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 to 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 standings, 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 an 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 is 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 Daryle 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


"The Reluctant Dragons of the AFL appear headed for another season of uncertainty. The quarterback problem- something they thought was solved last year- and Cookie Gilchrist's unpredictable pursuit of happiness may be handicaps too thorny to overcome.
The Bills have good material. There are keen football people who tell you that some of the best young linemen in either league- on offense or defense- play for Buffalo. The Bills' receiver squad is the best they've had and they've signed some promising defensive backs. But there's still insufficient leadership. The Bills just don't win the big ones. Houston has beaten them five straight times. Boston has won five of the last seven with one game ending in a tie.
It was thought that Jack Kemp would be the quarterback to lead the young squad to its first Eastern title. But despite rolling up some impressive individual statistics, Kemp faltered in the 'must' games and was replaced by rookie Daryle Lamonica late in the season. That sets up the biggest decision facing Lou Saban in his third year as Buffalo coach: should he give the job to Lamonica and look to the future or should he go with the veteran Kemp in a try for the title?
Lamonica played in only four games last year, but he was a standout. His size (6-2 and 216) and abundance of poise and intelligence make him a great prospect. In his first game as a pro, he replaced the injured Kemp in Denver with the Bills trailing at halftime. He fired two second-half touchdown passes to win it.
The Gilchrist problem seems to be solved. Cookie got in in a hassle over a traffic violation in May of 1962 and was indicted for assaulting a police officer. Later he became involved in a salary dispute with management and asked to be traded in an open letter to the papers.
Owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. offered Gilchrist a contract of about $30,000, which solved the salary question, and the big fullback was cleared of all charges resulting from the traffic violation. Cookie claims to be happy and he is in his best physical condition in some time.
Two rookies are scheduled to be the defensive ends. This, plus a less-than-robust group of linebackers, could produce some costly errors. The rookie prospects are Hatch Rosdahl of Penn State and Jim Moss of South Carolina. Moss was impressive in training camp in '63 but broke his ankle in an August scrimmage and never got into a regular-season game.
At least one rookie will win a job in the secondary. Boston U's Butch Byrd is a favorite candidate for corner back. Saban wants a bigger, faster free safety then George Saimes, so Ed Rutkowski may come over from the offense.
Saban is definitely on the spot. His conservative tactics made a lot of enemies in the stands. His '62 club lost its first five games and last season Buffalo lost its first four. The Bills averaged more than 31,000 fans per game last year. If there is an early drop-off in the stands as well as on the field, Saban could find himself unemployed by the time Halloween rolls around."

-All-Pro 1964 Football

OFFENSE
Receivers
"Bill Miller hasn't much speed or size, but he has great hands. He and Elbert Dubenion caught a total of 124 passes. Duby has matured into a confident pro. Ernie Warlick blocks as well as any tight end, though he has plenty of mileage on him.
Charley Ferguson is up and down. John Simmons and Cloyd Webb are showcase rookies.
Rating: Good"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Interior Linemen
"This is the Bills' strong point. Billy Shaw is the league's best guard and Stew Barber is an all-star tackle. Dick Hudson was hurt early in 1963 but was pronounced ready for action. Tom Day was in and out at guard, losing his job to George Flint late in the year. Al Bemiller is a dependable center and Walt Cudzik gives depth at the position.
Dave Behrman was the team disappointment, but everyone wants to trade for him. Tom Keating and Joe O'Donnell were both college stars. Somebody will switch to defense.
Rating: Very Good"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Quarterbacks
"Jack Kemp lost his job to Daryle Lamonica near the season's end. He'll need a fast start to regain it. Mailon Kent was a sub at Auburn.
Rating: Fair"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Running Backs
"Wray Carlton's retirement and the career-ending knee injury to Roger Kochman make this a depressed area. Beyond the overworked Cookie Gilchrist there's little experience.
Leroy Jackson has yet to settle down with one team. Ed Rutkowski filled in at running back, but he should play defense. Willie Ross was a stickout at Nebraska.
Rating: Fair"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Kicker
"Pete Gogolak replaces Mack Yoho.
No Rating"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

DEFENSE
Front Linemen
"Tom Sestak and Jim Dunaway are probably the best pair of tackles in the AFL. They are a passer's nightmare. It wouldn't surprise if rookies Harrison Rosdahl and Jim Moss are the starting ends. Moss was the best-looking youngster in camp last year until a broken ankle stopped him.
Rating: Good"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Linebackers
"Mike Stratton is the only really outstanding plugger. Harry Jacobs is strong on the blitz but weak on covering receivers. John Tracey wore down as the season wore on. He could lose his job to the aggressive young Herb Paterra. Earl Lattimer may help.
Rating: Fair"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

Defensive Backs
"The big need is for good corner backs. Booker Edgerson had a bad season after a good rookie bow- a knee operation might improve him. Hagood Clarke, rugged and fast, will get a thorough inspection. Butch Byrd leads the rookie candidates.
George Saimes is small and made rookie mistakes but should improve. Ray Abbruzzese had a good year at strong safety.
Rating: Poor"

