standard smash-'em style at defensive end this season. The ripper from Rader, West Virginia has never been given proper credit for his speed and agility, possibly because he's not too heavy (230 pounds) for his rugged position.
He was an offensive-defensive standout in Canada. Mack is popular among his teammates and even those tackles who look him squarely in the eye once the action begins."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Carl Charon

Safety
No. 43
Michigan State
"Once Carl Charon increases his mobility by lightening his steps, he'll be extremely valuable as a safetyman. The shorty (5-10) from Boyne City, Michigan has such proper body balance that can adjust rapidly to meet the many fakes and moves of potential pass receivers.
He was a running back at Michigan State until he turned to defensive work as a senior. Carl intercepted seven passes in '62 and returned them 131 yards.
He can also do the job as a corner back."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Tom Sestak

Defensive Tackle
No. 70
McNeese State
"Bills' coaches are raving about Tom Sestak, the Gonzalez (Texas) gladiator who proved that a rookie could win a starting job at defensive tackle. His desire was so intense that he was the most coachable among first-year prospects at the '62 camp. Tom came along so quickly during the season that he gained honors on the All-AFL second team.
He was a low 17th in the draft and was scarcely considered a prime prospect."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Harold Olson

Offensive Tackle
No. 74
Clemson
"Harold Olson has improved in just about game he's played at offensive tackle. He didn't take his job seriously as a rookie in '60, not knowing whether he was interested in a pro career. He has now advanced to the stage where he's among the top five at his position. He increased his blocking ability by taking off weight and by gaining an additional step in making his initial charge.
Harold was born in Asheville, North Carolina."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Elbert Dubenion

Flanker
No. 44
Bluffton
"For speed from his flanking position, Elbert Dubenion stands alone. The Griffin (Georgia) antelope was tops on the team in hauling down aerials, snaring 33 for 571 yards, and made more enemies among the safetymen with some additional moves he's picked up through experience. He's the breakaway runner Buffalo requires if it decides to move him to halfback.
Dubbed 'Golden Wheels' for his style of running, he can also supply a substantial block when necessary."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Billy Shaw

Guard
No. 66
Georgia Tech
"His coaches claim that there's not a defensive tackle in the league who can stem the tremendous blocking drive of Bill Shaw, a guard who can spring forward with the snap of a sprinter. He's among the most versatile in the AFL and is strong enough to make it as a defensive end, a position he may be forced to take over this year.
Born in Natchez, Mississippi, Shaw earned an All-American reputation at Georgia Tech as a defensive performer."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Wray Carlton

Halfback
No. 30
Duke
"'Mr. Outside' of Buffalo is Wray Carlton, the Wallace (North Carolina) wheeler who entered the AFL as a Patriot and was dealt to the Bills before the '60 season started. He ripped off a 5.6 average in '62, best among the top 10 ball-carriers, gaining 530 yards in 94 rushes. He was the Bills' best runner in '60 and No. 2 in '61. He missed the last three games of the '62 campaign.
Wray can switch from halfback to fullback without losing effectiveness; he's also a dangerous threat as a pass receiver."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Jack Kemp

Quarterback
No. 15
Occidental
"Out for eight '62 games, Jackie Kemp finished brilliantly as a first-time Bill, clicking on 54 percent of his passes. His strength as a signal-caller is in his ability to 'check off' defenses, which means he's rapid at changing the play while calling the signals.
Kemp came from the Chargers after injuring a finger on his throwing hand. He was the AFL passing boss in '60 and No. 3 in '61, tossing the fastest ball in the circuit. Now 28, he had NFL trials with the Giants, Steelers and 49ers."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Cookie Gilchrist

Fullback
No. 34
"Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist, the bull from Breckinridge, Pennsylvania, who hid his many talents in the Canadian circuit, made his initial AFL season a record-breaker. He was king of all rushers with 1,096 yards for a 5.1 average; he was the No. 2 scorer with 128 points and second in touchdowns with 15.
Opponents dread tackling him and nobody is strong enough to bring him down head-on. His tremendous body balance makes him a bruising tackler.
He is a tremendous drawing card and the most publicized of any back in the league."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

