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

OUTLOOK
"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

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