-All-Pro 1964 Football

OUTLOOK
"The 'sleeping giant' of the AFL seldom wins the big ones. No leadership, no championship.
Prediction: Third"

-All-Pro 1964 Football


LOU'S LOOKING FOR A SURPRISE
"Lots of people were picking Buffalo to win in 1963. The Bills didn't, finishing second after losing a playoff battle to Boston, but the regular season record of 7-6-1 wasn't too bad, considering they lost three and tied one of their first four games.
One problem was Jack Kemp. The Bills quarterback is a fine passer, and he had receivers like Elbert Dubenion to go catch them. But it was all too much of a good thing. With Kemp and coach Lou Saban relying on passing, an aerial game would take the Bills to their opponents' 20-yard line. But it's awfully hard to score from inside the 20 when the other team knows you're going to pass.
Another problem was a shortage of runners. Injuries finished the careers of three fine Bills runners- Wray Carlton, Roger Kochman and Fred Brown. The Bills' big runner, Cookie Gilchrist, was aching most of the season with assorted injuries (but when he got healthy he slammed out 700 yards in the final six games to lead the Bills in their late-season comeback).
The Bills finished second in the league in running, but as Saban says, 'We didn't have enough outside speed. We didn't have the outside runner that could keep the defense loose and honest.'
Saban is looking for the outside speed among several rookies: Bob Smith, North Texas State, who can go the hundred in 9.6; Willie Ross, Nebraska speed merchant; Butch Byrd, Boston University; Oliver Dobbins, Morgan State; and Bob Currington, North Carolina.
OFFENSE: At quarterback are Kemp and Daryle Lamonica, with experience and youth respectively. Gilchrist, hopefully healthy, may be at fullback, but he's openly unhappy about playing in Buffalo ('too cold') and wants to be traded. The running back spot will be filled by one of the rookies or John Sklopan, obtained from Denver in exchange for defensive halfback Willie West. At flanker will be Dubenion. Kicking field goals will be Pete Gogolak from Hungary, who kicks at an angle.
The Bills have a fine split end in Bill Miller. Newcomer J.B. Simmons from Tulsa was the nation's fourth-leading receiver though out half the year with a broken arm. Ernie Warlick is the tight end, with Stew Barber, Billy Shaw and Al Bemiller the nucleus of an acceptable interior line.
DEFENSE: Jim Dunaway and Tom Sestak are the best pair of defensive tackles in the league, but the outside men on the front four- Mack Yoho and Sid Youngelman- were slowing up (Yoho was traded to Boston). Corner back Booker Edgerson was beaten deep and short last season.
OUTLOOK: Lots of problems, but surprise performances from some of the rookie halfbacks could supply the speed to push Buffalo into contention."

-Pro Football Stars (1964 Edition) edited by John Devaney


"LAST YEAR'S STRENGTH: The Bills were second in both rushing and passing thanks to a late-season surge by Cookie Gilchrist and Jack Kemp's consistent efforts. Bill Miller and Elbert Dubenion headed a fine corps of receivers. The offensive line and defensive interior were solid.
LAST YEAR'S WEAKNESS: Injuries took a frightful toll on manpower and Gilchrist, who finished as the No. 3 ground gainer in the AFL, was at about 40 per cent efficiency through the first eight games. There was no outside runner to vary the limited pass-or-give-it-to-Gilchrist attack. The pass defense was poor, particularly vulnerable at the corners.
1964 FORECAST: Running backs Wray Carlton, Fred Brown and Roger Kochman suffered season and career-ending hurts early last year, while a training mishap led to Wayne Crow's release. The badly needed running back with outside speed, yet enough size for pass blocking, will have to come from among rookie draftees Willie Ross, Bob Smith, Butch Byrd and free agents Oliver Dobbins and Bob Currington. Byrd might be put to use on deep defense where other youngsters, the Bills hope, have gained added experience. Rookie Harrison Rosdahl is expected to step right in at defensive end, bolster its aging incumbents and breathe fire into the pass rush."

-Bob Hoobing, Pro Football Illustrated 1964


1964 BUFFALO BILLS PRESEASON DEPTH CHARTS
OFFENSE
Receivers
Bill Miller (S) (Miami)
Charley Ferguson (S) (Tennessee State)
John Simmons (S) (Tulsa)
Cloyd Webb (S) (Iowa)
Ernie Warlick (T) (North Carolina Central)
Elbert Dubenion (F) (Bluffton)
Glenn Bass (F) (Eastern Carolina)
(S)-Split End  (T)-Tight End  (F)-Flanker

Interior Linemen
Stew Barber (T) (Penn State)
Dick Hudson (T) (Memphis State)
Dave Behrman (T-C) (Michigan State)
Tom Keating (T) (Michigan)
Billy Shaw (G) (Georgia Tech)
Tom Day (G) (North Carolina A & T)
George Flint (G) (Arizona State)
Joe O'Donnell (G) (Michigan)
Al Bemiller (C) (Syracuse)
Walt Cudzik (C) (Purdue)
(T)-Tackle  (G)-Guard  (C)-Center

Quarterbacks
Jack Kemp (Occidental)
Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame)
Mailon Kent (Auburn)