"Count Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist of the Buffalo Bills among the AFL players who would be certain All-Pro candidates in the admittedly tougher NFL. The 243-pound fullback set a new league rushing record last season when he gained 1,096 yards in 214 attempts - a neat average of 5.1 yards per carry. He scored 15 touchdowns, booted eight field goals and was voted the most valuable player in the AFL by AP and UPI.
One year ago not one fan in a hundred in the United States had even heard of Cookie. A graduate of Breckinridge (Pennsylvania) High School, Gilchrist joined the Cleveland Browns at their training camp in 1954, passing up several college scholarships for a shot at the big money pro football offers. But Cleveland considered Cookie too inexperienced so the bull-shouldered youngster tried his luck in the Canadian football world. He played on five teams in the next seven years.
'I enjoyed Canadian ball,' Gilchrist recalls, 'but I had to fight all the time for the kind of money I felt I deserved. In 1956 I played 21 games, offense and defense, for $4,800.' Constant squabbles over money forced Cookie to return to the U.S. last year and catapulted him to stardom with the Bills.
Says Bills' coach Lou Saban: 'Gilchrist is in some respects a better all-around player than Jimmy Brown. For one thing, he's a superior blocker.' A superb linebacker in Canada, Cookie gets restless when he doesn't get the chance to play defense.
'The contact, that's what I love about football,' says the 28-year-old fullback. 'I would prefer to play both ways. I get a little bored sitting on the sidelines.'
Gilchrist once took on the entire opposition bench in Canada, emerging none the worse for wear.
'I like to run at tacklers,' says Cookie. 'Especially the first time. I'm bigger than most guys who play in the secondary. So I figure if I give them a harder jolt than they give me, they'll be worried the next time.' It's a system that seems to work for the outspoken and fun-loving fullback."

-1963 Official Pro Football Almanac

1963 Profile: Joe Collier

Defensive Backfield Coach
"Always keeping step with Lou Saban has been Joe Collier, the defensive backfield strategist who was an end at Northwestern. Drafted by the Giants, he decided to try coaching instead and has assisted Saban at Lou's coaching locations.
Joe was born in Rock Island, Illinois."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

1963 Profile: Lou Saban

Head Coach
"The former captain of the Browns, he was a combative linebacker for four years before starting his coaching career at Case in '50. He was an assistant at the U. of Washington and head pilot at Northwestern and Western Illinois.
Lou started his AFL life at Boston in '60 only to leave in mid-'61. He came to the Bills as director of player personnel and then replaced Buster Ramsey as coach for the '62 campaign.
Born in Brookfield, Illinois, he was a quarterback at Indiana. Lou speaks Chinese well, serving as a language interpreter during World War II."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963

Thursday, June 12, 2014

1963 Buffalo Bills Outlook

"Want to try a long shot? Stop right here and consider the Bills for size, a most dangerous club if quarterbacks Jackie Kemp and Warren Rabb can get their jobs done.
The lack of a suitable aerial attack undid Buffalo in '62, but don't expect the same problems this season. Kemp operated with an injured hand, coming nicely at season's close. Rabb was rusty from inactivity. Both are capable, particularly a sound Kemp.
These two have some proper tools to assemble, starting with fullback Cookie Gilchrist - there is none better at beating down the morale of defenders. Wayne Crow and Wray Carlton are respectable left halfbacks, and please remember that these three finished among the top 10 ball carriers last season. For receivers, there are Elbert Dubenion (And is there anyone finer?), split end Glenn Bass and the tight man Ernie Warlick.
Don't go away without pausing to consider the merits of an interior line which is superior on downfield blocking - tackles Harry Olson and Stew Barber; guards Billy Shaw, Tom Day and Ken Rice and center Al Bemiller, all young and tackle-tested. Superior things are expected of Dave Behrman, a prize rookie catch.
Defensively, Buffalo was spotty in defending its airlanes in '62 and the main reasons could be three rookies on the field at the same time. They learned the hard way and Booker Edgerson, Carl Charon and Ray Abruzzese have had a year to review their mistakes and attempt to correct them for this campaign. Willie West will be back to add additional stability.
As a guess, it's possible that three yearlings - George Saimes, Roger Kochman and Tom Woodeshick - will be given trials as corner backs and deep defenders.
Although there are nagging little deficiencies in the front wall, few defects are visible in the linebacking trio. The end spots are of some concern what with Mack Yoho's knee in doubt and the advancing years of Nate Borden. Leroy Moore may not be strong enough for heavy weekly service.
The tackles though can hold their own with anyone around. Sid Youngelman was a revelation in '62; Tom Sestak was the outstanding defensive rookie in the league. Now add yearling Jim Dunaway - if he doesn't go to end - and the line could be stronger by an additional third.
For steady, game-long consistency the linebacking corps of the veteran Marv Matuszak, Mike Stratton and John Tracy compares with the best. If additional support is required, Bemiller could be transferred from center.
The Bills came away from the draft sessions in healthy shape and the newcomers could very well hold the future of the club in their green hands. If they learn quickly, consider the Bills a prime pennant possibility.
Summing up: Offense - passing must improve; running strength is present, along with speed; receiving passes muster; line is young and tigerish, a good one. Defense - must plug both ends; halfbacks and safeties are questionable."

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963


"In Buffalo, they cannot believe a word of all those rumors about Carlton (Cookie) Gilchrist which sweep across the border from Canada. Cookie, who began life in Breckinridge, PA 28 years ago, spent almost a decade wandering through Canadian pro football ranks, and at the end of that era theToronto Argonauts were more than willing to dispense with him. The rumors mentioned that Cookie was apt to be a malingerer, that the team he played for would always take second place to his own interests.
Cookie denies all that and says that whatever troubles he had with Canadian employers were financially inspired. 'It was always a matter of money,' says Gilchrist. Joining the Bills in late summer a year ago, he became a model of deportment and a member of the team in every sense. The Bills may have anticipated trouble, but they treated him fairly and paid him well.
Gilchrist responded with one of the most awesome exhibitions of power running in pro football annals. A quick starter for a man of his immense proportions, Cookie propelled his 243 pounds at rival defenses for 14 games. At the end, he had gained 1,096 yards rushing, a new league record, and his 214 carries averaged out to a neat 5.1 yards per attempt. With a runner like Gilchrist around, an offense is a long way toward complete ball control, which can be a key factor in victory.
The Bills finally straightened away once coach Lou Saban, a man who loves change, made six switches on defense and got the quarterback [situation] to settle down. Buffalo won seven, tied one and lost only one of its last nine games, and some people said this was the league's best team in December. If the momentum can carry over, then the Bills will be true contenders.
The Houston-Boston-Buffalo race will certainly be a close one. However, the Bills still have enough problems to menace their chances.
Take quarterback. Jack Kemp is the incumbent. His supporters point out that the Chargers won two titles with Jack in command. His critics say he's an erratic passer and they tell you Sid Gillman, the San Diego coach, meant it when he put the injured Kemp on waivers last fall.
Buffalo snatched Jack, broken finger and all, for the $100 waiver fee. The team hopes this move has ended a parade of quarterbacks. Nine men have been tried at the position since 1960, the last being Warren Rabb.
Should Kemp have problems this season, with his finger or his arm, Rabb must take over. This scrambler, rejected by the National Football League, is not a great passer, and Buffalo's chances would be damaged as a result.
Otherwise, the offense seems more than adequate, thanks to all those good young linemen. A top-grade receiver, who can catch the bomb and break up the ball game, would be a bit of cream added to the attack. So would a breakaway halfback and a deadeye, 45-year-old field goal kicker. Gilchrist's feet are swift enough but his toe is not certain.
The Bills did well defensively last season. The team ranked second, behind champion Dallas, in the only defense statistic that counts- opponents points allowed. Still, trouble could arise here. It is certain that enemy passers will probe deeply into the pass defense, which is manned by a middling pair of outside linebackers and a kindergarten foursome of cornerbacks and safety men. Buffalo's trust lies in that youthful, speedy secondary."

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

OFFENSE
Receivers
"Nobody here made the league's top ten even though Ernie Warlick is among the best at his position. He's a Canadian refugee. Glen Bass has speed. He'll get better. Elbert Dubenion finally learned to run the pass routes. He'll do.
Hard to figure if Roger Kochman will fit into the pro game.
Rating: Fair"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Interior Linemen
"The best line material in the AFL. They're all young, too. Ken Rice, All-League in '61, missed '62 due to knee surgery. Possibly he'll move to guard and Tom Day to defense. If Dave Behrman, a touted No. 1 draft pick, can handle center then Al Bemiller becomes a linebacker.
Dick Hudson, an ex-Charger, is a good backup man.
Rating: Very Good"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Quarterbacks
"Jack Kemp's comeback was reassuring. Warren Rabb completed only 37 per cent in '62.
Rating: Fair"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Running Backs
"Cookie Gilchrist may force new concepts on defense. He was a superman last time. Wray Carlton is another power man.
Fred Brown, who played briefly in '61 and quit in '62, may be a breakaway threat. He can go. George Saimes came to play. He belongs somewhere. Art Baker and Wayne Crow help.
Rating: Very Good

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Kicker
"Gilchrist in '62: 8-for-20 on field goal attempts.
Rating: Poor"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