Running Backs
Cookie Gilchrist (F)
Jesse Murdock (F) (Cal Western)
Leroy Jackson (H) (Western Illinois)
Ed Rutkowski (H) (Notre Dame)
Bob Smith (H) (North Texas)
Willie Ross (H) (Nebraska)
John Sklopan (H) (Southern Mississippi)
(F)-Fullback  (H)-Halfback

Kicker
Pete Gogolak (Cornell)

DEFENSE
Front Linemen
Sid Youngelman (E-T) (Alabama)
Harrison Rosdahl (E) (Penn State)
Jim Moss (E) South Carolina
Jim Dunaway (T) (Mississippi)
Tom Sestak (T) (McNeese State)
Ron McDole (T-E) (Nebraska)
(E)-End  (T)-Tackle

Linebackers
Harry Jacobs (M) (Bradley)
Mike Stratton (O) (Tennessee)
John Tracey (O) (Texas A & M)
Herb Paterra (O) (Michigan State)
Earl Lattimer (O) (Michigan State)
(M)-Middle Linebacker  (O)-Outside Linebacker

Defensive Backs
Booker Edgerson (C) (Western Illinois)
Butch Byrd (C) (Boston University)
Hagood Clarke (C) (Florida)
George Saimes (S) (Michigan State)
Ray Abbruzzese (S) (Alabama)
Carl Charon (S) (Michigan State)
Gene Sykes (S) (LSU)
(C)-Cornerback  (S)-Safety

-All-Pro 1964 Football

OFFENSE
QB - Jack Kemp (Occidental) 15, Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame) 12, Mailon Kent (Auburn)*
HB - Wray Carlton (Duke) 30, Bobby Smith (North Texas State)*, Leroy Jackson (Western Illinois) 28, Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame) 40
FB - Cookie Gilchrist 34, Bob Currington (North Carolina)*
SE - Bill Miller (Miami) 81, Glenn Bass (East Carolina) 85, John Simmons (Tulsa)*
T - Stew Barber (Penn State) 77, Tom Keating (Michigan)*
G - Billy Shaw (Georgia Tech) 66
C - Al Bemiller (Syracuse) 50, Dave Behrman (Michigan State) 60, Walt Cudzik (Purdue) 53
G - George Flint (Arizona State) 73, Joe O'Donnell (Michigan)*
T - Dick Hudson (Memphis State) 79
TE - Ernie Warlick (North Carolina Central) 84
FL - Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton) 44, Charley Ferguson (Tennessee State) 80, Willie Ross (Nebraska)*

DEFENSE
DE - Ron McDole (Nebraska) 72, Jim Moss (South Carolina)*
DT - Jim Dunaway (Mississippi) 78, Sid Youngelman (Alabama) 76
DT - Tom Sestak (McNeese State) 70
DE - Tom Day (North Carolina A & T) 88, Hatch Rosdahl (Penn State)*
LB - John Tracey (Texas A & M) 51, Herb Paterra (Michigan State) 57
MLB - Harry Jacobs (Bradley) 64, Earl Lattimer (Michigan State)*
LB - Mike Stratton (Tennessee) 58, Paul Maguire (The Citadel) 55
CB - Booker Edgerson (Western Illinois) 24,  Hagood Clarke (Florida)*
S - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46, Gene Sykes (LSU) 23
S - George Saimes (Michigan State) 26, Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame) 40, Carl Charon (Michigan State) 43
CB - Butch Byrd (Boston University)*, Oliver Dobbins (Morgan State)*

SPECIALISTS
K - Pete Gogolak (Cornell)*
P - Paul Maguire (The Citadel) 55
KR - Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame) 40
PR - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46, Hagood Clarke (Florida)*

* rookie


1964 Buffalo Bills Profile Summary
Head Coach - Lou Saban
Assistant Coach - Jerry Smith

QB - Jack Kemp (Occidental) 15
QB - Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame) 12
HB - Wray Carlton (Duke) 30
HB - Leroy Jackson (Western Illinois) 28
HB - Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame) 40
FB - Cookie Gilchrist 34
SE - Bill Miller (Miami) 81
FL - Elbert Dubenion (Bluffton) 44
FL - Bill Groman (Heidelberg) 89
C - Al Bemiller (Syracuse) 50
G - Billy Shaw (Georgia Tech) 66
G - Ken Rice (Auburn) 75
T - Stew Barber (Penn State) 77
T - Dave Behrman (Michigan State) 51

DT - Tom Sestak (McNeese State) 70
DT - Jim Dunaway (Mississippi) 78
DE - Sid Youngelman (Alabama) 76
DE - Harrison Rosdahl (Penn State) 83
LB - Mike Stratton (Tennessee) 58
LB - John Tracey (Texas A & M) 85
LB - Herb Paterra (Michigan State) 57
CB - Booker Edgerson (Western Illinois) 24
CB - Gene Sykes (LSU) 23
S - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46
S - George Saimes (Michigan State) 26


P - Daryle Lamonica (Notre Dame) 12
KR - Ed Rutkowski (Notre Dame) 40
PR - Ray Abbruzzese (Alabama) 46

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