DEFENSE
Front Linemen
"If Jim Dunaway has the quickness to play end, he's likely to start there with the offense's Tom Day or Mack Yoho, who comes back from a knee operation. Jim Beaver and Jim Moss both have good credentials. Leroy Moore was a '62 regular. He may not make the squad this time.
Tom Sestak, an outstanding rookie find, was All-League. Sid Youngelman is a savage charger but kids like Jim Sorey challenge Uncle Sid.
Rating: Good"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Linebackers
"Archie Matsos is consistently one of the best in the middle. Marv Matuszak is well traveled. Mike Stratton came through as a rookie. No drop off with John Tracey in play.
Al Bemiller can help here.
Rating: Fair"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

Defensive Backs
"This is a kiddy corps that can go either way, to stardom or collapse. Booker Edgerson's speed covers for inexperience. Willie West was cut by the NFL Cardinals. In late '62, Abbruzzese became the third rookie in the secondary. That's testing fate.
Rating: Fair"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football

"Two question marks- quarterback and pass defense- make a run for the division title unlikely. Prediction: Third"

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football


"The plea in Buffalo has been, 'Just wait till we get a quarterback.' How else do you explain an operation that has been on the debit side in performance for three years? The Bills have been successful everywhere but on the field.
They are well supported, considering their mediocre record, by a rabid hard corps of fans who disregard the sleety weather that sometimes sweeps in off Lake Erie. Their owner, Ralph Wilson, is a free wheeler when it comes to signing kids. The Bills can match their stock of talented beef with any club in the league.
Field direction has licked them. Buster Ramsey, a builder of defenses, failed as a head coach. Incumbent Lou Saban left a hung jury in Boston and must prove himself in Buffalo. Getting into the real thick of it, the club has not had a dependable quarterback. That is, until this year.
A provident thumb dislocation delivered Jack Kemp. After leading San Diego to two Western titles, the freckle-faced quarterback was put on waivers and claimed by the Bills last season for $100. He didn't play until the last three games, but the sample was enough to convince the Bill bosses he'd lead them to the promised end zones. If not, understudy Warren Rabb displayed fine development last fall, too.
Bull-like specimens meet the eye everywhere else. Start with Cookie Gilchrist, expatriated from Canada to become the leading rusher (with an AFL record of 1,096 yards). Cookie's only gripe is that they won't let him play defense, too. For a running mate, the Bills draw on Wray Carlton, Wayne Crow and Art Baker, three muscular veterans.
The offensive line, as it reaches maturity, is potentially the best in the league. Billy Shaw, Stew Barber, Harold Olson, Ken Rice and Al Bemiller are tremendous youngsters, joined this year by 255-pound center Dave Behrman of Michigan State. The defensive wall gets big Jim Dunaway of Mississippi.
For the breakaway stuff, the Bills retain high hopes that Elbert Dubenion harnesses his speed with consistent effort. He led the club with 33 catches last year. Once in the open, he's gone. That threat is augmented now by Roger Kochman, a brilliant back from Penn State who is big enough to play in tight and quick enough for flank deployment. All they need is a passer to get the ball to them - like Kemp."

-1963 Official Pro Football Almanac


1963 BUFFALO BILLS PRESEASON DEPTH CHARTS
OFFENSE
Receivers
Glenn Bass (S) (Eastern Carolina)
Ernie Warlick (T) (North Carolina Central)
Tom Rychlec (T) (American International)
Monte Crockett (New Mexico Highlands)
Elbert Dubenion (F) (Bluffton)
Roger Kochman (F) Penn State
(S)-Split End  (T)-Tight End  (F)-Flanker

Interior Linemen
Stew Barber (T) (Penn State)
Harold Olson (T) (Clemson)
Ken Rice (T) (Auburn)
Tom Day (G) (North Carolina A & T)
Billy Shaw (G) (Georgia Tech)
Dick Hudson (G-T) (Memphis State)
Al Bemiller (C) (Syracuse)
Dave Behrman (C) (Michigan State)
(T)-Tackle  (G)-Guard  (C)-Center

Quarterbacks
Jack Kemp (Occidental)
Warren Rabb (LSU)

Running Backs
Cookie Gilchrist (F)
Art Baker (F) (Syracuse)
George Saimes (F) (Michigan State)
Wray Carlton (H) (Duke)
Wayne Crow (H) (California)
Fred Brown (H) (Georgia)
(F)-Fullback  (H)-Halfback

Kicker
Cookie Gilchrist

DEFENSE
Front Linemen
LeRoy Moore (E) (Ft. Valley State)
Mack Yoho (E) (Miami-Ohio)
Jim Beaver (E) (Florida)
Jim Moss (E) South Carolina
Jim Sorey (T) (Texas Southern)
Tom Sestak (T) (McNeese State)
Jim Dunaway (T) (Mississippi)
Sid Youngelman (T) (Alabama)
(E)-End  (T)-Tackle

Linebackers
Archie Matsos (M) (Michigan State)
Marv Matuszak (O) (Tulsa)
Mike Stratton (O) (Tennessee)
John Tracey (O) (Texas A & M)
(M)-Middle Linebacker  (O)-Outside Linebacker

Defensive Backs
Booker Edgerson (C) (Western Illinois)
Willie West (C) (Oregon)
Tom Minter (C) (Baylor)
Ray Abbruzzese (S) (Alabama)
Carl Charon (S) (Michigan State)
(C)-Cornerback  (S)-Safety

-Harold Rosenthal, All-Pro 1963 Football


OFFENSE
QB - Jack Kemp (Occidental), Warren Rabb (LSU)
HB - Wray Carlton (Duke), Wayne Crow (California)
FB - Cookie Gilchrist, Art Baker (Syracuse)
E - Glenn Bass (East Carolina), Thomas Munsey (Concord)*
T - Pete Nicklas (Baylor), Stew Barber (Penn State), Ken Rice (Auburn)
G - Billy Shaw (Georgia Tech), Chester Detko (Maryland)*
C - Al Bemiller (Syracuse),  Frank Jackunas (Detroit)
G - Tom Day (North Carolina A & T), George Flint (Arizona State)
T - Harold Olson (Clemson), Ron Skufca (Purdue)*
E - Ernie Warlick (North Carolina Central), Tom Rychlec (American International)
FL - Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton)

DEFENSE
DE - Mack Yoho (Miami-Ohio), Jim Moss (South Carolina)*
DT - Sid Youngelman (Alabama), Jim Dunaway (Mississippi)*
DT - Tom Sestak (McNeese State), Jim Sorey (Texas Southern)
DE - LeRoy Moore (Ft. Valley State), Jim Beaver (Florida)*
LB - John Tracey (Texas A & M), Bob Middleton (Ohio State)*
LB - Marv Matuszak (Tulsa)
LB - Mike Stratton (Tennessee), Tom Yakubowski (Purdue)*
CB - Booker Edgerson (Western Illinois), Lindy Infante (Florida)*, Hank Rivera (Oregon State)
S - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama), Jim Johnson (Missouri)*
S - Carl Charon (Michigan State), Jim Bednar (Eastern Michigan)*, Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame)*
CB - Willie West (Oregon), Tom Minter (Baylor)

-Don Schiffer, Pro Football 1963


OFFENSE
QB - Jack Kemp (Occidental) 15, Warren Rabb (LSU) 17, Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame)*
HB - Wray Carlton (Duke) 30, Wayne Crow (California) 22, Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame)*
FB - Cookie Gilchrist 34, Art Baker (Syracuse) 33
SE - Bill Miller (Miami) 81, Glenn Bass (East Carolina) 27
T - Stew Barber (Penn State) 77, Harold Olson (Clemson) 74
G - Billy Shaw (Georgia Tech) 66, George Flint (Arizona State) 73
C - Al Bemiller (Syracuse) 50, Dave Behrman (Michigan State)*,
G - Tom Day (North Carolina A & T) 64, Dick Hudson (Memphis State) 79
T - Ken Rice (Auburn) 75, Jerry DeLucca (Middle Tennessee State) 72
TE - Monte Crockett (New Mexico Highlands) 80, Ernie Warlick (North Carolina Central) 84
FL - Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton) 44, Roger Kochman (Penn State)*

DEFENSE
DE - Sid Youngelman (Alabama) 76, Jim Moss (South Carolina)*
DT - Jim Dunaway (Mississippi)*, Jim Beaver (Florida)*
DT - Tom Sestak (McNeese State) 70
DE - Mack Yoho (Miami-Ohio) 82, LeRoy Moore (Ft. Valley State) 87
LB - John Tracey (Texas A & M) 85, Herb Paterra (Michigan State)*
MLB - Harry Jacobs (Bradley) 54, Marv Matuszak (Tulsa) 55
LB - Mike Stratton (Tennessee) 58
CB - Willie West (Oregon) 47,  Hank Rivera (Oregon State) 20
S - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46
S - George Saimes (Michigan State)*, Carl Charon (Michigan State) 43
CB - Booker Edgerson (Western Illinois) 24, Tom Minter (Baylor) 25

SPECIALISTS
K - Mack Yoho (Miami-Ohio) 82
P - Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame)*
KR - Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame)*
PR - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46

* rookie